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Duck In And Eat coming soon in Blackduck

After being in the restaurant business for nearly 30 years, Mark Little decided now was the time to open one of his own.

Two years ago, Little and his wife, Tanya, purchased the building where “Duck In And Eat” will be located, 72 Main St., and have been doing what they could to renovate it since.

“We slowly started doing what we could with the money we had, which wasn’t a whole lot,” Little said.

He wanted to completely remodel the inside and outside of the building, which also included plumbing and all of the electrical work. Besides what is required to have professionals do, he did himself.  

“We took the whole building down to studs,” he said.

Just as 2013 was coming to an end, the renovations were nearly complete and Little was expecting to have a ceiling in by the end of this past week.

It wasn’t all smooth sailing through the past two years of fixing up the building. Just over a year ago the Littles lost their home and everything inside to a fire.

“Not a call I want to get at work ever again,” Little said. “That’s for sure.”

Instead of buying a new home after losing theirs, they purchased a used trailer and put some of the money they saved toward the restaurant.

That combined with a small loan from the city, gave Little enough money to finish the renovations within the past year.

According to Little, the restaurant should be opening before the end of January with a menu filled with homemade meals.

Little worked as the kitchen manager at the Peppercorn Restaurant in Bemidji for 20 years and his wife has had some experience working in the food industry, as well.

After leaving the Peppercorn, Little worked at a couple different restaurants in the Bemidji area but always enjoyed being able to make what he wanted.

“At the peppercorn I had my freedom to do what I wanted to do and make what I wanted to make,” Little said. “Other places they just had their menu and that’s that.”

Owning his own restaurant will allow Little to put whatever he wants on his menu, which he says will consist of typical cafe food and also some weekend specials.

Baking for Duck In And Eat will be Little’s 22-year-old daughter. “She’s an awesome, awesome pie maker,” Little said. “She learned from the best: my mom.”

The plan for the restaurant is to be open at 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. on weekdays and 9 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, according to Little.

There will be room for about 40 people in the restaurant and Little has plans to put a cement slab on the south side of the building for a patio in the summer.

“It’s been something I’ve wanted to do for a lot of years,” Little said. “I just kind of decided that it was the time to do it.”

Jillian Gandsey

Jillian Gandsey is the Multimedia Editor at the Bemidji Pioneer. She is an Iron Range native and a 2013 graduate of Bemidji State University. Follow Jillian on Twitter and Instagram @jilliangandsey. Contact her at 218-333-9786, 218-996-1216 or at 

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