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Friday, May 24, 2024
HomeUncategorizedDouble D’s Catering Recovering Following Papa Charlie’s Fire Last Month

Double D’s Catering Recovering Following Papa Charlie’s Fire Last Month

The Saturday morning of the Lutsen 99er Mountain Bike Race, Papa Charlie’s, the heart of the Lutsen Mountains business burned to the ground.

A popular business in Cook County owned by the Marshall family, Double D’s Catering, did its food preparation in the Papa Charlie’s building and suffered a grievous loss of prepared food and equipment in the fire.

James and Christy Marshall came to Cook County in 2008. James, already becoming a bar­becue virtuoso, prepared pulled pork sandwiches to serve at a booth during the annual Fisherman’s Picnic in Grand Marais that year. The Marshall’s two kids, Dakota and Dylan, sold lemonade during the event.

For many years, the Marshalls helped oper­ate the Chez Jude Restaurant and Wine Cafe in Grand Marais. Christy and Dakota worked the front of the house while Chef James and Chef Judi Barsness hustled in the kitchen to prepare a wide array of fine meals, made from scratch. Young Dylan diligently washed dishes to keep the whole operation on track.

Having worked in food service their entire lives, James and Christy started Double D’s Ca­tering in 2013 to “serve the best damn BBQ the North Shore has ever seen!”

The night before the Lutsen 99er, the Mar­shall’s prepared to feed the racers, their support­ers, and the fans who would be attending race weekend. Using kitchen facilities in Papa Char­lie’s they processed the smoked meat, made the side dishes, and bundled up all the service uten­sils. The only thing left to do was pack it up in the morning and set up near the start of the race. They went home, weary but looking forward to a busy weekend. By 6 am the fire was called in to emergency services and by the time James saw the building it was engulfed in flame.

By 9:30 that morning Double D’s announced to the Lutsen 99ers on its Facebook page, “Due to the fire, we unfortunately won’t be providing food today Lutsen 99ers. Sorry guys.”

“At the time of the fire, we had $10,000 of product on hand,” Christy said. “We had refrig­erated items for the day-to-day stuff along with mixers and blenders and other small scale equip­ment there as well,” she added.

Double D’s Catering is the Marshall family’s dream. Prior to the fire, they were planning for their best year ever. A Gofundme site was set up to raise enough funds to help replace the items lost. They have found temporary kitchen space for processing their signature BBQ and prep­ping food for their catering clients.

They recovered in time to bring the Double D’s barbecue to the Fourth of July Celebration in Tofte this year, and sold out early.

The family has suffered tragedy before. A de­cade ago their beloved son Dylan died in a trag­ic accident. Christy said that living through the grief of that terrible loss has given her new skills to handle the recovery from the fire.

The pandemic brought an immediate halt to their catering business and when events were canceled they lost those sales opportunities. They turned to direct customer delivery of or­ders to keep food moving to their customers.

The Marshall’s have two smokers at home and James went right to work after the fire getting product ready to fill this summer’s commit­ments. Christy says that he loves seeing people enjoying his cooking. “He’s been at it since he could hold a spoon,” she said.

The Marshall’s philosophy is summed up by a quote the couple posted on Facebook the oth­er day. “You can come back from anything no matter how bad you think the situation is. It’s all about your mindset.”

The Marshall’s mindset is positive. “We have a close connection to our clients, we love what we do, and we have a cult-like following for James’ barbeque,” Christy said.

Christy said the fire has given them the space to consider acquiring their own facility for food prep and storage. With their business model they are considering a mobile kitchen. Lead time for construction of a suitable vehicle is fairly long, and the cost is not insignificant, so Double D’s has arranged other kitchen space for the interim.

You can follow Double D’s recovery on their Facebook page named Double D’s Catering.

Steve Fernlund
Steve Fernlund
Typically these “about me” pages include a list of academic achievements (I have none) and positions held (I have had many, but who really cares about those?) So, in the words of the late Admiral James Stockwell, “Who am I? Why am I here?” I’m well into my seventh decade on this blue planet we call home. I’m a pretty successful husband, father, and grandfather, at least in my humble opinion. My progeny may disagree. We have four children and five grandchildren. I spent most of my professional life in the freight business. At the tender age of 40, early retirement beckoned and we moved to Grand Marais. A year after we got here, we bought and operated the Cook County News Herald, a weekly newspaper in Grand Marais. A sharp learning curve for a dumb freight broker to become a newspaper editor and publisher. By 1999 the News Herald was an acquisition target for a rapidly consolidating media market. We sold our businesses and “retired” again, buying a winter retreat in Nevada. In the fall of 2016, we returned to Grand Marais and bought a house from old friends of ours on the ridge overlooking Lake Superior. They were able to move closer to family and their Mexico winter home. And we came home to what we say is our last house. I’m a strong believer in the value of local newspapers--both online and those you can wrap a fish in. I write a weekly column and a couple of feature stories for the Northshore Journal. I’m most interested in writing about the everyday lives of local people and reporting on issues of importance to them.
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