Takk for Maten restaurant in downtown Duluth closing this weekTakk for Maten, a Duluth restaurant specializing in Scandinavian fare, soon will close its doors. Owner Sandy Thompson said her business will discontinue operations as it exhausts its kitchen inventory in the next day or two.
By: Peter Passi, Duluth News Tribune
Takk for Maten, a Duluth restaurant specializing in Scandinavian fare, soon will close its doors. Owner Sandy Thompson said her business will discontinue operations as it exhausts its kitchen inventory in the next day or two.
The eatery has been a downtown fixture since it opened in August 2008. It initially was located in Norway Hall, 21 N. Lake Ave., but moved to its current spot inside the Technology Village Building at 11 E. Superior St. in May 2009.
Thompson said she would have liked to have stayed in Norway Hall, where her restaurant benefited from low overhead costs, but she was forced to find a new location following an accident with the hall’s steam heating system that resulted in significant property damage.
“We opened in our new location just in time for the recession to kick our nation in the backside,” Thompson said.
In the face of economic uncertainties, Thompson said people cut back on discretionary spending, including eating out.
“The economy went south really fast, and we felt it,” she said. “We never could reach the critical mass we needed, in terms of foot traffic.”
But Thompson said the restaurant had a loyal following.
“We have fabulous customers, and I feel proud of the fact that people love our food and our concept. But the bottom line is that a restaurant needs to make money,” she said.
Besides the economy, Thompson said other factors made business a challenge for the downtown restaurant, including public perception that parking was scarce — despite the presence of a parking ramp next door — and spillover effects from a local head shop called the Last Place on Earth.
Thompson had two partners in the restaurant business who have since withdrawn: James Ross and Mark Sowl.
Before making the difficult decision to close, Thompson said she sought additional investors and looked into alternative locations. But they did not pan out.
She said the business and its equipment is up for sale.
On Sunday, a stream of regulars visited the restaurant to wish Thompson well and express their gratitude.
“Takk for maten,” some said, appropriately invoking the restaurant’s name.
That means: “Thanks for the food,” in Norwegian.