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Endion Station Public House, located at 200 Lake Place Drive in Duluth, is about to reopen for their summer season on Thursday, May 4, 2017. The business has been around for about three years, since Just Take Action (JTA) owner, Rod Raymond bought the historic building. The building itself was originally a railroad depot for The Duluth, Missabe, Iron Range Railroad, built in 1899, in what was then called Endion (a small settlement, later combined into what is now Duluth). With the decline in passenger railroad travel, the depot went through a few different incarnations before being closed in 1978. By the 1970s, the building was the last depot of it’s kind, and was added to the National Register of Historic Buildings in 1975. In 1986 in was moved to its current location, along the Lakewalk in Canal Park.
Since becoming Endion Station Public House, the business has opened for just the warmer seasons during their three years. They usually open in May, and close sometime shortly after Halloween. In lieu of the fast approaching time to reopen, we decided it was great time to sit down with new General Manager, Chris Thomson. Chris is originally from the Iron Range, having spent a combined ten or so years in Duluth, as well as some time in Burnsville. He has worked with the company for about two years, but is taking the reigns as GM for the first time this spring. “We are considering potentially staying open during the winter season this year, but tentively closing after the 31st of October,” said Thomson.
Thomson told us a bit about the plan for this season, they are limited indoors due to the type of kitchen they can accommodate in that building; grills, fryers, and vent hoods are out of the question inside. Thomson said, “We’ll have a lot of cold press type items, we have a panini press, and will always have hot soups and chilis. We’re entertaining ideas for speciality grilled cheeses, and house made pickles too.” He went on to add that they will be using an outdoor grill to utilize a special menu that will only be available when the weather is nice. “When we can utilize the grill outside, we’ll be doing a lot of burgers, brats, summery foods. Just to be a little different though, we are even looking into the idea of branching out and doing things like a wild bore brat and an alligator brat,” said Thomson. “Alligator is actually extremely good if you haven’t tried it,” he added.
The parent company, JTA also owns The Fitger’s Brewhouse, The Barrel Room, Burrito Union, and The Blind Pig. So, it’s no surprise Endion will be carrying some of the signature craft beers brewed at The Fitger’s Brewhouse. They also will have one of the most extensive craft cider tap lists in the area. Thomson mentioned, “We are not only going to have an extensive craft cider tap list, but also a craft cider cocktail menu.”
“We also have the espresso machine, so we’ll be able to have that barista feel as well. We’re also hoping to do some fun things, like we’ve talking about a play on the ‘Johnny Jump Up’, but instead calling it the ‘Johnny Warm Up’. So instead of a cider tap, we also have a hot non-alcoholic cider, we’re thinking of doing that with whiskey and a cinnamon sugar rim, or something like that,” explained Thomson. “We’re trying to aim for making this place have that cozy feel. We’d love to have people coming in even when the weather is bad. This bar has that small cozy feel. People can come in, have some soup, a craft beer, or hot beverage.”
Endion is planning to be open seven days a week. Their kitchen will be open everyday from 11 am to 10 pm, and the bar is able to serve until 1 am. Thomson said, “The bar will depend on the business that day, as long as a few people are in here enjoying the place, we’ll likely stay open late that night.”
The establishment is technically opening Thursday, May 4. However, if you want to get in on the grand opening party action, that bash is scheduled for Friday, May 12 & Saturday May 13. Music acts are in the process of being booked for those evenings, and are to be announced soon. Thomson also went on to say, “The Smelt Parade is Sunday the 14th, and we are a sponsor for them and also one of their parade stops. So that will go around town, and end off at Zeitgeist.”
Endion has a new website on the way, under the domain, http://endionstation.com/. Until the website is ready, more info can be found at their Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/endionstation/.