About

Casual lakeside dining at its finest.

J.J.'s dockside sign at night

J.J.’s Dockside is a tavern style restaurant that joins local decor with the story of John Jacob Astor, a wealthy fur trader in the early 1800s. The restaurant takes its name from John Jacob Astor, and the beautiful Lake Bemidji shoreline that stretches across one’s view over the patio. The Mississippi River and Lake Bemidji are home to a variety of trade routes that once ran through this area during John Jacob’s rise to fame.

Imagine yourself in the great American fur trade where voyageurs paddled across the lakes and rivers, returning to the east coast in canoes loaded with furs. This is JJ’s Story, where America’s first multi-millionaire meets the frontier.

Today, J.J.’s Dockside continues the rich tradition of local enterprise as a New American Tavern serving classic menus from the Midwest and beyond. An inviting, airy space adorned with historic Bemidji artifacts, J.J.’s Dockside specializes in locally-inspired American cuisine served alongside carefully hand-crafted cocktails and a collection of Minnesota-made craft beers,wines, and spirits.

J.J.’s Dockside invites you to come experience the Dockside Difference, where our friendly wait staff are eager to provide an unforgettable dining experience that turns moments into memories. Enjoy the view of the lake and generous happy hours at Bemidji's largest bar and patio to discover new things about people you thought you knew, and those you're getting to know.


The man behind the name.

Globe at JJ Astor Restaurant & Lounge in Duluth, MN.

JJ’s Dockside Restaurant and Tavern was named after John Jacob Astor, the man who started a 19th Century financial empire. He was one of the richest men in history after starting the American Fur Company, a Fond du Lac, MN business, and trading with the fur trappers of the Great Lakes Region. Look out over Lake Bemidji and imagine yourself in the great American fur trade where voyageurs paddled across the lakes and rivers, returning to the east coast in canoes loaded with furs. This is JJ’s Story, where America’s first multi-millionaire meets the frontier.

Immigrating from Germany, John Jacob Astor reached New York in March of 1784 with $25 in his pocket, looking west. By 1800, Astor had build a vast trade network and was recognized as the leading American merchant in the fur trade. The tireless business man continued to expand his lucrative business into the American Fur Company after the Louisiana Purchase of 1803, then to Pacific Fur Company. In June 1834, he sold all of his commercial interests and created what’s believed to be America’s first family trust, consisting of 125 parcels of valuable real estate covering much of the west side of midtown Manhattan. The Astors’ control of such a large portion of Manhattan real estate led to the coining of one of the family’s nicknames, “The Landlords of New York”.


"JJ’s Dockside Restaurant and Tavern was named after John Jacob Astor, the man who started a 19th Century financial empire."

Walls at JJ Astor Restaurant & Lounge in Duluth, MN.

His death in 1848 left him the richest man in America by far, leaving an estate estimated to be more than $100 billion today. Although historians are split on whether to classify Astor as an American hero or a man driven by money and greed, he remains one of the most interesting characters of American History. His influence stretched across this region, and left a legacy all too familiar with the American Dream.

Another famous JJ Astor is John Jacob Astor IV, who was the richest man aboard the RMS Titanic when it sank in the Atlantic Ocean. He was the great-grandson of the fur trader John Jacob Astor. He and his pregnant wife Madeleine Astor boarded the Titanic on it’s maiden voyage, bound for New York. Shortly after the Titanic struck an iceberg, he helped his wife board a lifeboat amidst pandemonium. Only women and children were allowed on the lifeboats so John waited his turn. He was last seen on the starboard bridge wing, smoking a cigarette with Jacques Futrelle.

Four months after the Titanic sank, Madeleine Astor gave birth to their second son, John Jacob “Jakey” Astor VI. Thus, the John Jacob Astor name lived on.