Business, consumer and economic tidbits from DNT reporter Candace Renalls. Click here to view previous posts or additional resources.
Top of the Harbor gets new name, new look
When it reopens on June 9, the Duluth Radisson’s Top of the Harbor restaurant will have a new look, a new menu and a new name.
The remodeling isn’t complete, but media types like myself got a glimpse of the new look today. We also learned the restaurant would get a new name: the JJ Astor Restaurant, Lounge and View.
The Top of the Harbor was ready for a total makeover and a new menu, explained Paul Leisner, the hotel’s general manager. When furnished, the new restaurant will have a Great Lakes shipping theme and a nautical feel without being too cliché, he said.
On the hotel's 15th floor, the restaurant will still provide breathtaking views and rotate every 72 minutes.
But what’s with the name?
Its namesake, John Jacob Astor (1763-1848) was the country’s first multi-millionaire who made his fortune in fur trading, real estate and, ah, …. opium.
In talking about Astor, the Radisson folks left out the opium part. But they pointed out Astor’s ties to Duluth, the fur trade and shipping. His trading ship, “the Astor,” was used to supply the early outposts around Lake Superior. It was built by the American Fur Trading Company and was the first American commercial vessel to sail Lake Superior.
(This John Jacob Astor is not the one who went down with the Titanic in 1911. That was his great grandson, J.J. Astor the IV).
The restaurant has a new sit-down granite-topped bar, hardwood floors and warm dark tones. Artifacts and historical photos will be displayed.
The North Shore-inspired menu will emphasize local and sustainable fish, vegetables and produce. The new executive chef is Ryan Zander, former executive chef at Trattoria Tosca in Minneapolis. The new menu prices will be a bit higher than before.
The remodeled restaurant is the first stage in a major makeover of the hotel which is marking its 40th year. A re-do of the hotel’s 5th Avenue Bar/Lounge is also underway, and a remodel of the lobby begins next week. Both should be completed by the time the JJ Astor opens, Leisner said.
Guest rooms and banquet rooms also are slated for upgrades. It’s all part of a push to renovate and rebrand Radisson hotels across the country.