I heard been hearing rumors: The Lybba Deli in Hibbing had new owners, and the word on the street was that their potatoes were amazing. Autumn is the time for root vegetables, and just the idea of salty, oven roast potatoes made my mouth water. So off I went. I was not alone. Arriving at the Sunrise Lybba Deli today, folks were streaming out of the door carrying lunch cartons and bags.
Inside the restaurant, Mikal and Melissa Brown (featured in the picture above) were moving fast. Mikal was bustling in and out of the kitchen carrying pans of hot, fresh fish, chicken pot pies, and crisp french fries. Melissa worked the register, chatting and greeting newcomers as they came in the doors.
The couple purchased the Lybba in June of this year. They have been scooping up properties and businesses and renovating them to meet the demands of tourists (Redhead Mountain Bike Park) and traveling workforce.
This is not their first acquisition. The couple purchased the Reed building in 2021. The building now houses Synergy Studio and Rejuvinate at the Reed, Melissa’s holistic fitness enterprises. The storefront features local, natural soaps, honey, fresh kombucha, essential oils & more. The second story is slated to be converted from offices into European style hostels for short term rentals yet this year. And the Browns live on the third story.
In addition to the restaurant downstairs, the Lybba building features apartments upstairs which have been renovated and are now being rented as short term rentals. Chatting today, Mikal shared that he has folks rent units for weeks or months at a time, and the local hotel has referred lodgers to them.
Today’s lunch menu did not feature the potatoes I heard about, but the aromas of the other foods were intoxicating. I am gluten intolerant, and one of my happiest things is when kitchen staff get what that means. I asked the Lybba women if they had gluten free buns, and they said yes– but they weren’t fresh enough, so no buns for me. 🙂 (I am also grateful for quality control). They guided my decision making, and I ended up ordering a fresh Greek salad with olives that made my salivary glands sing.
The Browns shared their excitement about the Range. They are investing here because they believe in the place we call home. With their commitment to renovating properties, they are opening up opportunities for even more folks to experience the life we enjoy–and say “Hello, Range!”