Sale of landmark Pickwick restaurant in the worksThe Pickwick, a longtime landmark of the Duluth restaurant scene, soon could have a new owner.
By: Peter Passi , News Tribune
The Pickwick, a longtime landmark of the Duluth restaurant scene, soon could have a new owner.
Tim Wright of Duluth said he signed an agreement Friday to purchase the assets of Pickwick Inc. But Wright said several contingencies in that agreement must still be addressed before he can close on the sale.
Chris Wisocki, whose family had run the restaurant for four generations and 90 years, announced he was putting the eatery on the market in January. The restaurant is at 508 E. Superior St.
Details of the pending sale have not yet been made public.
“We’re excited about this opportunity, but there is still too much to figure out, and it would be premature to talk at this point,” said Wright.
Wright is no stranger to the hospitality industry. He ran the Aberdeen Lodge in Manitowish Waters, Wis., and his family operates The Egg Harbor Cafe, a 15-restaurant chain in the Chicago area.
Chris Wisocki could not be reached for comment Monday evening. He said in an interview last month that he struggled with the decision to sell a business that had been in his family for so long.
“It’s not the easiest decision in the world,” he said. “It’s just a business decision I made. I’m going to explore other career options.”
This past year, the Pickwick’s operation was marred by a labor dispute that stemmed from Wisocki’s efforts to impose a new contract on unionized workers. This led to two weeks of picketing and the temporary lockout of two employees.
The National Labor Relations Board ordered Wisocki and Workers United Union Local 99 back to the negotiation table.
Meanwhile, the old contract, which expired in April, has remained in effect.
It’s unclear what the sale will mean for those negotiations or the future of the union.
Todd Erickson, president of Workers United Union Local 99, said he was informed of the sale late Sunday. A first meeting between representatives of the union and the new owner has been proposed March 10, 11 or 12.
At one point, Workers United Union Local 99 represented about 90 people at the Pickwick, but Erickson said that number now is probably closer to 60 employees. He said the union looks forward to re-establishing the kind of good labor-management relations it enjoyed at the Pickwick until its recent struggles with Chris Wisocki.