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Zeitgeist Arts Cafe to reopen with new chef, tipping policy

The downtown Duluth restaurant closed during the pandemic and the kitchen space hosted pop-ups.

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Zeitgeist Restaurant & Bar in Duluth reopens Friday, Nov. 19, 2021. 2018 file / Duluth News Tribune

When a popular downtown Duluth restaurant reopens with limited hours next week — its keepers are strongly advising reservations — it will be under a chef who was a semifinalist for a James Beard Award and with a new tipping model.

Starting Friday, Nov. 19, Zeitgeist Restaurant & Bar, with executive chef Nick Weinhandl, will be open for dinner service Thursdays and Fridays and all day Saturdays. There will be a new menu with nods to the old, according to a news release, and a 20% hospitality charge added to each check.

Zeitgeist’s cafe, located at 222 E. Superior St., closed briefly during the March 2020 shutdown, then began offering curbside pickup and outdoor seating. The space closed again in September 2020, citing “financial implications and safety concerns” related to COVID-19.

In its absence, two pop-ups took advantage of the available kitchen space: Gumbo Boi and HotBox Duluth offered, respectively, Louisiana-style cooking and cheeky latchkey-kid fare.

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Zeitgeist Restaurant & Bar reopens Nov. 19, 2021, under the new leadership of general manager and executive chef Nick Weinhandl, left, and front-of-house manager Kyle Salveson. Contributed / Zeitgeist Restaurant & Bar

Weinhandl trained at Le Cordon Bleu in Minneapolis and started at Hotel Donaldson in Fargo, North Dakota, in 2010 — first as a line cook then sous chef. He was promoted to co-chef with Ryan Nitschke. In 2014, both were nominated alongside 19 other semifinalists for the James Beard “Best Chef: Midwest” award.

The Hotel Donaldson earned a AAA four-diamond rating while he was there.

Zeitgeist has also hired new front-of-house manager Kyle Salveson, billed as having been in the industry for 15 years.

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