Within six months of acquiring the Jade Fountain, Bill Kalligher locked the big red doors to the iconic Chinese restaurant. He reached the decision in September, fed up with a dirty kitchen he says he’s still trying to clean, alleged poor product quality from food suppliers and a box filled with bounced checks from customers.
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.
Guy Fieri is back in town shooting for future episodes of the Food Network’s Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives. So far he’s been to Gannucci’s Italian Market and Pak’s Green Corner in West Duluth, and Shorty’s Pizza & Smoked Meats and the Kounty Quarthouse in Superior.
I’m not sure when this changed but I just noticed it today. I met the new owner of the Italian Village a month or so ago and he seems like a great guy. He also seems to be doing a lot to expand and spruce up the storefront. So today I was only a little surprised when the graffiti that was painted on the side of the building years decades ago had been covered up by what looks like will eventually be a new mural.
Here is a post by Paul Lundgren from a few years ago with some fun history and comments about the two Mikes and the Tom who had their names painted on the building. According to the comments, it has also been painted over before, so perhaps it’s not gone forever.
I first took notice of this graffiti in the late 1980s. It’s on the side of the old West Duluth Hotel building, which for many years now has been home to the Italian Village, along with various other businesses.