THE RECENT REPORT of new ownership at the Masonic Center has to be welcomed news to those ushering in the continued growth of downtown Marquette. The Masonic Center is a huge anchor down there, in both size, and more recently… activity.
The new owners are no strangers to running a successful business, and have more than just a financial stake in the building. Already partners at Marquette Fence and other ventures, the two couples… Rusty and Stacie Northrup and Sam and Robin Garrow saw an opportunity to invest in something downtown and went for it. A Freemason himself, Rusty wanted to make sure the local organization continues to have a home.
The building has been such a presence downtown for so long we may have been taking it for granted. Then one day, when the doors are closed, we’d wonder what happened. Glad somebody stepped up.
Just a little more than a month into it, the new owners have addressed the usual infrastructure issues that come with a building that complex, and are working to ready more retail and office space on the mall floors. According to Rusty, the demand is there. Though they were greeted with the departure of Campfire Coworks, they’ve already found a new tenant to take their place.
They’ve also hired Sarah Balding to promote the place and keep the event schedule rolling. Sarah is the logical choice for that assignment since she’s already familiar the facility as well as the community’s event scene.
Sarah’s working on the calendar, of both regular events under the Masonic Arts, Theatre & Innovation Company (MÄTI) umbrella, and all the rest looking for a place to party or celebrate. “We’re opening our booking for summer weddings, prom dance bookings, plus work parties at holiday time, baby showers, etc. We also hope to bring more events down to the floor level of the Masonic Mall. It’s been becoming a busier mall for the past couple years and we are very excited to continue to enhance it for our local community to come and enjoy.”
Changes are coming to the Steinhaus. After more than 10 years establishing a reputation for exceptional cuisine, the focus will be changing to more of an event catering service, while still serving out of their current location.
According to their press release, “The decision to explore new avenues stems from a shift in ownership and operational dynamics. The challenging landscape of the restaurant industry, particularly in maintaining profitability and staffing, has led us to pivot towards an event and experience-focused model, Steinhaus Al Fresco. This new direction aims to ensure Steinhaus continues to thrive in our community, perhaps in a different form. We are also exploring ways to maintain our current location through new partnerships or ownership exchanges.”
So, the opportunity is there for someone new to come in and continue the tradition, or put their own stamp on the place. It’s a downtown bar/restaurant, with a cozy outdoor area and an already established clientele. Some new energy might be just what it needs.
The owners of La Catrina, the Mexican restaurant in Marquette Township, are taking over the former Marq location, next to the Children’s Museum on Baraga Avenue. Remember the Marq? It was the distinctive farm-to-table restaurant that had a brief run a few years ago.
Different than that, the new place is going to be some kind of taco and tequila bar. Details are probably still being worked out, but regardless, it’s great to see that spot being revived.
It’s been fun to watch the expansion at the Ore Dock. Hopefully that addition, inside and out, will be ready for summer. One way to draw big crowds is to build a place that looks like you’re expecting them.
And speaking of downtown bars that can handle bigger groups, I’ve just about given up on anything happening at Upfront. If they’re reading this, here’s my recommended business plan… stock the bar and open the doors.
For the Hot-N-Ready crowd, the former Little Caesars on the corner of Washington and Fourth is being reopened under new ownership. Andy Storm, already the owner of Little Caesars in Houghton, is taking on the revitalization of the popular grab and go pizza place. The hope is to be open for spring, whenever that is.
Speaking of Pizza…
The word on the street is that the former Pizza Hut at the old Marquette Mall location has been acquired by the people who own the Saloon in Gladstone. No confirmation of that yet, but it sure would be nice to see another empty building brought back to life. And why not? Good location, plenty of parking, and a rebirth in progress at the former mall site.
The Saloon in Gladstone looks to be a family friendly, beer and pizza joint, that appears to have a good following. If that’s the plan for their Marquette property, it just might work. Did I hear beer and pizza? That’s not a bad place to start.