Apostle Supper Club opens atop downtown Radisson
The Apostle opens at 5 p.m. and will add breakfast and lunch hours next month. Three percent of all sales at the restaurant are donated to Life House.
DULUTH — The restaurant atop the Radisson Hotel Duluth-Harborview is now open. While it still has the signature revolving top-floor view of the harbor and hillside, the interior decor and menu have been completely revamped to become The Apostle Supper Club.
The Apostle has a 1960s Palm Springs supper club ambiance, with retro green and orange carpet and booths and plants around the 360-degree rotating floor. Purpose Driven Restaurants owner Brian Ingram, who headed the project with his wife Sarah, said the space is intended to have a bright, cheerful vibe year-round, even when outside can feel like an ice cube.
“We wanted this to feel very vibrant, very summery,” he said. “Our menu kind of reflects that.”
The menu features some classic dishes, and some fare that’s been reconfigured with a twist, including chicken-fried lobster and shrimp scampi O’s.
“We tried to take stuff that people were familiar with and just do it in new ways,” Ingram said.
Entree prices range from $16 fish fry or burgers, to the $85 “yabba dabba doo” bone-in short rib. Some items, including filet mignon, ribeye and prime rib, are sold at market prices. Gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan options are available. Despite the higher-scale menu items, Ingram said his intention is for The Apostle to be a destination for locals.
“For a long time, so many local people that we’ve talked to here have never even been up here, and if they have it was for a special occasion,” he said. “Our goal is to bring the locals back and have a menu that is accessible to locals.”
The Apostle is currently open from 5 p.m. to midnight or close, but Ingram hopes by June 1 the restaurant employees will be settled in with the new menu and they will expand the restaurant’s hours to include breakfast, brunch and lunch menus. Guests are recommended to make a reservation online in advance, Ingram said, anticipating a busy opening, especially with Mother’s Day weekend coming up in days.
For people who are waiting for a table, or who simply want to enjoy a cocktail with a city view, a lounge area is available for casual bar service. Around 9 or 10 p.m., the restaurant will stop rotating and the bar seating will expand for the rest of the evening’s service hours.
Purpose Driven Restaurants, which is based in the Twin Cities, is also in the process of opening a larger, non-rotating St. Paul location of The Apostle across the street from the Xcel Energy Center.
The Ingrams' goal with Purpose Driven Restaurants, which they founded in 2019, is to give back to communities. In line with this goal, 3% of sales at The Apostle will be donated to Life House. In 2021, Purpose Driven Restaurants donated $750,000 to help people pay rent, pay off car loans, and even paid for funerals of Twin Cities children who died from gun violence. In addition, they donated 2 million pounds of food to food banks and shelters.
Each table at The Apostle has a card where guests can share their hopes, prayers and dreams, which Ingram said helps them make decisions about future charitable donations.
Another goal the couple set was to change the employee culture in the hospitality industry. To achieve this, staff are not allowed to drink on the job, as Brian said is typical for restaurant employees. He said limiting the drinking culture is a way to support employees who are in recovery or are struggling with addiction, and to maintain a positive work environment.
“Mental illness is big in our industry. Suicide, addiction, all of that stuff,” he said. “So in our restaurants, you’ll never see the staff drinking. You won’t see the kitchen doing shots at the end of the shift, because if you have people in recovery, they need to be in a safe space.”
The Purpose Driven Restaurants team completed the entire renovation of The Apostle, formerly JJ Astor, in less than 30 days. Ingram said the biggest challenges were supply chain issues forcing them to use distributors or materials that they didn’t originally plan to, and they had to find electric appliances because the gas line doesn’t reach the top floor of the restaurant.
The freight elevator is fairly small, so appliances also had to be small enough to fit in the elevator and the kitchen. Large booths, which face out toward the windows in a semicircle, had to be partially constructed inside the restaurant because they were too large to come in one piece. Some chairs from JJ Astor were saved and reupholstered, but most furniture was custom-made in the Twin Cities. One-of-a-kind paintings by artist Joey Africa of Chicago are also on display in the restaurant.
Radisson Hotel Duluth-Harborview owner Carl Kaeding of Compass 45 Hospitality owns several properties with the Ingrams’ restaurants, and hired them last year to rebrand the hotel’s two restaurants.
Downstairs, the former Bowery Bros. Pub has become the False Eyedoll hockey-themed tiki bar. The space has begun its renovation, and will receive its finishing touches including new menus now that The Apostle is complete. Ingram expects it to be fully unveiled at the beginning of June.
“To us, with tiki, there’s lots of appropriation that can sometimes be associated,” Ingram said. “Instead of totems, this is a hockey town. Goalies kind of look like totems, and goalies are the most superstitious people on the planet. So we wanted to create this fun, kind of tiki, but using stuff that Minnesotans would relate to.”
The Apostle’s first day open to the public is Friday, May 6. In an opening celebration Thursday night, Brian and Sarah Ingram thanked the people that helped bring the restaurant together, including the corporate team and the hotel restaurant staff, some of whom have worked there for decades. They have hired more than a dozen new kitchen staff, waitstaff and bartenders, and they hope to be able to employ close to 100 people by the end of the year as hours and services expand.
“It takes so much to put a restaurant together, and it’s just been so wonderful,” Sarah Ingram said.