Porter’s Restaurant to temporarily close for renovation and rebranding

Longtime Duluth restaurant Porter’s today announced that it will undergo a major transformation. Starting May 30, the restaurant will temporarily close. The restaurant will reopen with a new name, fresh look and updated menu.

“We are excited to begin our next chapter of serving Duluthians with this significant restaurant transformation,” said Gerry Goldfarb, General Manager of the Holiday Inn & Suites Duluth. “Through a major renovation and repositioning, we will provide Duluth and our hotel guests with a fresh new dining option. Duluth is undergoing major changes and improvements, and we are changing along with it to meet the evolving needs of today’s dining customers. We look forward to sharing the details of the new restaurant, theme and menu with the community in the months ahead.”

Porter’s restaurant has been a fixture of the Duluth community for over 30 years, serving hotel guests, visitors and locals — including many from nearby businesses. Hotel owners anticipate construction to start in the coming weeks. More details about the re-opening date and new restaurant brand will be announced in future months.

Porter’s has been a staple restaurant in downtown Duluth for decades. It is located inside the Holiday Center, on 207 West Superior Street. The $1 million restaurant renovation project coincides with the revitalization efforts of the Holiday Inn & Suites and Holiday Center, which are owned and operated by Lion Hotel Group. Lion Hotel Group will retain ownership of the restaurant.

Transforming Porter’s restaurant is a continuation of Lion Hotel Group’s investment in downtown Duluth.

Over the last four years, Lion Hotel Group has invested $6 million in renovation projects which have transformed the Holiday Inn & Suites and Holiday Center facilities. These efforts include:

. A full renovation of all guest rooms, suites and public areas in the Holiday Inn & Suites

. Relocating and expanding the Greenery Café and Bakery in the Holiday Center

. Building out the 5,000-square foot Lyric Conference Center in the Holiday Center, which opened in September of 2016

. Creating a 5,000-square foot office for Visit Duluth in the Holiday Center, which is currently underway

“We are exceptionally grateful to the associates who have served generations of Duluthians and visitors at Porter’s restaurant over the years,” said Mark Emmel, President and Chief Operating Officer of Lion Hotel Group. “Our success has always been deeply rooted in the hardworking men and women who have provided an exceptional hospitality experience. We also owe our gratitude to loyal Porter’s customers who have dined with us and become part of our family. With this renovation and rebranding, we look forward to continuing serving the Duluth community for many decades to come.”

Lion Hotel Group, a division of Labovitz Enterprises, owns and operates the Holiday Inn & Suites in downtown Duluth; the Holiday Inn Express & Suites in Hermantown; the Home2 Suites by Hilton in Bloomington, Minnesota; the Holiday Inn in Bozeman, Montana; the Hilton Garden Inn in Palm Coast, Florida; the Courtyard by Marriott in Beavercreek, Ohio; and the Residence Inn by Marriott in Beavercreek, Ohio.

Take a well-deserved bow, Sean Flaherty

Visit Duluth President & CEO Anna Tanski and Visit Duluth Board Chairman Gerry Goldfine presented the award to Sean Flaherty. Howie / HowieBlog.com
Visit Duluth President/CEO Anna Tanski and Board Chairman Gerry Goldfarb presented the award to Sean Flaherty. Howie / HowieBlog.com

Visit Duluth presented the 2015 Manley & Edwine Goldfine Volunteer of the Year to Sean Flaherty of Perkins Restaurant and Bakery at a noon luncheon today at Greysolon Ballroom.

Tanski new Visit Duluth President & CEO

When Visit Duluth’s new leader starts her job on February 20, she’ll have had a 23-year head start in selling Duluth around the world as a convention and tourism destination. So it will be a smooth transition when Anna Tanski moves from the Visit Duluth Director of Sales position she’s held since 2005 to become its President and CEO.

Tanski, 45, succeeds Terry Mattson, who left Visit Duluth in December 2013 after 28 years with the organization. Since then, Visit Duluth board member and former Grandma’s Marathon Executive Director Scott Keenan has served as Visit Duluth’s Interim Director.

“The Visit Duluth board sought to hire the best person available to continue building on Duluth’s tourism momentum, and there were many outstanding candidates who applied,” said Board Chair Gerry Goldfarb of the 29 applications that came in from a national search. “But despite the excellent qualifications of our applicants, the experience and proven success of Anna rose to the top.”

Prior to joining Visit Duluth nine years ago, Tanski had been Director of Sales at the Duluth Entertainment Convention Center for 14 years.

“I’m humbled to have been chosen as Visit Duluth’s new President and CEO,” said Tanski, who will lead a staff of 11. “There’s a great team already in place here, Duluth is well positioned for further tourism growth and I’m looking forward to getting started.”

A native of Superior, Tanski graduated from UW-Superior with a degree in Communication and English. She and her husband, Jason, reside in Hermantown with their two children.

Scott Keenan, Tom Huntley in the news

Scott Keenan, former Grandma’s Marathon executive director, has been named interim president & CEO at Visit Duluth. The application process for the permanent position is now open.

“Scott has over thirty years experience leading this world-class event, running a nonprofit, and managing staff and stakeholders,” said Gerry Goldfarb, Visit Duluth board chair. “In addition, he affirmed that he is not applying for the permanent position. The board voted unanimously to approve Scott’s nomination.

“Scott will serve until the new President & CEO joins Visit Duluth. Our hope is to have that person hired by March 1, 2014. The job description and online application are now live at http://bit.ly/VisitDuluth. We encourage anyone interested to review the opportunity there.”

. . .

Minnesota State Representative Tom Huntley, DFL–Duluth, announced today that he will not seek re-election to the Minnesota House of Representatives. He is the chair of the House Health and Human Services Finance Committee and will be completing his 11th term in the Legislature.

“It has been an honor of a lifetime to serve the people of Duluth and Minnesota at the State Capitol,” said Huntley. “I am humbled by this opportunity and the chance I have had to work on issues so vital to the health of our people and state.”

Virtually every significant piece of health care legislation passed in Minnesota over the past decade had Rep. Huntley’s fingerprints all over it. Huntley served as the House Health and Human Services Finance Chair from 2007-2010 and is the current chair. He chief-authored the Freedom to Breathe Act in 2007, served as a co-chair of Governor Pawlenty’s health care reform task force and led efforts to pass nation-leading health care reform legislation in 2008. Huntley credits those reforms and their focus on chronic disease management as a key marker that has set Minnesota ahead of the pack.

“I am proud of the progress we have made to make Minnesota the health care leader that we are,” said Huntley. “We have been able to make health care more accessible and affordable to families and have set us on course to better address the coming health care challenges of the future.”

Huntley was an early supporter of the Affordable Care Act and took an active role nationally to organize state lawmakers who supported its passage. This year he chief-authored legislation to expand Medical Assistance in Minnesota which will bring $5.4 billion federal dollars into Minnesota over the next four years and provide coverage to over 159,000 Minnesotans.

“The practical impact of expanding MA for Minnesota is something we should all take great pride in as a state,” said Huntley. “We are able to cover more Minnesotans than ever before and do so at a savings to our state. In addition, we are bringing serious resources into our state to help grow and support our strong health care economy.”

Huntley said he is leaving the legislature to pursue continued service in health care. In particular, he is looking to focus attention on primary care and rural access issues.

“We have made a great deal of progress in passing legislation to improve our health care system, but there are significant challenges that remain, especially when it comes to implementing some of the reforms and laws we’ve passed,” said Huntley. “I feel the time is right for me to step aside at the state legislature and step into a new avenue of service where I can use my experience and knowledge to better implement health policy in Minnesota.”