Two Harbors restaurant with links to Minnesota sports celebrities closes its doorsViking Legends, the restaurant that brought sports celebrities to Two Harbors, has closed its doors after a little over 14 months in business.
By: LaReesa Sandretsky, Lake County News-Chronicle
Viking Legends, the restaurant that brought sports celebrities to Two Harbors, has closed its doors after a little over 14 months in business.
Mark Pearson, a Two Harbors native, opened the business in June 2011. Publicity and moral support were offered by his friend and former Vikings player Jim Marshall. The former gas station, completely renovated and decorated with sports memorabilia, now stands empty and dark. The sports bar closed in early August.
“We had the perfect storm of bad luck. ... It was just too much to bear,” Pearson said.
Pearson, a lifelong entrepreneur and developer, has lived and worked all over the country and world. His mother brought him back to Two Harbors, where he tried his hand at a sports bar.
“If I had opened it in a bigger town, it probably would have worked,” Pearson said. Instead, he said he wanted to create interest and opportunity in his hometown.
The small-town economy wasn’t the only factor in Legends’ closure, Pearson said.
The lingering nationwide recession, the lack of snow and lack of tourists last winter, and dismal performances by Minnesota’s professional sports teams all contributed to a bad year for his business, he said.
While he won’t miss the 80-hour workweeks, Pearson said he’s having trouble with the fact that his 15 to 20 employees are now out of work and his regulars don’t have their favorite place to watch a sports game with dinner and a beer.
“I’m going to miss my employees and customers most,” Pearson said, adding that he’d like to thank all the regulars who supported his business.
He reminisced fondly about when about 20 famous sports figures came to Two Harbors for a fundraiser last August. They signed autographs and played in a golf tournament, raising money to provide scholarships so Two Harbors youth could play sports.
“Any kid that wants to play a sport should not be held back because of lack of income,” Pearson said.
Though Legends has closed, the fundraiser will take place again this fall at Grand Casino Hinckley. Marshall will participate again, along with a list of “grand legends.” Best of all, some of the money raised will still benefit Two Harbors youth who want to participate in sports.
Pearson hasn’t decided what’s next. He’ll look into more possibilities in the area. So far, he plans to stay in Two Harbors.
The Two Harbors City Council and owner of the building, Bill Wilson, are ironing out plans for what will open next in the space.