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Vanilla Bean owners put Two Harbors restaurant up for sale

The owners hope to set a new entrepreneur up for success. The Boat Club Restaurant and the Duluth Vanilla Bean will continue normal operations.

Diners in Vanilla Bean.
Customers have lunch at the Two Harbors Vanilla Bean on Sunday. The restaurant is for sale or lease.
Steve Kuchera / Duluth News Tribune
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TWO HARBORS — A North Shore destination restaurant of 24 years is expecting some changes as Vanilla Bean owners Jason Vincent and Jeff Anderson invite new entrepreneurs to consider taking the reins of their Two Harbors location.

The turn-key restaurant with staff is currently available for sale or lease, offering flexibility to anyone interested in purchasing the entire building and lot (including rental income from a tenant), or leasing.

In July 2014, Vincent and Anderson took over the former Vanilla Bean Cafe in Two Harbors. The building was renovated and the restaurant re-branded with updates to the menu to make it their own.

People outside Vanilla Bean.
A server greets customers outside the Two Harbors Vanilla Bean on Sunday.
Steve Kuchera / Duluth News Tribune

It marked their first real step into the restaurant industry from an ownership perspective. Vincent said they were fortunate to have been set up for success from the start —something they are hoping to pay forward to the next owner.

Operations have been moved from the Two Harbors location to Duluth.

"It was a good opportunity to get our foot in the door, and it took off. It's a great community," Vincent said. "Two Harbors community has given us tremendous support from day one. They've watched us grow from young, naive entrepreneurs to having three successful properties, and have been nothing but supportive of us in our eight-year journey,"

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Vincent and Anderson also own The Boat Club Restaurant , located on the lower level of the Fitger's complex. It was the former location of Midi Restaurant , known for its Mediterranean and German cuisine. When the previous owner retired in 2017, Vincent and Anderson took over and transformed it into a nautical-themed, lakeside dining experience with steak, seafood and fish on the menu.

In 2018, they opened the second Vanilla Bean location on Woodland Avenue in Duluth, the former spot of Northern Waters Restaurant . It was another turn-key operation. Vincent and Anderson modeled the menu, brand and operation after their Two Harbors Vanilla Bean and saw success in Duluth, Vincent said.

Welcome sign in Vanilla Bean.
A sign welcomes people to the Two Harbors Vanilla Bean.
Steve Kuchera / Duluth News Tribune

Neither The Boat Club Restaurant or the Duluth Vanilla Bean are affected by the sale of the Two Harbors restaurant. In addition to the restaurants, Vincent and Anderson also purchased JayBee Travel in 2021, a tour operating business. Anderson is also a lobbyist.

"We have our hands on many pots," Vincent said. "It's not about closing or shutting the door or letting go of a property. Our bandwidth doesn't allow us to be as active as we want, so why not give that opportunity to someone else to keep it going."

According to Vincent, several interested parties have reached out about the Two Harbors Vanilla Bean, but nothing is concrete yet.

Vincent said, "We are hoping the same things that attracted us will attract a new buyer. The opportunity in Two Harbors is perfect for someone like us. They can be successful on day one."

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Brielle Bredsten is the business reporter for the Duluth News Tribune.

She earned a bachelor's degree in Professional Writing & Technical Communication, with minors in Advertising and Creative Writing from Metropolitan State University, in addition to a two-year professional paid internship as reporter/editor of the student newspaper.

She is an award-winning professional writer, photographer and editor based in rural Minnesota. Over the past decade, Brielle Bredsten has contributed more than 1,000 articles, feature stories, non-profit press-releases, photographs and columns. Her work has been published in several community newspapers.

Send her story tips, feedback or just say hi at bbredsten@duluthnews.com.
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