Duluth’s oldest and longest operating restaurant is celebrating its centennial this week. Although it didn’t bear the Pickwick name in 1914, the establishment that would later become the Pickwick Restaurant and Pub opened 100 years ago. The centennial celebration continues through Saturday. See the PDD Calendar for details.
Below is some historical data from the restaurant’s promotional kit. (Certain items have been called into question. Read the comments to this post for corrections by Tony Dierckins of Zenith City Online.)
The Pickwick offers award-worthy meals with an Old World atmosphere. The European-style woodwork and furniture is a hardy hat tip to Duluth’s skilled immigrants. Even the painted canvases in the Dutch Room were brought over from the former location. Hidden in the artwork is a five-fingered monk, a grasshopper commemoration of the insect plague of 1873 and beer-brewing gnomes. Behind the bar, a hogshead cask from the Fitger’s establishment can be spotted. An urban myth says a tap once ran between the two buildings, but you can’t believe everything people tell you.
- 1888 – Beginning of Pickwick as a small tasting pub known as the ‘Old Saloon’ within Fitger’s Brewing Company.
- 1914 – Pickwick moves to current location at 508 East Superior Street.
- 1918 – Joseph S. Wisocki bought the business for $200, which he borrowed.
- 1918 – Prohibition was enacted.
- 1918-1933 – Pickwick’s main menu items were “Near Beer” and sandwiches.
- 1933 – President Franklin D. Roosevelt repeals prohibition; around 9,000 Duluthians take to Pickwick to celebrate; the Pickwick Pub remained open 24 hours and served a stein of beer for 5¢.
- 1950s – Joseph Wisocki Jr. takes over the business for his late father.
- 1970s – Joseph’s sons Steven and Tony Wisocki takes over management of the Pickwick.
- 1990s – Chris Wisocki takes reins from father Steven.
- 2010 – Tim and Amy Wright purchased Pickwick in partnership with the Holm Brothers and begin management of the business in June of that year; renovations commence to restore the building aesthetic to the 1940s. Reopens in August.
- 2014 – Pickwick celebrates current location’s centennial.
Tim and Amy Wright – Co-owners and Operators
Tim is originally from Chicago, while Amy was born and raised in Duluth. Together in 1993, the couple built and ran Aberdeen Lodge, a first-class resort in Manitowish Waters, Wis. Tim and Amy moved to Duluth in 1999 and sold the lodge in 2000. In 2010 Tim and Amy, in partnership with the Holm Brothers, purchased the restaurant and began the journey of bringing life back to the long-standing landmark by the lake.
Holm Brothers – Co-owners
Excited to have the opportunity to be a part of the rich heritage and carry on the tradition of the restaurant, co-owners Dean, Duane and Dan Holm have been long-time Pickwick patrons. Coming from four generations of family-owned contracting, they have put their personal touch on the physical changes both inside and outside of the building. Every attention was given to preserve the building and reuse and match the woodwork chosen by the previous owners.
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