Rochester Newcomers and Neighbors Club Ladies on the Go Group Visits The Royal Eagle Restaurant at St. Sabbas Russian Orthodox Monastery

Written by Mary Axiotis

The Ladies on the Go group from the Rochester Newcomers and Neighbors Club visited the Royal Eagle Restaurant at St. Sabbas Russian Orthodox Monastery on October 19, 2010.

The Royal Eagle Restaurant is on the grounds of St. Sabbas Russian Orthodox Monastery.  Nestled amidst residential homes in Harper Woods, Michigan, visiting the Royal Eagle Restaurant and the Monastery is quite a unique experience.  To get there is not that difficult.  It’s about an hour’s drive from Rochester Michigan.

Arriving there we found ourselves as if transported to another era.  The Russian Orthodox banners, with the double headed eagle printed on them, hung outside the restaurant.  The onion domes, characteristic of Russian architecture, were on the monastery’s roof.  There was some work being done on the grounds so we couldn’t explore much.

We first, had our luncheon at the Royal Eagle Restaurant.  A quaint little place holding about half a dozen tables.  The restaurant can hold a dozen tables but since they were renovating some of the space was not in use.  The restaurant’s décor depicted Russian artifacts along with pictures of Tsar Nicholas.  Our waitress, dressed in the traditional Russian uniform, informed us of the 35 different types of teas that we could choose from.  The luncheon consisted of a seven course meal, including borscht soup, followed by savory canapés and chicken on a skewer with herb-garlic sauce, atop a bed of butter lettuce.  The desert was orange cake and lemon squares.  Overall a filling meal, and quite tasteful.

After lunch, we visited the gift shop and found an abundance of Russian gifts, from orthodox icons to Russian liquors and Faberge eggs.

Luckily, the monastery was open but there was no service.  There is a strict dress code rule upon entering the monastery.  No slacks, no skirts above the knee, no tight, revealing tops and the head should be covered with a kerchief.  But since there was no service the priest let us enter without all these restrictions.  (The only thing that surprised me, was that the priest or monk, didn’t have any accent.  I have more of an accent than he had).

The monastery inside reminded me of the monasteries that I visited in Greece.  The Altar was full of orthodox icons, portraying saints.  There were no pews for the parishioners to sit, which is very characteristic of the Orthodox Church.  The chandelier, in the center of the Altar and I believe beneath the onion dome, was adorned with flowers, eagles and double headed eagles dipped in gold.  On either side of the Altar there are two wood carved alcoves.  The one on the left has an icon with the birth of Christ, and on top the letters AW (Alpha and Omega) symbolizing Christ as the Beginning and the End.  The alcove on the right has the icon of the Annunciation of Virgin Mary and on top the letters XP (Chi and Ro) symbolizing Christ’s first two letters of His name (XPISTOS = CHRISTOS).

I have to admit that not only myself but all of us, were delighted and thrilled that there is such a place in Michigan.  I enjoyed the excursion so much that I wouldn’t mind going again in the near future when all the work is done, preferably in spring when the flowers will be in full bloom.  It’s truly an exceptional, charming, old-world type of place.

If you would like more information on the Royal Eagle Restaurant and the St. Sabbas Russian Orthodox Monastery here are the links:,

…And a very nice article at metromode:

Written by:

Mary Axiotis
My Greek food website:

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