Bill Kalligher has been owner of Gannucci’s Italian Market for four years. During that time the three-decades old West Duluth eatery expanded in both size and scope, and in October was featured on the cable television show Diners, Drive-in and Dives. Last week Kalligher expanded his holdings by acquiring one of the area’s oldest restaurants, Jade Fountain.
Located at 305 N. Central Ave., two doors down from Gannucci’s, Jade Fountain has been a staple in West Duluth since George Wong opened it in 1968. Wong sold it in 1997 to Sick Cheung Lee, who had just immigrated to the United States. Lee died in November and his widow Kwok Chun Mak was looking to sell.
“She came over (to Gannucci’s) earlier this year broken hearted,” Kalligher said. “She simply asked if we wanted to buy the restaurant. They were unsuccessful selling, and I wanted to keep the icon alive. So, I told her yes.”
The deal closed on March 31.
Kalligher said he’s ready for the challenge of running two restaurants. He said Jade Fountain had not been well maintained in recent years and he wants to improve it.
“I really want to clean the restaurant up as a whole,” Kalligher said. “I didn’t like seeing its condition go downhill, so I want to bring it back to the level of an iconic restaurant. It will be a big challenge, but for now, I’m just taking it one day at a time.”
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