Interview with Vanilla Bean’s Jason Vincent

New Owner, New Energy… A Grand Re-Opening

One of the best parts about working for The Duluth Experience is having the opportunity to collaborate with amazing partners in the local community. Through our Affiliate Program, we’ve started to build a network of passionate, like-minded businesses dedicated to creating authentic experiences for our guests and a very important part of the overall experience is the food. We’re lucky that there are some great folks making some great meals and sharing their passion for their craft with us.

A great example is The Vanilla Bean Restaurant in Two Harbors, Minnesota.

Vanilla Bean Restaurant

Owner Jason Vincent keeping the fires burning at The Bean.

Jason Vincent and his team at the Vanilla Bean Restaurant came on board as an Affiliate in the Spring of 2014. Ever since, “The Bean” has provided The Duluth Experience with high quality lunches for the High Roller Bicycle Tours and our Saturday Duluth & Beyond Brewery Tours.

We sat down with Jason to chat about the inspiration that led him to purchasing The Bean and embedding himself in the North Shore business community.

DeXp: How did you end up owning a restaurant in Two Harbors and what was it about The Vanilla Bean that inspired you to change your career?

Jason: I purchased The Vanilla Bean Restaurant after working in the television news business for close to 11 years. It’s an extremely tough business, both personally and professionally. When I decided to leave my news career last November, my energy immediately turned to buying a restaurant. When I saw the listing for The Bean, and eventually visited for the first time, I fell in love. It’s a quaint community-oriented restaurant serving fantastic food. I thought, what more could I ask for?

Vanilla Bean Logo
DeXp: How has The Bean evolved under its new ownership and where do you hope to take the restaurant in the future?

Jason: The Bean has become a year round, full-service restaurant and caterer. We are making the commitment to stay open daily for breakfast, lunch and dinner from 7am to 9pm. This wasn’t an easy decision, because like many small businesses on the shore, we could have closed when the tourist season ended. But I truly believe The Vanilla Bean needs to be open during the good, and not so good times. We are going to continue to grow by adding a full bar this winter. There are also extensive renovation and energy efficiency upgrades being planned with the help of a Small Cities Redevelopment program. We are working toward the goal of having a “Grand Re-Opening” late this winter or early spring.

DeXp: Can you comment on the role of small businesses like The Bean as members of the local community?

Jason: My new passion is no longer telling great stories on-air, but serving perfect omelets and walleye dinners to our guests. My staff works tirelessly every single day to make sure our customers walk out the door feeling completely satisfied. Owning a business is a commitment, not only to your employees and customers, but to your community. I take that responsibility very seriously. Two Harbors has an opportunity to become a year-round destination city – to live, to play, to visit – and to raise a family. I’m hopeful that me and my restaurant play a role in making Two Harbors a better place for all.

DeXp: What advice would you provide to folks out there thinking about the possibility of making a substantial career change?

Jason: When I was growing up, there were two things I always said I wanted to do with my life. I wanted to be a television news anchor, and a restaurant owner. Two very crazy life goals, right? Well, it’s not often someone can say they’ve accomplished both of their dreams by their mid 30’s. You have to wake up every day believing you can make your dreams become a reality. I worked on one small project everyday for a year and half to make this restaurant ownership happen. It’s persistence – and the saying is true – it does pay off.

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