Dig into different bar food at new gastropub DIGS

Dig into different bar food at new gastropub DIGS

AnnMarie Kent

The resurgence in the economy has brought color back into downtown Marquette and brought a bar into the hands of a couple of young entrepreneurs. DIGS Gastropub is set to open this month.

Part-owner and general manager Alyssa Pilot, along with Pat and Bill Digneit of Double Trouble DJs and their three other partners, bought the Dog House Pub back in August. The old sports bar was known in Marquette for having lots of TVs to enjoy sporting events and plates stacked with chicken wings smothered in any kind of sauce you’d like.

The new owners met some controversy when they decided to overhaul the place.

“We’ve had a lot of negative stuff come about where it’s like, ‘you’re taking away this sports bar and this iconic place,’” Pilot said.

She assures the community that they’re not taking away the Dog House, only improving it and giving it a new name.

“We are keeping the wings, I want everyone to know we’re keeping the wings,” she said. “I think if we didn’t people would burn this place down.”

Pilot describes a gastropub as a cross between a regular bar and a classy restaurant, giving you the laid-back atmosphere of a bar while serving high-quality delicious food.

“We just want it to be not shitty bar food that comes out of a box,” she said. “Everything is homemade on our menu. Our goal is to bring high-end bar food to Marquette.”

Pilot grew up in the restaurant industry; her mom has owned the Chuckwagon Restaurant in Spread Eagle, Wisconsin since Pilot was two years old.

While attending school at Northern and being lost with what she wanted to do, she realized hospitality management was something she could get a degree in. Owning a bar had always been a dream for Pilot but she never once thought it would be at 26 years old.

The pub will feature a lot of barbecue and comfort food, something Pilot said is missing in the restaurant industry of Marquette. They will have a mix of Korean flavors as well. The thought was there to keep the Dog House the way it was, but Pilot said they built such a talented team that it would be a shame not to use the talent to create a new menu.

“Marquette is in a renaissance right now in how the food and everything is changing,” she said. “We wanted to jump on that.”

When the Dog House closed for renovations in December, the plan was to close for three weeks for updates. They’re now going on nine weeks and still don’t plan to open until March 18. The biggest challenge they’ve faced so far is finances. She said a group of young people with no savings and plenty of college debt made banks hesitant to give them loans. Regardless of the challenge of getting the money she said things are going smoothly.

DIGS is planning a soft opening March 17 as a part of the St. Patrick’s Day block party, where they’ll offer samplings of their fare before opening the next day. Pilot said she’s excited to show the community what they have to offer.

“All of the essence of the Dog House will still be here but just glorified.”