Construction Zone: Addition under way at Grandma’s Saloon & GrillAn addition to Grandma's Saloon & Grill in Canal Park will allow for a new grand entrance, new restrooms and a new, larger gift shop as well as more rooftop seating that will offer panoramic views of the Duluth Hillside and Lake Superior.
By: Candace Renalls, Duluth News Tribune
Where: 522 S. Lake Ave. in Duluth
Project: Construction of a one-story addition to the popular Grandma’s restaurant that started Canal Park’s renaissance in the 1970s.
Purpose: The addition on the restaurant’s lake side will allow for a new grand entrance, new restrooms and a new, larger gift shop as well as more rooftop seating that will offer panoramic views of the Duluth Hillside and Lake Superior. The new patio will seat 28 diners, adding to the existing rooftop deck’s capacity of 120 diners.
“It’s going to be really neat, definitely a view you’re not going to get
anywhere else in town,” restaurant manager Eric Robinson said of the new rooftop patio.
The new gift shop, which will take up nearly 60 percent of the addition, will feature Minnesota-made and North Shore-focused memorabilia, in addition to Grandma’s apparel.
The original restrooms, serving patrons since 1976, have been in need of upgrading for years. They’re small, outdated and often have waiting lines,
“The restaurant is doing six times the original volume,” noted Brian Daugherty, president of Grandma’s Restaurants. “We used to do 80,000 (customers) a year, now it’s nearly 500,000.”
The new modern restrooms will be twice as big.
“Money is being spent so customers have a better experience,” Robinson said. “We won’t have waiting lines anymore.”
Size: 1,850 square feet.
Owner: Mickey Paulucci, co-owner of Grandma’s Restaurants
Project cost: $1 million
Financing: About half from Republic Bank; the rest is self-financed
General contractor: Donald Holm Construction Co., Duluth
Architect: Robert A. Berquist, Duluth
Timeline: Work began in early November and should be completed in April.
Status: The structure is up and enclosed. Utilities are being installed, and wall insulation is coming this week. The look: The new, more prominent grand entrance will feature an elevated rooftop canopy that will extend over the edge of the building, offering customers protection from the elements.
The interior won’t completely blend in with the original dining area’s antique-heavy décor. The new space, like the adjacent grill dining area, will have fewer antiques, old pictures and neon signs. But pillars and a suspended tin ceiling will tie the new space in with the old. And the new gift shop will have a big antique hutch.
Employees: Fifteen to 20 additional employees will be hired for the summer staff, boosting the seasonal staff from 245 to 265 employees.
Construction jobs: 40 during the project.
Of special note: Once the gift shop moves to its new space, the old gift shop probably will become a Gelatoria, offering artisan-style gelato, a specialty Italian ice cream. Gelato has less fat because of the premium Italian ingredients used, but it’s richer and creamier because of the churning process to make it, Daugherty said.