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Boreal Community Media

Dockside set to open under new management

Apr 20, 2018 07:28AM ● By Editor

By Brian Larsen from the Cook County News Herald - April 20, 2018

“Not much is going to change at Dockside Fish Market,” said Steve Frank, which will be music to the ears of Dockside’s many patrons.

Steve and his wife Ellen Frank of Brainerd have signed a multiple year lease with North House Folk School to keep the popular eatery open. Previous owner Shele Toftey has agreed to stay on and work through the Fourth of July.

The Franks’ ties to the North Shore go back a long way.

“My wife’s grandfather was the 13th person to graduate from the University of Minnesota medical school,” said Steve as he sipped coffee recently at Dockside.

“When he graduated he and his bride sailed on America to Lutsen Resort where they honeymooned. There wasn’t a road up here at that time.”

As Steve talked a crew of four or five workers were busy cleaning and straightening the restaurant to get it ready to open on Thursday, April 26. The doors will be open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Sunday hours will be added sometime in late May.

Steve and Ellen Frank have known Harley and Shele Toftey for a long time. “I was in the seafood wholesale, and processing business and Harley and Shele were both a customer and supplier to me,” said Steve.

The Franks own and operate Morey’s Seafood Markets in Motley and Brainerd. The markets offer a variety of smoked and fresh fish and deli items at both establishments. Both restaurants are busy. The Brainerd location does twice the volume as Dockside and the Morey’s in Motley one and one-half the volume of Dockside, Steve said. 

The Franks’ daughter Elsye and her husband Paul will be on hand to help at Dockside this summer, said Steve, and he will be here to assist at times. “Someone from the family will be on hand every day to help,” he added.

During his college days at UMD in the mid-1970s Steve came to Grand Marais with some of his buddies to help film a documentary on the decline of fishing in Lake Superior. They met with Dick Eckel and went out on Eckel’s boat to shoot some live action. “I was supposed to hold the grip,” said Steve. “The old tug started rolling in the waves, and I got sick. I was hanging over the edge of the boat most of the time,” he said with a chuckle.

Eckel’s dock sits just below Dockside.

And in the category of it’s a small world, one of Ellen Frank’s college roommates at UMD is longtime Grand Marais resident Sue Bauer.

“We will be methodical in making changes here. Harley and Shele knew what they were doing, and they ran a good business. We might add a few deli items and bring in smoked fish from our Motley location, and maybe a few seafood items over time, but for now, we will keep the menu much as it has been,” Steve said. 

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