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Upgraded Crabby Ol’ Bills reopens on Lakewalk

Dillon Forcier of Duluth, who works at Crabby Ol' Bills, the beached tug in Canal Park near the Lakewalk, attaches the menu to the side of the boat Monday afternoon. The unique eatery got a new coat of paint and other upgrades from the new owners this season. Bob King /

Brooks Johnson

Forum News Service

A Lakewalk landmark has a new lease on life — and a new paint job, too.

Crabby Ol' Bills reopened June 1 under new ownership, returning the beached fishing boat Nels J to its mini-donut-making and fish-and-chips-slinging ways.

"We aren't big into food service — we're a real estate investment company — but we see it as a great way to participate in the Duluth Lakewalk scene," said Brian Forcier of Titanium Partners, which bought the business earlier this year. "We knew it needed some new life, and it definitely needed some upgrades."

After two weeks of work getting the food stand in ship shape, Forcier hired an experienced crew to run the day-to-day operations.

The former owners bought the concession stand, which sits near the pier in Canal Park, in 2011. They announced it would close in December.

As far as major changes to the summertime staple, Forcier said he plans to keep Crabby Ol' Bills open through the end of October, rather than close it Oct. 1 as in years past — weather permitting.

"We're just going to have fun and provide a nice family spot for people to take a break and watch the ships and hang out in a safe clean place," Forcier said. "We want to be that spot for the mini-donut in Duluth."