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Duluth's Timber Lodge Steakhouse is closed for good

Duluth's Timber Lodge Steakhouse is closed for good.

Shut down for the winter January 1, owner Bruce Taher said this week a lack of customer parking, "high" rent and the restaurant's large footprint all made staying open a difficult prospect.

The 350-seat Timber Lodge has been housed in the Waterfront Plaza building in Canal Park for 20 years.

"After 20 years, it's a bittersweet pill," Taher said. "But it's difficult for us to keep it going."

Filling such a large restaurant on a regular basis is hard, he said, and because the location is in tourist-heavy Canal Park, there aren't as many local customers as they would like. Customers complained often about a lack of parking, Taher said, with more spaces lost in recent years because of new development in the building. The building shares space with Red Lobster, the Suites Hotel, condominiums and most recently, Barr Engineering.

Taher, of Taher Inc. based in Minnetonka, Minn., said he wouldn't look to open anywhere else in Duluth. The food service management company also owns the fine-dining Forepaugh's in St. Paul.

"It's difficult to say goodbye to 50 people," Taher said of his employees, and to longtime customers. "We are going to miss it. We really love Duluth."