BoomTown Duluth preparing to open, but still needs staff

May 11, 2021

"We are so anxious, we've been waiting for over a year to get this restaurant open," owner Jessica Lietz told us on Monday.

But they still need some kitchen staff, to make sure they can feed you once you're in the door. "Mainly line cooks, is what we're looking for," she said. They've had a couple of hiring fairs recently, and seen some applications come in over the weekend. "We're willing to do very competitive wages to get the right people on board. We offer health insurance, and 401K benefits."

But the restaurant business is seeing staff shortages return as a result of the pandemic. Lietz said they are also hiring at their Hibbing and Eveleth locations as well.  "We had a lot of people leave the industry altogether, and look for a different career because they needed stability." She and her husband Erik also own The Whistling Bird in Gilbert.

Plus, there's the extra unemployment benefits that are keeping some people from returning to the workforce.

Lietz hopes to open this new spot in the beginning of June. "We will have some of the popular items from the Range, but we also want to try some new things here."

They are not bringing back softball, but expect to see more changes ahead for the large property.

Other hospitality owners are seeing the problem of fewer people applying. At Bulldog Pizza and Grill, some of their workers have graduated college and are off to new adventures. Owner Sue Wright said she'd like to expand their hours, now that restrictions are lifting, but she's not seeing the flood of applications she has in the past.

And The Boat Club in Duluth is offering $500 hiring bonuses for cooks if they can start now.

The extra unemployment benefits run out at the beginning of September.