“Iron for the Empire State Building, Panama Canal and Golden Gate Bridge came out of here. It was a big part of Duluth,” says Alex Giuliani, owner of the 36,000 square foot Clyde Iron Works building located in Duluth’s West End. A developer, Giuliani purchased the building in 2003 with the vision of creating a restaurant and gathering place. “I didn’t want it to get torn down because once it’s out of sight, it’s out of mind,” says Giuliani, who plans to open the restaurant on April 12th. Giuliani will kick off the opening of the restaurant with the Duluth-Superior Symphony Orchestra’s Annual Ball with MASS Ensemble on April 10th — the group will play in an event center located in the other half of the Clyde Iron Works building.
A wood-fire grill that rests between two wood-fire ovens will be where the majority of the cooking takes place. “We are celebrating the American worker, things will be made the way they used to be made,” says Giuliani. Breads, pasta, porketta, pot pies, and pasties are just a few of the items that will be made from scratch. Pasta will be made fresh to order using a semolina and water-based batter.
The restaurant will be fast casual with customers ordering at a counter and runners bringing the food to their table. “I’d rather have the customers keep the twenty percent on tipping and use that for something else,” says Giuliani. Full service will be available upstairs in the mezzanine where a full bar and tap beer will also be available. “We want to keep a price point that is indicative with what is out there and with the economy,” says Giuliani.
The kitchen will be a collaboration of minds with an array of culinary experience. Rob Giuliani, Alex’s brother, will help oversee both the kitchen and the front of the house. A CIA graduate, he has worked as a sous chef at Marshall Field’s and Martini Blu and as the general manager of Joe’s Garage. Spearheading the kitchen will be executive chef Pete Stumme, formerly of the Normandy Inn and Suites in Minneapolis. Stumme has also worked as a lead line cook at Hazelwood Grill and Tap Room. “I wanted people who were young and ambitious,” says Giuliani.
With the opening date quickly approaching, Giuliani’s team is working hard to test food and finish tables. “Cooking with wood is like an art,” says Giuilani. “We wanted people to see the cooking, it’s not coming out from behind a wall, it’s made in front of you, it’s a show.” The aesthetics of the food are as important as the aesthetics of the building. Tables for the restaurant along with all of the pillars and stairs have been made from materials salvaged from the building or found on the property.
In the weeks and months after opening Giuliani plans to add a beer brewery. The old Duluth Brewing and Malting building is adjacent to the property and another building that Giuliani owns. “We plan to bring some of the artifacts from the old brewery and display them here,” says Giuliani.
“I wanted a community gathering place, I’m from Mexico and every Mexican town has a plaza and the community can come there at night to eat, talk and purchase things,” says Giulani. The Clyde Iron Works will be set apart not only in location, but also as the only restaurant with wood fired ovens and grills.
2920 West Michigan Street
Duluth, MN 55806
OWNER: Alex Giuliani
ENTREE RANGE: Lunch $8-$10; Dinner $10-$14