In 1975, two twenty-year-olds were simply trying to figure out their goal in life. They did not have many requirements, other than they wanted to have fun and meet and impress girls- that’s all, and to be honest, they did precisely that and much more. Both boys started the famous Grandma’s Saloon & Grill, met their future wives through Grandma’s, and were the best man at each other’s wedding. There were no big huge marketing plans or research before starting the company. All the plans for the restaurant could fit on the back of one cocktail napkin.
One of the men, Michael Paulucci, was a very sophisticated and well-known foodie from Duluth, Minnesota, who went by the name of “Mick.” Mick’s father, Jeno F Paulucci, was a frozen food genius and legendary entrepreneur. Mick had the privilege of traveling the world with his father, exposing him to many innovative ideas and resources.
The other lad, Andy Borg Jr., was a hard-working law student from Superior, Wisconsin. He had a passion for collecting and restoring antiques. On the side, Andy worked for the Paulucci family, where he met Mick.
In 1976, the young duo created Grandma’s Saloon and Grill from their cocktail napkin plan in a rundown bar between the bridge and a junkyard. This was just the beginning for Grandma’s as they fixed up the building, added more restaurants, and created the now independently famous, Grandma’s Marathon. This entrepreneurial adventure was always out there for the two, and it is true to say that their idea was beyond successful. They created multi-concept restaurants, family fun centers, and helped establish the Canal Park region everyone knows and loves today in Duluth, MN.
In 2014, Andy bought out Mick’s part of the business and became the sole proprietor of Grandma’s franchise and business. Over 7,000 employees have had the privilege of starting their first jobs at one of Grandma’s locations.
Sadly, Michael Jeno Paulucci passed away in August of 2020 at the age of 71. He played an inaugural role in both the city of Duluth and Canal Park neighborhood and is remembered by many.
Today, Grandma’s is still owned and operated by Andy Borg. You can visit the historic restaurant at 522 S. Lake Ave in Duluth, MN, just blocks from our Flagship Retail Store at 365 Canal Park Drive in Duluth.
Happy swapped stories, friends!