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New owner takes over Superior’s Cedar Lounge

The Cedar Lounge is located just off Tower Avenue at Third Street in Superior's north end.

The Cedar Lounge is located just off Tower Avenue at Third Street in Superior’s North End. The new owner has not announced plans for the property.

The wife of former Fitger’s Brewhouse co-owner Tim Nelson has her name on the recently transferred liquor license of a decades-old Superior tavern.

The Superior City Council granted Cedar Forest LLC a Class B liquor and beer license for the Cedar Lounge, 1715 N. Third St., at its Dec. 15 meeting. The license application lists the sole member of Cedar Forest as Naomi C. Nelson, wife of Duluth micro-brew trailblazer Tim Nelson.

According to the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions website, Superior attorney Parrish Jones filed documents establishing Cedar Forest and a second firm connected to the Cedar Lounge, Zenith Landmark LLC, in early November. No officers were listed for Zenith Landmark.

Zenith Landmark purchased the Cedar Lounge property from Darrelette McKinnon on Dec. 15 for $185,000, according to Douglas County records. McKinnon family members were longtime owners of the tavern, located near the intersection of Tower Avenue and Third Street in Superior’s North End.

Jones said he could not comment on plans for the property. Tim and Naomi Nelson did not respond to requests for comment.

Tim Nelson established Fitger’s Brewhouse at the historic Fitger’s Brewery Complex in Duluth with business partner Rod Raymond in 1995. At the time, it was one of just a handful of craft brew pubs in the state. Today, the Minnesota Craft Brewers Guild lists 91 members.

Nelson and Raymond went on to create several more Duluth eating and drinking establishments under the corporate name Just Take Action, including the Burrito Union, Endion Station, Tycoons Alehouse and the Red Star Lounge. The Red Star recently changed its name to the Barrel Room.

In August, Raymond bought out Nelson. Longtime Brewhouse brewmaster David Hoops stepped down from his position at the same time.

Tim Nelson told the Duluth News-Tribune in a Sept. 2 article he planned to continue working in the craft-beer business.

“I don’t see myself leaving the beer industry,” he said. “It’s my specialty. Plenty of people are paying attention to that industry. As of this week, I’m getting organized with my thoughts, and where they take me I don’t yet know.”

In mid-September, Superior’s Norm’s Beer & Brats closed and owner Tina Anderson announced on the Norm’s Facebook page she would reopen in the Cedar Lounge space. The Superior City Council received a liquor license transfer application from Norm’s to the Cedar Lounge on Oct. 6. City officials said no action was taken on the application after the project failed to move forward. Ten weeks later, Naomi Nelson took over the Cedar Lounge liquor license and the property was sold.

On Tower Avenue, Sclavi’s Restaurant & Bar co-owner Anthony Sclavi said a reopened Cedar Lounge could help attract more people to Superior. Sclavi helped form a group called Visit Uptown Superior about a year ago to help promote more business and commerce in the city.

“Man, I think that would be awesome,” said Sclavi. “I think that area is right for redevelopment. I’ve always considered it Superior’s Canal Park. Sure, it needs a lot of TLC but there’s a ton of potential there.”

Sclavi said Tower Avenue has been buzzing with new business development ideas including a new hotel and water park project and a theater.

“Superior is in a state of transition right now, a positive one,” he said.

4 Comments

Herzog

about 2 years ago

I’ve always considered it Superior’s Canal Park. Sure, it needs a lot of TLC but there’s a ton of potential there.
LOL. This was the brothel back in the day. Any photos or memories to share?

jayinduluth

about 2 years ago

Your opinion of the Cedar Lounge could be HUGE!

Paul Lundgren

about 2 years ago

Some random Cedar Lounge historical details via city directories: The name Cedar Lounge goes back to roughly 1974, when George Gothner took over ownership. Gothner was later co-owner of the Rustic Bar in West Duluth, until his death in 2013. Charles R. Eisenmann and Thomas Cich are also listed as past owners of the Cedar Lounge. The Cich era lasted from about 1988 to 1995, and during that time the place was known as "Tom's Cedar Lounge." In the early 1970s, the place was called the La Bamba Bar and run by Frank Perpich. From the very early 1970s back into the 1940s it was the Welcome Inn, run by John G. Krych. Before that it was owned by George Krych, but no business name is listed. In 1940 Krych is listed as being in the "beverages" business, in 1932 "lodgings" and in 1924 "soft drinks."

toyota200x

about 2 years ago

I worked near the Cedar lounge for 3.5 years and every day I wondered if the place was actually open. Does anyone have any stories or experience getting a drink there? That Yelp review is interesting.

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