Editor’s Note: This story was updated today.
MENOMINEE—The new owner of the Ogden Club wants to set the record straight.
“Those curds are staying,” he said. “They’re wonderful.”
And the pizza’s not going anywhere, either. Also, the new business is not affiliated with the mine.
“I am not affiliated with the mine whatsoever,” he said.
Dustin Downs, the owner of two businesses—the Ogden Club and the Alibi Bar and Grill in Marinette, recently reopened the Ogden Club at 414 10th Ave., Menominee. The building was previously owned by Tom and Robin Quigley, who leased space above the bar to Aquila Resources, a mining company with whom the Quigleys had an affiliation.
The Ogden Club is open seven days a week, from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. This Saturday will feature its from-scratch, handmade Native American fry bread tacos. Menu items range from $10 to $15, with pizzas around the $20 mark, depending on size.
Downs quickly got to work after the purchase, adding TVs, a wine bar and more nautical elements to the decor, including a vintage Edmund Fitzgerald plaque and a few other ships traversing the Great Lakes. He said that running between the Alibi and Ogden has been challenging but worth it.
“I’m overwhelmed by the support,” he said, saying he’s honored to be a part of the community. “I can’t express how much gratitude I’d like to send to everyone.”
Downs said he built a new menu based on the old one—and added a few of his ideas, citing the chicken caesar wrap as one of his favorites.
“I don’t believe in fixing something that’s not broken,” he said. “A lot of the menu wasn’t broken.”
“The OC” as some affectionately call it, will still have the same pizzas cooked in the Blodgett pizza oven, and will keep the other menu staples like Thai peanut flatbread and many of the wraps.
The biggest update on the menu is the meat area. The Ogden Club will now have Italian beef, French dip, gyros and new hamburgers.
“I added my own burgers,” he said. “They’re fantastic.”
The menu features six burgers, with two specialty offerings—one topped with bleu cheese and apple bacon jam and one topped with avocado, homemade pico de gallo and mozzarella cheese. All burgers come with homemade fries. The never-frozen, half- and quarter-pound patties are an 81/19 ground chuck blend of certified Hereford beef, he said.
Downs has his credentials. He’s been in the bartending industry for 22 years, serving almost 10 of those as a bar owner. He said that the Alibi will keep its own style of pizzas and wings, mentioning that they are still two different businesses. Still, he’s excited to be across the river.
“I care about the community,” he said. “I care about everything I bring to the table here.”
Mary Hansen, board member of the Coalition to Save the Menominee River, said the anti-mine groups immediately moved their protests once they found out Downs had bought the building, she said. The groups held weekly protests outside the business for years since it was affiliated with the Aquila Resources mining company.
She mentioned that there are no hard feelings against the previous owners of the Ogden Club. She’s definitely going to the new one.
“I have never been in the Ogden Club, and I’m so looking forward to going there.”
Erin Noha can be reached by email at email@example.com