Earlier this year, Zimmy’s, like many small businesses in our area, was confronted with an unforeseen tax burden. Because our many attempts to set up a monthly payment plan were denied, we were forced to close on March 6th, 2014. With your help, we can resurrect our restaurant, and continue to serve as a home base for both our many loyal local customers and for those Dylan pilgrims around the world.
We always tried to make our restaurant more than a restaurant. In many ways, we were like a Bob Dylan welcome center. For the thousands of worldwide Dylan fans who came through our doors, we have provided a home base from which to explore the town of Hibbing, including, but not limited to, its Bob Dylan connection. We are rooted in celebrating and preserving the importance of the Iron Range and its influence on Bob’s work. Zimmy’s was a place where both locals and outsiders felt at home. We succeeded in creating an atmosphere where patrons could comfortably spend hours in conversation. We took pride in our menu, serving “exquisite local cuisine” and creating culinary events for our local patrons like special wine, beer and whiskey food pairing evenings. But, in many ways, our food and drink merely provided the means to keep people fueled for further conversation, camaraderie and connection.
For many years, our historic trolley station building on Howard Street has been the hub for the annual Dylan Days celebration in Hibbing. Hundreds of musicians, artists, and Dylan fans have performed on our stage and formed lifelong connections with both the town and the people they met at Zimmy’s. We have hosted local and touring musicians, exhibited and celebrated many local artists, and have even served as the stage for local theater productions.
Our extensive Dylan memorabilia collection, which we’d love to keep local, and our stories have been featured in countless books (including the official Bob Dylan Scrapbook), museum exhibits (including The Grammy Museum, The Experience Music Project, and the Weisman Art Museum), and films (including Martin Scorcese’s No Direction Home). We were deeply flattered when author Steven Heine called Zimmy’s “The Vatican of the church of Dylanology,”
We will need at least $200,000 to reopen Zimmy’s. This money will purchase the restaurant building and its contents, and will secure the Zimmy’s DBA name. Our perks are for both locals and those fans that want to be a part of this unique place, even if they will never make it to Hibbing. At the top end of the spectrum, they include a few historic, one-of-a-kind pieces of local, Dylan-related memorabilia.
If our goal is not reached, your contribution will go into the DylanDaysHibbing non-profit account that will support the annual Dylan Days celebration for years to come. In addition to prizes for songwriters and visual artists, we as “dylandayshibbing” non-profit are creating a B.J. Rolfzen scholarship for creative writing, in honor of Bob’s influential high school English teacher.
If we are the unofficial Bob Dylan museum of Hibbing, we are a living museum. In an increasingly fragmented society, even in small towns like ours, we need local places to connect, converse, and feel welcome. It could be said of many of our visitors that they came seeking Bob Dylan, but they ended up finding Hibbing. As a visitor in one of our many guest books put it: “So many people…so many memories, and only one place like Zimmy’s on Earth. Maybe it’s the atmosphere, the people, or a longing for days gone by, but this place feels like home.”
In 100 years, people will still be coming to Hibbing because of the Bob Dylan connection—there is no doubting that. The question is: will there be a place like Zimmy’s to welcome them? If you love Bob Dylan, Zimmy’s or Hibbing, please consider donating to our campaign.