Duluth's Old City Hall to house restaurant-pubThe new owners of Duluth’s Old City Hall plan to open a new restaurant-pub in the building that will celebrate its history.
By: Candace Renalls, Duluth News Tribune
The new owners of Duluth’s Old City Hall plan to open a new restaurant-pub in the building that will celebrate its history.
The restaurant — to be called Duluth Tycoons at Old City Hall — will have a city founders theme, says Tim Nelson, who owns the historic building at 132 E. Superior St. with business partner Rod Raymond.
“The style will be early 1900s with portraits of our city founders such as Jay Cooke and the Merritts, who came and made their fortune and formed our city,” he said.
The restaurant — which will be casual dining with a menu featuring sandwiches — will take up the whole Superior Street level. A tattoo business that leased part of the first floor has moved out. Construction of the restaurant has begun with hopes of opening in the fall.
“It’ll be a step back in time, like walking into a black-and-white movie,” Nelson said. “We want it to be historical, a history lesson and slightly fun, tongue-in-cheek. A little speakeasy-ish with dark woods.”
Designed by Oliver Traphagen, the building was built in 1888 and served as Duluth City Hall until 1929.
Since Nelson and Raymond purchased the building in 2005, they have invested about $380,000 in restoring and renovating the building. Fitness centers, a dance studio and offices have occupied the refurbished building. The two also own Fitger’s Brewhouse and the Red Star Lounge in Fitger’s Brewery Complex and the Burrito Union in Duluth.
Old City Hall isn’t their only investment in Old Downtown. They have purchased the old Carlson bookstore building across the avenue at 206 E. Superior St.
They want that building used for arts and culture, but don’t have a specific plan yet.
“We’re looking for ideas,” Nelson said. “We want it to be a place where people can go inside and experience Duluth. Music, theater, arts — that’s where we see that whole block going. It could be anything that will draw people out of Canal Park.”
The building’s lower Michigan Street level will be used as a warehouse for the Brewhouse, he said.