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Pandemic to delay change at historic restaurant

Powers Ventures of Rochester is holding off on its planned purchase of the historic Mantorville restaurant, the Hubbell House, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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MANTORVILLE – The COVID-19 pandemic has thrown many personal and professional plans temporarily off track.

That includes the change of ownership of one of Minnesota's oldest restaurants.

The Pappas family announced earlier this year that they were selling the historic Hubbell House in Mantorville to another well-known restaurant family – the Powers family.

"We are selling the Hubbell House to the Powers Ventures group," owner Don Pappas said in February. "It's more than selling a restaurant. It's the passing of a torch... the handing off of a legacy."

The deal was scheduled to become official on April 20.


And then the pandemic hit and restaurants closed for dine-in service. That altered landscape means the change will be delayed.

“It’s better in the hands of the Pappases right now, considering the situation… It doesn’t make any sense for us to come in now, when it is not even open. These are incredible times,” Joe Powers said this week. “We are going to take it over in the future, but we don’t know when … We still have an agreement, and we will continue to go forward with that.”

Powers, who owns Rochester's Canadian Honker, the Mayowood Stone Barn and the Rochester International Events Center, said in February that longtime fans of the Hubbell House will find a familiar menu and the same staff after the change in ownership.

The Hubbell House, originally established in 1854 as a stop between Winona and St. Peter, was renovated and turned into an iconic supper club steak house by Paul Pappas in 1946. The Pappas family expanded the limestone building and even lived in an upstairs apartment as they developed a reputation of one of Minnesota's best restaurants.

Biz buzz

Former Mayo Clinic President and CEO John Noseworthy is stepping into a new role as a board member of a large nonprofit organization that steers many governmental and private security and defense projects.

MITRE Corp., based in Virginia and Massachusetts, runs the Health Federally Funded Research and Design Center for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, plus it also manages the COVID-19 Healthcare Coalition. The coalition of more than 800 companies is co-chaired by Mayo Clinic.

An additional board seat was created to accommodate Noseworthy. He joins 16 other military, academic and corporate professionals, including the former chairman and chief executive officer of Kaiser Permanente and the director of US Naval Intelligence.


Noseworthy, who led Mayo Clinic from 2009 to 2018, also previously served on the board of directors of Merck & Co. from 2017 to 2019.

Jeff Kiger tracks business action in Rochester and southeastern Minnesota every day in Heard on the Street. Send tips to or via Twitter to @whereskiger . You can call him at 507-285-7798.

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