Insula Restaurant plans to open June 1

OWNERS of Insula Restaurant Dan Vollom and Sarah Wigdahl-Vollom. What was Vertins years ago will in weeks become Insula Restaurant on the corner of Sheridan Street and Second Avenue East in Ely.

by Nick Wognum
The history grabs you at the front door but when you step inside, there’s a new feel to what will be the Insula Restaurant in the former Vertins.
The name comes from Insula Lake in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area, the lake Dan’s father took him to on his first canoe trip.
Not using the Vertin name was met with approval.
“I was glad they weren’t using the name Vertin,” said Gloria Vertin, whose husband Matt ran the restaurant for many years. “It’s a new time, it’s new people and it should have a new name.
“I wish them a lot of luck in their new endeavor and I hope they do well,” said Vertin.
Dan Vollom and Sarah Wigdahl-Vollom are the owners of Insula Restaurant which is slated to open June 1.
They are leasing the space from building owner John Ott (see separate story).
The couple knows they have their hands full with the benefit of opening in a prime location with rich history, and a ton of expectations.
“We’re trying to bring everybody together and they’re going to find something they’re going to love,” said Dan.
“We’re going to try to have some of the Vertins favorites that people are talking about as much as we can and we’re going to change the menu seasonably so we can then bring different things in. Like the hot beef sandwich isn’t really a summer dish but it’s a great comfort food in the fall,” said Sarah.
In true married fashion, the two finished each other’s sentences at times.
“Even if it’s not here when you come…” said Sarah.
“It most likely will be in the fall,” said Dan. “Fall is special for food I think.”
A comment box will allow people to submit suggestions on items they’d like to see on the menu.
The biggest news? Caramel rolls are in the plans, including the original recipe.
“We have someone who has the original recipe for the caramel rolls,” said Dan.
They would also like to offer Vertins old fashioned burger.
“We found tons of old Vertins menus behind the bar and we’re pulling ideas from them,” said Sarah.
“But those menus changed over time as well. I know we can’t do a New York Strip for $6,” said Dan with a laugh.
Dan is a 1996 graduate of Ely Memorial High School.
Sarah moved to Ely in 1998 when her dad purchased Timber Ridge Trading Company in the old Ely Family Shoe Store.
“Dan was working at the Steakhouse, that’s how we met. I was living above the Shoe Store and he was living above the Steakhouse,” said Sarah.
The couple was married at Burntside Lodge in 2003 and moved to the Twin Cities in 2004.
Dan went to culinary school and Sarah worked in senior living.
“We decided to make a move back up north last June,” said Dan.
The timing was right and there’s family here as well...
There's more to the story and you'll find it all in this week's Ely Echo.

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