Cloquet native Sherman Turcotte has lots of stories to tell about growing up in Cloquet — and fond memories of watching Gordy’s Hi Hat grow from a small hamburger joint to a place known by people across the state, who make sure they stop at Gordy’s for a burger on the way to whatever lake or cabin they’re vacationing at.
Turcotte stopped by the Pine Journal last week with a stack of photos from the early days of Gordy’s, some of them the same photos featured on the walls of the local eating establishment (which opens April 1).
In the photo from a long-ago “Kiddie Parade” in Cloquet’s West End, Sherman Turcotte is the 10-year-old boy holding the sign on the right, his ears poking out from under his chef’s hat, looking earnestly at the camera with his friends and brother.
“We lived right across the street [where The Fig Tree is now],” Turcotte said. “I think we were in the Kiddie Parade a couple different times.”
Turcotte remembers when the Warming House was a plumber’s shop and the Hi Hat property was basically a culvert (that they liked to slide through) and the current Sammy’s Pizza site was home to a saw mill.
Turcotte didn’t just dress up like someone who worked at Gordy’s. Eventually he got a job there, first picking up trash outside at the age of 13, then graduating to making hamburger patties at 16 and then as a cook.
Now a Duluth resident, Turcotte said he’ll be back in town soon.
“Even after 54 years, I still stop [at Gordy’s] to eat and look at the photos,” he said.