JD Hoyt’s Celebrates 35 Years In The North Loop
The North Loop is now well-known as a destination for trendy restaurants and bars, but JD Hoyt’s was here serving its oversized pork chops, steaks and cocktails long before the North Loop was cool. And it’s lasted 35 years—much longer than most restaurants anywhere.
Back in the mid-80s, when Washington Avenue North was lined with worn-down warehouses, the owner of a little watering hole at 3rd Avenue North, The 301 Bar, was looking to pack up and sell. It wasn’t the most desirable location at the time, but two guys with a good track record in the hospitality business downtown saw potential. John White and Mike Andrews bought The 301, converted it into a restaurant with 14 tables and named it after their dads, JD and Hoyt.
They also brought in a prep cook named Pat Montague who’s still there 35 years later, although now he’s a co-owner and operator, constantly on the move, shaking hands, telling jokes and greeting diners like best friends.
Andrews and White, with their earlier successes at The Loon, Dixie’s, Sgt. Preston’s and others, were able to use their connections to get people into their new steakhouse in a rundown corner of downtown. Things went so well, they built a large expansion to their dining room in 1991.
From the start, JD Hoyt’s has been a place to spot celebrities, especially sports stars. Just last week on Valentine’s Day, former NHL stars took up two tables in a back room (ask Pat about this story—it’s a good one) while two former Twins were dining together in another part of the restaurant.
JD Hoyt’s provides catering for Gopher football, hockey and basketball teams. Pat says one of their first catering jobs was for Lou Holtz when he coached the Gophers, and PJ Fleck still brings today’s players in.
Pat says there have been offers over the years to buy the restaurant and replace it with a new condo building which would have a new version of JD Hoyt’s inside, but they’ve resisted those offers. He says it would be impossible to replicate the classic ambience of his supper club which keeps his repeat customers coming back.
“That’s my whole job is not to change anything,” he joked. “You know it’s not brain surgery. We get you for an hour and a half, we want to make it the best hour and a half of your day.”