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What do Duluthians want?

The DNT article about Rod Raymond and Tim Nelson’s purchase of Endion Station said this:

Raymond said he will take advice from anyone wanting to chime in on the finer points of his business plan.

“What do Duluthians want?” he said. “What do tourists want?”

So, what do you want?

Tops on my list would be a bakery that sells artisan bread and really good coffee. With outdoor seating.

What do you want?

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61 Comment(s)

  1. A bookstore like the one that used to be in Canal Park.
    and bread
    and coffee
    and a pony. 
    OK, just kidding about the pony.

    kerc | Oct 12, 2012 | New Comment
  2. For outdoor seating, it would be great to have a canopied, wind-sheltered (moveable pexi-glass or similar), area with portable gas heaters. This would extend outdoor options for days with inclement weather -- maybe not the coldest, wildest days though. Would the historical designation prevent this?
    Nearly every city with a vibrant waterfront in a “4-season climate” has cafes, coffeeshops, etc. with outdoor options such as this.

    Terry G. | Oct 12, 2012 | New Comment
  3. I’m also a little worried about Rod’s “fitness” angle. What does that mean? Coffee and wine in camelbak packs?

    Terry G. | Oct 12, 2012 | New Comment
  4. I think this could be the guys’ opportunity to try something new with a business; something besides an environment with craft beer.  Don’t get me wrong, I live for Brewhouse beer like many Duluthians, but another place is just gonna tear me up more on where to go to get a pint. 

    I think artisan coffee is a great idea.  They do very well with restaurants of course so keeping with that theme and twisting the product a little bit is wonderful. And for me personally, a very old themed business would be great to reflect the history of the building.  ”Olde Tyme Coffee” … of course not with that hideously overused, campy title, but you get the idea.  I think the boys have the know how to get it done and it will be a roaring success.  

    johnjaundice | Oct 12, 2012 | New Comment
  5. Back when it was Midnight Sun, there was one summer when there was a yoga class on the deck at dawn.

    bluenewt | Oct 12, 2012 | New Comment
  6. I agree with johnjaundice that there are more than enough places in town to get a good beer -- and hurrah for that. I’m grateful to Rod and Tim for creating cool spaces like the Brewhouse and the Bunion. I just hope this one can be something else, something we don’t already have in Duluth.

    bluenewt | Oct 12, 2012 | New Comment
  7. I’d like a decent tequila bar.  Mexico Lindo has a small (but decent) selection (same with Luce and a couple of other places).  Angie’s probably has the best selection in town, but you have to put up with their “food.” Plus, the pricing for tequila at Angie’s is ridiculous. For the price of two shots of Don Julio 1942 you can buy a full bottle at a liquor store. So, I would be really impressed if this place went out on a limb and became a real, decent-priced tequila bar, perhaps with tapas (with some fresh guac, etc.).

    Danny | Oct 12, 2012 | New Comment
  8. Doesn’t the Canal Park business owners association kind of dictate what goes on down there? IIRC, there was some road blocking of the Thai buffet for a while.

    I’d imagine that Rod and Tim, with the purchase of this building, are hoping to go toe-to-toe with the new Canal Park Brewing. I would almost guarantee that there will be Brewhouse beer being offered at this new venue as this (and booze) are the only way that the Swedish Mafia make dough. Food is break-even at best.

    I’m surprised that they have the wherewithal to buy the building and renovate it. Word on the street is that Tycoons is not doing so hot and they are in debt up to their ears.

    Now given a chance to vote for what would be a good addition to the area, I love the idea of an artisanal bakery or a much needed quality espresso but my hankering is for something along the line of Tin Fish in Minneapolis and Baja-style fish tacos!

    digit3 | Oct 12, 2012 | New Comment
  9. Perhaps the wrestler and the tennis player could envision a localized, ‘townie’ or urban bike shop in the classic old Endion Station.  The other primary cycling shops in town seem to offer the more limited high-end racing bikes and really lack a functional, Duluth-urban side of things in town.  I’m talking bike culture here too folks.  Not just another bike shop.

    woodtick | Oct 12, 2012 | New Comment
  10. It seems like we’re reaching saturation point with brewpubs. Why not something like a tapas bar? That’s a great option for tourists who want to try a lot of local fare instead of one or two heaping plates of something.

    And an artisan bakery with croissants--I would be in heaven.

    emmadogs | Oct 12, 2012 | New Comment
  11. For a four-season business that stays true to Canal Park’s roots, they might consider a brothel.

    Ramos | Oct 12, 2012 | New Comment
  12. While the owners seem open to all sorts of ideas, and Endion Station could likely end up being something that isn’t promoted primarily as a brewpub, the place will absolutely have beer. They have already said that, and they would be fools not to sell beer there, because they have excellent beer.

    So, the idea-generation phase doesn’t really include the question, “Will there be beer?” The question is more like, “What will the overall focus of this place be? And can we bring you a beer with that?”

    Paul Lundgren | Oct 12, 2012 | New Comment
  13. Several ideas would be (and they are not in any way mutually exclusive):

    1. Tapas bar (like Nutty Meg’s was beginning to become before it disappeared).

    2. Lebanese or Greek food.

    3. Micro distillery (Bourbon and Gin!).

    4. And yes, the heat thingies to extend outdoor dining/drinking.

    5. Ditto the artisan bakery and decent coffee house.

    Bret | Oct 12, 2012 | New Comment
  14. I’m not sure what I would want there. But what I do know is that there has to be no way Brewhouse can make anymore beer for another location. I’m almost positive that they are almost at their legal limit for production. And don’t forget they are starting another brewpub in the cities. According to the initial story the Brewhouse would produce the first six months worth of beer for that location till the brewery part was put in place. Looks like they are gonna have to build an actual brewery to keep up with us thirsty Duluthians.

    nicolai | Oct 12, 2012 | New Comment
  15. I want Rod’s sloppy seconds.

    GTucker | Oct 12, 2012 | New Comment
  16. If a friend of mine had her way, the old co-op, now BU, would have been an artisan bakery. And it would have been gooooood. But she was outbid by Rod and Tim and the dream was shelved. There is still no place that I know of in Duluth to get a flakey croissant, pan au chocolate, or any other treat found in a European patisserie, nor artisan bread. Sure there are bakeries with ginormous weather named cookies and loaves of subpar bread and super-sweet muffins and scones, but what I would LOVE is a bakery like the Ashland Baking Co. Why does that funky little town have a great bakery but Duluth does not? Whoa, did I just go on a rant? Sorry -- I should have just said bakery, I want a bakery!

    meb | Oct 12, 2012 | New Comment
  17. As much as I love beer, I will pass on another brewpub.

    Considering the amount of space, lack of any fixtures remotely related to food service and location…

    A library that serves beer sounds good.

    Dorkus | Oct 12, 2012 | New Comment
  18. Not to deter the focus of the thread, but I’ve heard the contrary on Tycoons, digit3. I hear it’s very successful with the after work crowd, 5-8 pm. I have a friend who works on that block who very adamantly told me to steer clear of Tycoons at that time because it’s so busy usually. Granted, that maybe doesn’t guarantee they’re not in debt, but there is a crowd who patronizes it I hear.

    johnjaundice | Oct 12, 2012 | New Comment
  19. …so, “don’t do what has made you successful,” and “my friend had an idea once, but then didn’t do it” seem to be the prevailing suggestions?

    The Canal Park Business Association only dictates what goes on with skateboarders.

    I’m with emmadogs: make it a topless bar.

    adam | Oct 12, 2012 | New Comment
  20. Following up on Meb’s comments — every time Mr Emmadogs and I travel, we head straight to an artisan bakery. That’s one of the treats of travel; eating chocolate pastries and berry tarts etc., with rich, dark espresso. Mmmm. Calories don’t count during travel, and travel is a time to indulge yourself. So I’m with Meb — I would think a bakery of this sort would be a big hit with locals and tourists alike.

    So would a tapas bar, and Bret’s right, we could definitely use a Lebanese/Greek/similar restaurant now that all of our options in that area have closed.

    emmadogs | Oct 12, 2012 | New Comment
  21. Adam, topless tapas is a brilliant idea.

    emmadogs | Oct 12, 2012 | New Comment
  22. Wine bar with a menu of Greek or mediterranean tapas and a fire pit outside with tables around it.

    Claire | Oct 12, 2012 | New Comment
  23. I think it’d be nice to get something in alternative music in Duluth. We don’t really have any great areas to dance where you won’t get grinded by skeevy frat boys.

    BadCat! | Oct 12, 2012 | New Comment
  24. BadCat!, I think the new Flame Nightclub is the hot dance joint in town. I’ve only been there during happy hour, so I can’t confirm it. My guess is you would probably get grinded on there, but not by frat boys.

    Paul Lundgren | Oct 12, 2012 | New Comment
  25. Donuts and dehydrated food with beer and used records to go along with quality houseplants.

    Mr. Nied | Oct 12, 2012 | New Comment
  26. Fraternity brothers tend to stick to their houses, which we don’t have here. Drunk douchebags will go anywhere there’s cheap drinks and lots of people, no matter what’s going on.

    How’s about a cigar bar? Topless, of course.

    Jake | Oct 12, 2012 | New Comment
  27. At first I thought that would make a great place for a high end, fancy schmancy dinner place but that would be a recipe (no pun intended) for failure. Not enough people to support it and tourist families are not going to frequent it.

    How about a really good breakfast and lunch place that would have fresh, fresh, fresh seasonal fare with high quality ingredients, good pastries, artisan breads, etc….. Could switch over to a coffee house at night with music, lectures, comedy, variety, etc…..

    Please no more burger and fries, not another craft beer place, find something Duluth doesn’t have and it will be successful.

    Ruthie | Oct 12, 2012 | New Comment
  28. Strippers.

    c-freak | Oct 12, 2012 | New Comment
  29. I second the Flame, there is plenty of grinding frat boys, but the grindees grind back.

    They did a really good job with the Flame. It is literally the best dance club in a 100 mile radius.

    Even if you are not GLBT.

    Dorkus | Oct 12, 2012 | New Comment
  30. Dancing at Flame is hot-hot-hot. Make Endion a casual beer/coffee hangout with books for exchange or sale. Upstairs would be the offices for the new alternative sheet that will cover everything culture in the TP. (Free rent and we’ll get it done.)

    spy1 | Oct 12, 2012 | New Comment
  31. Positive attitude, laughter, open atmosphere, opportunities, live original music and fair prices.

    Waveview | Oct 12, 2012 | New Comment
  32. I would love a good bagel shop (sorry Bixby’s) with coffee … and sure, I’ll have beer with that as well. (I miss having Big Apple in Duluth.)

    rogue | Oct 12, 2012 | New Comment
  33. @johnjaundice, I’m only repeated the scuttlebutt that I’ve heard. On my several fly-bys of the joint it never appears busy. I’d imagine that this will only get worse as the two new places on Lake/Superior get up and running and give touristas and locals additional choices.

    I also heard from an inside the Mafia source that the Mpls pub idea was quickly shut down by the bank that has rolled the dice with them so far.

    I hadn’t thought about bagels but that would be awesome! Bagels and baguettes made every morning would be such a great addition to the scene. I’ve never understood why bagels are so difficult to make the way they do in NYC. Same goes for a top-notch espresso or a halfway decent plate of authentic Mexican food.

    digit3 | Oct 13, 2012 | New Comment
  34. It should be a lakewalk hangout--a place for breakfast/lunch fare after you’ve biked the walk. Lots of parking for bikes, a place you can sit on the porch in your blades, or with your dog. Sort of our version of a European cafe. Beer is fine too. But it should be an earlier rather than a later kind of place.

    That incorporates fitness/food/and something different.

    hbh1 | Oct 13, 2012 | New Comment
  35. One word: Zingerman’s

    If you have ever been to Ann Arbor, you should know about Zingerman’s Bakehouse. Great bread, soups and sandwiches.

    Joel | Oct 13, 2012 | New Comment
  36. I think Tapas is a really bad trendy idea that sounds cool to metrosexuals who want to seem worldly. Burgers, sandwiches, pizza, lousy overpriced hippy burritos, all these are over.

    Tapas huh? Have any of you tapas fans been to Spain, where they sell tapas? Bread and salami people, no mustard. And Americans aren’t ready for a pig leg mounted to a bar with a hairy hoof staring them in the nostrum. However, in Spain, they do sell fresh seafood, this is one thing they do right, it makes up for the shitty all-in rice dishes. And I don’t think anyone mentioned that.

    The tapp-ass brothers are too prone to gimmicks it would seem. Maybe a tax help center with beer, dancers, and cigars. I once heard it said Raymond would clean out his basement and call it an art happening. Dreams are free. Maybe an everything place is the ticket, a topless tapas bar, tacos, fresh Herring, cook your own steaks, repair your motorbike while you ogle the boobs. I’m just tossing around ideas here.

    Herzog | Oct 13, 2012 | New Comment
  37. I’ll say it again. Fresh. Affordable. Local. Seafood.

    Herzog | Oct 13, 2012 | New Comment
  38. I really like hearing and performing music before my bedtime (9:30pm). I think there are many others like me. Thirsty Pagen does a good job with this, but the acoustics are a little bouncy and it’s hard to keep the compressor out of the mix. I play a lot at Amazing Grace Bakery, but I miss drinking beer and I’d rather not see my students when I go out.

    banjo tom | Oct 13, 2012 | New Comment
  39. “Local fresh seafood”? Would love to see how one might pull this off. Fresh local lake and river fish perhaps. I, for one, am kind of sick of eating whitefish. Blasphemy!

    Fish a la Tin Fish would be awesome. A little shack is all that you’d need…perfect for the Endion. The trouble might be sourcing the killer seafood as we’re an extra flight or long drive from MSP.

    Still wondering how they are going to incorporate fitness with beer. Maybe by harnessing Rod’s “energy”?

    digit3 | Oct 13, 2012 | New Comment
  40. Lakewalk Smoke Shop.

    ian | Oct 13, 2012 | New Comment
  41. Check out the menu prices for Canal Park Brewery. I can’t locate them now, but their website is open, so they should be around somewhere. Eventually.

    adam | Oct 13, 2012 | New Comment
  42. As a former bagel baker, it’s hella hard to do bagels right. Most places with bagels have pre-made frozen bagels. In order to do “traditional” bagels, you need a huge investment in specialized equipment (hot ovens, large boiling kettles, trays, and some sucker crazy enough to near boil and burn themselves for 8-hour shifts).

    BadCat! | Oct 13, 2012 | New Comment

    All I’m sayin’, it is goofy to live in the world’s largest fresh water shipping port, without any decent local fish and chips. I’m using my words here. Work with me.

    Herzog | Oct 13, 2012 | New Comment
  44. I’d like a Fish and Chips shop as well… but I also would not like it to be upscale. No beer battered fries

    edgeways | Oct 13, 2012 | New Comment
  45. We so need a good bagel place in Duluth!

    David | Oct 13, 2012 | New Comment
  46. I’m 100% with Herzog’s line of thinking here. When I worked in Canal Park, I was pretty regularly asked “Where can I get some local fish around here?” So there’s certainly a market for it, at least in the summer. It’s also something I’d patronize too … but probably in the winter when the tourists are long gone.

    Chad S | Oct 13, 2012 | New Comment
  47. How about having it (whatever it ends up being) stay open past 2 a.m.? Quite often I’m out and about after bars close and sure would like to sit and have a cup of coffee and maybe watch the sunrise.

    gotbike | Oct 13, 2012 | New Comment
  48. Bring back House of Donuts. This community’s need for burritos and/or donuts at 2 a.m. has never been satisfied since it left.

    mamerfitz | Oct 14, 2012 | New Comment
  49. Duluth could use another place like Beaner’s. I think it’s perfect when the coffeehouse is the bar.

    And as for you folks looking for artisan bread, it sounds like the Red Mug in Superior will be selling real artisan sourdough bread this winter, like it did last winter. Not sure when, exactly.

    DaVe | Oct 14, 2012 | New Comment
  50. Bath salts, rock ‘n’ roll tee shirts, and dildos that can’t possibly find passage.

    TheKujawa | Oct 14, 2012 | New Comment
  51. The best place to get artisan coffee these days is my kitchen. I’m repeating the need for the coffeehouse. Ya know how hard it is to find a (proper) shot of espresso on this end of town without having to go into work? Im. possible. (though Sir Ben’s shows some promise.) | Oct 14, 2012 | New Comment
  52. Canal needs a bookstore again, I would LOVE a bookstore/coffeeshop/and beer together on the lake. With good sandwiches that’s accessible to strollers etc. I LOVE Grace, but since having my son I find it almost impossible to go in there, even now that he’s walking. I would love to go for a walk and get a good beer/coffee/sandwich and a book for he and I.

    jste | Oct 14, 2012 | New Comment
  53. There is a great bookstore in Chicago, the Book Cellar, it’s a combination bookstore and a wine bar. I think it’d be GREAT in Duluth. I miss Northern Lights too…

    Claire | Oct 14, 2012 | New Comment
  54. Oh please, please, please…… artisan bakery. What currently passes for “bakeries” in town is very sad. Imagine drawn in off the Lakewalk, to the smell of good coffee and croissants. Since there is NOTHING like that anywhere near here, it seems like a no brainer to me.

    blondie | Oct 14, 2012 | New Comment
  55. @blondie, I have to give props to 3rd St Bakery for doing what they do. Mostly for too big cookies and decent sandwich bread and they’re cooperatively owned. Also, despite the obnoxious size of their sandwiches, Amazing Grace does make some fine breads IMHO. I think that we need a place who makes sweet goodies for breakfast and some crusty breads: baguette, ciabatta, sourdough, peasant, etc.

    I recall Mr. Raymond talking about wanting a bakery to go into the Old City Hall building, mostly as a self-serving venture to produce buns for the enterprise’s varied sandwiches.

    I whole heartedly vote for a small bakery with coffee a la Dogwood, Kopplins. Please somebody bring us a proper espresso made with beans that aren’t oily!

    digit3 | Oct 15, 2012 | New Comment
  56. A few ideas in no particular order:

    1. Youth Hostel. An inexpensive dormitory with bunk beds and lockable storage for young travelers as found all over Europe. Visiting ski, hockey, soccer teams, youth groups, Girl Scouts et al could stay for a reasonable price right on the Lake. It could also serve as flop house for locals when they are too drunk to drive home form Tycoons, Brewhouse, Red Star and/or Rathskeller but keep the LPOE crowd out.

    2. Fish and chips. As mentioned above, but with proper British style fish and chips, two temperature oil fryers to make them perfect. Malted vinegar, mushy peas and Brewhouse beer.

    3. Bakery- As mentioned above, but do it right.

    4. A Curry House. Curried food from around the world to ward off the cold from the Lake.

    5. Italian/Mediterranean cafe with proper, authentic fresh food, wine and beer, coffee and deck seating for those perfect Duluth days.

    Swan | Oct 15, 2012 | New Comment
  57. Check out the Wildflower Bread Company. Small Arizona chain, Panera-like, but higher quality. Model appears to be working in smaller markets like Flagstaff and tourist areas like Sedona. Whole lot of “white-bread” upper midwest transplants and tourists in AZ, demographics maybe more similar than you’d expect.

    Hayburn | Oct 15, 2012 | New Comment
  58. Southern Italian style espresso. Unfortunately about 90% of the espresso poured in the U.S. goes directly into a cup of milk for a latte.

    Blame the industry…and Starbuck’s. They *did* make an attempt at getting back to their “blonde” roots, with little success…trying to commercialize on the “Third Wave” coffeehouses (Like Kopplin’s, Dogwood, etc…) that have taken to roasting their own beans on site.

    The problem with the “blonde” style is that on average, you’re losing about 10 degrees a minute on brewed coffee. So, for example, you purchase a 12 ounce cup of that high falootin Burundi AA roasted to somewhere between the first and second crack…if you don’t consume it on the quick, you’re going to wind up trying to polish off a bitter, grassy and unpleasant cup…Chiefly because the sugars haven’t fully developed yet ad the starches aren’t burnt off…

    Full City is what Starbucks should have stuck with all along, however they kept pushing the “West coast” style of overroasting their beans til your Sumatra tasted like your Kenya and that tasted like Mexico. There are nuances in the coffee profile that simply need to be developed through proper roasting technique. Allowing the sugars to caramelize without sacrificing the more delicate flavors of the profile…Underroasting is just as bad. Kenyas, if not roasted properly, will most likely wind up bitter and strong.

    If you have someone at the helm who actually *knows* what the heck they’re doing, you’re gonna have great coffee… | Oct 15, 2012 | New Comment
  59. I agree that an artisan bakery/coffeehouse would be a great addition to the Endion Station. Much like the renovated Parisian train station, Museé d’Orsay, the same concept could be applied so that this place could be renovated to become a popular eatery with an artisic flair. It would be a draw as a morning destination from people arriving from the eastern part of the Lakewalk as well as people staying in Canal Park heading out on the Lakewalk, taking their croissants and pain du chocolat along with them on their stroll. The bakery could have local artists exhibit their artwork and have monthly art openings to continue the Endion Station being a draw year-round. In the evening, it would be a great place for a coffee house atmosphere and maybe a storyteller for the little ones every once and a while. It is a gem of building in a fantastic location, I wish the new owners great success!

    nordic | Oct 15, 2012 | New Comment
  60. While in Portland we came across a place called Pints. They serve coffee and pastries in the morning, small plates lunch and dinner, beer in the evening, live music, and board games.

    Brandon M. | Oct 15, 2012 | New Comment
  61. Hello. Obvious.

    Skateboard Park.

    With Beer.

    Where the servers roll on skates, and are topless…


    rnarum | Oct 17, 2012 | New Comment

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