Loop Back: 200 North 1st Street
Though it’s been a destination for upscale dining and elevated cocktails in recent years, the historic building at 200 North 1st Street spent most of its first 110+ years looking substantially more grungy and gritty. (It’s actually a combination of two buildings, built 21 years apart).
The smaller section, closest to 1st Street, was built in 1881 for the expanding business of a local carriage, sleigh and wagon maker who had been operating at the same corner in a smaller facility since the 1870s. Owner James Iverson employed a team of blacksmiths, woodworkers and wheelwrights for his business, which came to be known as North Star Carriage Works. It moved out in 1901.
Construction on the back portion began in 1902 as the Northwestern Hide and Fur Company started using the facility as a warehouse.
A Minneapolis Tribune clipping from 1903 noted that Northwestern Hide produced “Uncle Sam Sheep Dip, Cattle Wash and Disinfectant,” as well as “Uncle Sam Fly Spray.”
Newspaper ads urged trappers, hunters and farmers to ship hides, pelts, furs and wool to this address to get the highest price in return.
The last time the company was listed at this address in city directories and newspaper articles was 1951.
In the 1970s, the building was used as a warehouse for the Coal Burning Equipment Company and the Maintenance Service Company.
By the 1990s, there was very little activity–or interest–in the building until the end of the decade when then-Governor Mark Dayton’s two sons took a look and were somehow able to envision a new restaurant there.
Brothers Eric and Andrew Dayton opened Bachelor Farmer restaurant, Bachelor Cafe and Marvel Bar in 2011. In its first year, the restaurant not only received rave reviews, it also welcomed a U.S. President. Barack Obama stopped in for a meal while on a Minnesota visit in May 2012.
But the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in early 2020 forced the Daytons to close all three businesses in this building.
They remained closed until the summer of 2023 when chef Daniel del Prado opened Porzana, an Argentinian-inspired steakhouse on the street level and Flora Room cocktail bar in back where Marvel Bar had been.
We have several more pages of neighborhood history in our Historic North Loop section.