For 90 years, Jax Cafe in northeast Minneapolis has served up steaks, seafood and memories

For nine decades, customers have been coming to Jax Café for birthdays, anniversaries and job promotions.

Now this institution in northeast Minneapolis is celebrating a special occasion of its own.

"It feels great. We survived a lot, especially the last five years. You never know in this industry, right? Some great restaurants have come and gone and neighborhoods have changed and gone up and down. So to be here for 90 years is impressive," said owner Bill Kozlak.

Jax opened as a working man's bar in 1933, shortly after the repeal of prohibition, and eventually grew into a staple of the Twin Cities restaurant scene.

It received the second liquor license in Minneapolis, while its signature patio and trout stream became the first outdoor dining in the city.

The old school supper club was also home to the area's first lobster tank.

"I think the biggest thing is we've always stuck to what we are and let's be really good at the simple stuff that we are. Let's do great prime rib, great steaks, great walleye, lobster, whatever it is, we never got outside of our lane," said Kozlak.

Just like three generations of Kozlaks have owned and operated Jax, generations of customers keep coming back to mark major life moments.

While some things have changed over the years, like the phone booths in the back no longer work, the restaurant still does special touches, like making personalized match books for diners.
"It is a personal touch. It's something people remember, whether it's a business dinner or ‘a will you marry me?’ People save them. It's all part of their Jax story," said Kozlak.  

Jax will celebrate 90 years of its own story in the spring when more of its snowbird customers are back in town. In the meantime, it will continue to serve up memories that stand the test of time.

"We're at 90 years and I for sure will see this thing through to 100, and we'll see what happens," said Kozlak.