Restaurateur Bryan Flaherty has died

Businessman Bryan Flaherty, center, has died.

Duluth businessman Bryan Flaherty, 66, died on March 5. 

He worked many years for Corporate Perkins Family Restaurants, and at the age of 21, became the youngest supervisor in the Perkins restaurant group, according to his obituary. Flaherty was named vice president of operations and was responsible for opening over 60 new corporate restaurants before he returned to Duluth to work in the family business.  He  then branched out and created his own company - The Black Woods Group in 1994.  He built several Black Woods Grill and Bar restaurants, as well as Black Water Lounge, Greysolon Plaza (Ballroom and Moorish Room), a Perkins in Oshkosh and Tavern on the Hill.

A Black Woods Facebook page post stated:  “We are profoundly saddened by the passing of our founder and leader, Bryan Flaherty. Our hearts are heavy as his loss feels unimaginable.

“Both those who knew him well and those who may have simply visited one of the Black Woods Group establishments can agree that Bryan challenged and pushed everyone to be the best version of themselves. In business, his vision was carried out with his meticulous attention to detail, which was evident in the variety of dining experiences he built throughout the community.

“Born, raised, and rooted in Duluth, Bryan had a strong connection to the community. The Black Woods Group Family considers it an absolute privilege to continue his legacy of providing a genuine experience for our guests as well as carrying on his passion and commitment to our community. 

“We have lost an extraordinary, larger-than-life individual who made a profound difference in countless lives.b We will forever be grateful and indebted to him.”

The Duluth East grad and the Black Woods Group won a Labovitz award in 2017 in the mature entrepreneur category.

He won a battle with Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis through a double lung transplant in 2016. Most recently he was faced with Primary Sclerosing Cholangitis, curable only through a liver transplant, which wasn't to be.

Visitation will be Tuesday, March 12 from 5-7pm at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Rosary, 2801 E 4th St. Duluth. Family and friends will gather there again for a celebration mass on Wednesday, March 13th at 11am.

To honor Bryan’s legacy, a local academic scholarship fund is being created.

Memorials can be sent to the Black Woods Group, 230 East Superior Street, Suite 200-Duluth, MN 55802.

Arrangements by Dougherty Funeral Home, 600 E 2nd St. Duluth, MN, (218) 727-3555.