The award-winning downtown dining establishment, Michaels on the Thames has had a delightful transformation. Gone is the traditional yellow oak interior from the eatery’s early days in the 1980’s. The recent renovation brings a soothing vibe with the addition of elegantly painted walls, warm lighting and custom artwork by local artist Steve Tracy. Along with the change in décor, a business casual dress code has replaced the formal dinner jacket.  

A seat in the patio section presents a view of the Thames River cascading by in one of the city’s most idyllic and romantic settings. This stunning vantage point secures Michaels on the Thames as a top-of -the-list favorite for so many couple and family celebrations. 

Owner and operator Joelle Lees bought the restaurant five years ago after working as a loyal staff member herself. With over thirty years of food and beverage experience, Lees saw the potential to revamp the much-loved restaurant. “I couldn’t do it without the team here. They are the backbone of this place.” Lees is quick to mention that four staff have stayed working at the eatery for over thirty years. 

“Plan to be here for a two-hour experience.” Lees says. Not an issue for the traditional crowd, however younger patrons are discovering and learning to appreciate a slower paced dining experience as well. “They are putting away their phones for intimate dinner conversations.”

It’s heartfelt praise from loyal diners that have kept the staples on the menu. Enjoy the renown, table side Caesar salad, Chateau Briand, Flau Diane, escargot and Cherries Jubliee. The kitchen does change up the menu to add a twist each season.

Michaels on the Thames is a lively place. Birthday parties and engagements are common.  A wedding took place inside the restaurant with pictures taken at the park across the street. Guests returned to the dining room for the reception with a beautiful grand piano and a capacity for 160 guests. It’s hard to imagine a more intimate downtown location for such memorable events.

“Jazz on the Thames” has been a huge hit for a wide demographic that meets on Thursday nights. The front section of the restaurant transforms into Jazz Lounge from 6:30 to 9:30pm. Patrons are welcome to come in for drinks, appetizers or a full dinner and sway to live music.

Check their website for specific lunch hours. Make a 5pm reservation before a Knights game or a show at Budweiser Gardens. Guests are welcome to leave their car in the restaurant parking lot and enjoy the short walk to your event.

During Covid-19 restrictions, Michael’s on the Thames made quick adjustments to create an inviting outdoor patio in their parking lot and to provide take-out meals. The Dining Room is now open!

Contact them at (519)852-4961 to reserve your seat and check out their menu at