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Lack of liquor license closes Zimmy's in Hibbing

In this file photo from 2011, with waitress Stephany Weinand holding the letter "H," Zimmy's manager Mike Thompson adds the "A" to birthday wishes to Bob Dylan outside the Hibbing restaurant. (Steve Kuchera /

Hard times and no liquor license caused the Hibbing restaurant Zimmy's to close down Thursday night.

Zimmy's was best known for its collection of memorabilia of Hibbing native and music icon Bobby Zimmerman -- otherwise known as Bob Dylan. The restaurant had a Bob Dylan Lounge and Bob Dylan Gift Shop, and a following cultivated over its 30-year history; it was a main venue for the annual Dylan Days celebration.

"It is true, we had to close our doors today," executive chef Audrey Johnson said Thursday. "We lost our liquor license in January, and without a license in Hibbing you can't cover certain costs. ... Having the license attracts a lot of customers."

Zimmy's owners Linda Stroback and Bob Hocking have been dealing with tax issues with the state. The business was declared tax delinquent Jan. 14, which, under state statute, means no liquor or beer deliveries can be made to the business until it is off the list.

Stroback said Friday that the tax issues is only part of a larger issue, namely a weak economy and trying times in Hibbing.

"Small business is getting chewed up and spit out," she said. "It's horrible. It's impossible to stay in business."

Johnson said Zimmy's could open again. On the Zimmy's Facebook page it stated, "We hope that this condition is only temporary as we seek a solution that will allow us to re-open as quickly as possible so that we can continue to serve you."

In the meantime, Johnson wants to thank everyone for their support.

"I just want to thank all of our employees and customers for staying true to us and supporting us through thick and thin," Johnson said.