Wednesday, November 14, 2018

The New Guy in Suptown

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man at the Anchor, in possession of a good burger must be in want of a beer.  And that's how my time in Superior begins.

I spent the first twenty-ish years of my life in Upper Michigan, going to college below the bridge with Trolls.  Then the next nineteen years were in the Twin Cities.  So I'm no stranger to Wisconsin, even spending two summers working in a small Northwoods town called Sayner.  Still, Suptown has its surprises and this blog is dedicated to revealing and understanding what those are.  Even this blog title is borne of a missed attempt at pronunciation.  I'd read the word Suptown before, but assumed it was pronounced "S'up-town."  Nope, "Soup-town" it is.  But I had already decided on the name and reserved the title with Godaddy, so here we are.

Or take this whole alternating parking habit.  It's second nature to everyone here, but that first Sunday switch was disorienting.  Luckily all my neighbors came over at least twice to knock on my door and remind me.  Some newcomers get a pie as a housewarming gift; up here they make sure you don't get a parking ticket.  I like that better.

Also, I don't know if you all realize this, but Superior has an abundance of good, cheap burgers.  Like, this is not normal, people.  Just about every bar or restaurant I've been in has a $5 burger option that a Minneapolis restaurant could get away with charging triple for.

But after my initiation at the Anchor, my next order of business was finding a place to live.  The home I chose is in the BOB neighborhood, which people tell me is supposed to be blighted.  But compared to my corner of Minneapolis...

...this is downright serene.  I love fixing old houses, so I was looking only at distressed homes that could benefit from an owner-occupant with a vision.  I had no notion of where people are supposed to want to live.

Upon requesting a showing, my realtor asked me how certain I was about this house.  "It needs a LOT of work."  "Yes, fixer-uppers are the only houses I am interested in."  "It's old."  "I love houses with character, and the older the better."  "It's on a corner."  "Perfect; my dog loves sitting on the porch and watching things, so we both want a corner house anyway."

"It's near a commercial property."  "Not just *a* commercial property.  The best Thai restaurant in the Twin Ports!"  "It's in a rough area."  "Compared to my corner of north Minneapolis (which has gotten worlds better during my time there) I don't think Superior can dish out anything I haven't already seen."  Not to be dissuaded, I convinced her to show me the place, and I made an offer immediately.  Here I am.

The neighborhood that supposedly isn't desirable is less than a mile from my job.  A grocery store is three blocks away.  Phenomenal Thai food is practically next door.  Literally dozens of bars and restaurants are within walking distance.  I could walk to and from the Anchor or Grizzly's if I'm feeling ambitious.  I haven't even broken out my bicycle yet to explore that way, but this town is so flat that getting around by bike won't be hard at all.  Yeah, a lot of the houses around me could be spruced up, but the housing stock built in the early 20th century stands the test of time.

The neighborhood I chose is presumably one that people here aren't attracted to, but I can't imagine wanting to live anywhere else.  And that's a microcosm of how Superior seems to be viewed in general.  Before coming here, the only thing I knew of Suptown was the Subway in Allouez because that's where I stopped on my way to and from Minneapolis and Upper Michigan.  My new hometown is a place that I spent decades zipping through without a second thought.  For long-time residents, know that your city has so much to offer and once people discover that, they'll be drawn here.  For newcomers and people on the outside, come on over; you don't know what you're missing.

Keep on reading this blog though, and you'll find out.


  1. I moved here from Kansas City a few years ago and feel exactly the same way about our city! There are so many awesome things about Superior!Thank you for working to make our city even better!

  2. Welcome! I was born and raised in Superior. Like many small cities it has suffered its ups and downs, but it's definitely on an upward climb and I couldn't agree more that it has a lot to offer. It's refreshing to see Superior portrayed in a positive light.