Even at age 90, Gordy Lundquist can't stay away from his namesake burger joint.
He spent his birthday Monday the same way he's been spending most summer days for the last 57 years: behind the counter at Gordy's High Hat in Cloquet, taking orders for burgers, fish sandwiches, onion rings, and malts.
Since Gordy and his wife Marilyn opened the place in 1960 it's been their labor of love and has become a regular stopping place for locals and travelers passing through the Iron Range on their way further north.
Still working 60 hours a week
Monday's Facebook post congratulating Gordy asks if he's the hardest working 90-year-old in the world.
And the argument is strengthened by his grandson's comment to KBJR 6 that Gordy still typically works 60 hours a week at the High Hat.
Luckily, he and Marilyn, who's only a couple years younger, don't have to keep that pace up all year. After the High Hat closes for the season in September, they spend six months of the year in Sarasota, Florida, their site says.
In fact, they don't have to maintain a frantic work schedule at all. Their son and grandson are ready to take over the family business. Last September Gordy told FOX 21: "I think, maybe this year it will be my last year here.”
We know how that turned out.
Serving up tasty food to northern Minnesotans is clearly in the Lundquist's bones. They only do it in Cloquet now, but ten years before opening the High Hat, Gordy and Marilyn started the first A&W Root Beer stand in Eveleth.
Then in 1955 they built Duluth's London Inn Drive Inn. That was also a seasonal spot, though it stayed open through Duluth's big Central-Denfeld football matchup in the fall.
That's what the Lundquists told the Pine Journal when they were celebrating the High Hat's 50th anniversary back in 2010. Only a few more years until the restaurant turns 60. And we have a hunch who might be working the counter that day.