By Duluthninja on Jun 22, 2010 in Restaurants
Any news on when it’s opening?
It’s a second location, and should be open in about two weeks.
The original Maya Family Mexican Restauarant is near the Miller Hill Mall at 1725 Maple Grove Road.
The new one is at 220 W. Superior St. It’s the former location of Grape Vine Cafe, Taj India, Burger King, Mr. Nick’s Charburger, etc.
I always wonder why people insist on opening restaurants in spaces that have previously failed multiple times. Grape Vine had great food, but that space is just not conducive to dining.
Maybe a casual Mexican menu will work there; I really hope it does.
That space is cursed, it will never work.
I think it’s a fine lunch place, but not for dinner. I miss Grape Vine. I really liked it.
We need more Mexican food downtown! I’m not kidding. I like variety in my taco and burrito selection. I agree that space is cursed though.
Woot more real Mexican food! I really like the Maya up by the mall. I hope this place doesn’t turn out like the new Mexico Lindo in Fitger’s, though. While the Cloquet restaurant was wonderful the Fitger’s counterpart was bland and overpriced.
Mr. Nick’s seemed to do okay in that space. Neither Taj India nor Grape Vine seemed able to advertise enough to bring in diners but I think a restaurant with a well established reputation will fare far better.
Hey, don’t forget about Taj India! That place was pretty fab, but apparently the Indian food market is saturated. Yes, I am with the curse crowd.
The closing of Taj India was indeed a great loss to Duluth. It is a shame that we need to go to the cities to get Indian food.
While I’ve been ambivalent about Maya, I do think they got hosed with the road reconstruction up near the mall.
Sam, I take it you don’t like India Palace then?
Well at least it’s something, as much as I like seeing empty buildings downtown, maybe Maya will be a Éxito.
I didn’t know Grape Vine closed! Drat. I liked their gyros. Still, it will be nice not to have to drive out to the mall for Maya.
The Patronas family opened Mr. Nick’s in 1968. It became a Burger King in 1996 when Nick Patronas, owner of the BK franchise rights in Duluth, decided to convert it.
Brian Patterson, who had worked at Mr. Nick’s since the mid-1970s, bought the restaurant in 1998 and changed the name back to Mr. Nick’s. It closed in 2002.
The Nick’s tradition is still alive, by the way. Charburgers are on the menu at Aces on 29th in Superior.
They need to have a cheap $5 easy to takeaway lunch special.
I do not consider Nick’s Charburger a failure! Char is an underrated state of cookedness. Damn I love anything charred … ever have a charred PB+banana sandwich? KEEERIST, now that’s good eats. Seriously, how long was Nick’s there … like from Alexander’s time or some friggan thing?
Lets just say that with two local Indian restaurants, like two Mexican restaurants, quality is likely to improve due to competition. Without competition, quality can suffer so much that one is willing to drive hundreds of miles and wait many months at a time to get one’s favorite food.
So excited! I love the Maya Mexican Restaurant. Although nothing was better than Mr. Nicks! They had the best burgers and onion rings in town. Downtown Duluth needs a good Mexican restaurant. I for one will be there often.
Downtown is alive and kicking. I love Mexican food! I never liked that India Palace. I also miss the charburgers place. I think this will be a real good fit for that space. The Greek place was good, a bit expensive for lunch and they were too slow. Lunch needs to be quick and affordable. I’m glad I won’t have to drive to the mall to get to Maya anymore. (Plus I work downtown.) Welcome Mexican Maya. When do you open?
I’ve never been a big Maya fan but have to say I was excited to see it down town. I might hit it up on lunch sometime.
I miss Taj India, that was amazing Indian food. India Palace is no comparison, sadly.
Taj India was run by the original India Palace chef. The Saag Paneer was some of the best.
Having said that, I’m glad to see Maya downtown. The Cancun Platter is great!
Sam: as others alluded to, competition can make quality suffer rather than improve. India Palace went downhill when Taj India opened, not after it closed.
I have had pretty good luck with Maya at the mall. I still love me some Hacienda del Sol though! I wish them the best of luck. I hope more businesses go downtown so that area can build up even more!
@ndy, My experience is that India Palace went downhill first when it lost its chef to the Taj, and far more over the year after the Taj went out of business. The taste buds of myself and a few friends deemed it palatable while the Taj was open and unpalatable after (the Taj was real good). The last time I went to India Palace was with a visiting friend and some neighbors who love Indian food, and I was literally embarrassed by it. I went back about 12 times since Taj closed hoping for improvement, but I gave up about a year ago. This is just the experience of myself and some friends, and I’m sure things vary based on the day, what is ordered, and individual taste. But if I start getting positive reviews from people I trust, I’ll go back. I won’t go back otherwise.
But I have high hopes for Maya. The people are real nice at the Miller Hill location. Good, well-priced food can really transform a downtown. With consistent quality control and good ingredients it could be real good.
Another restaurant! How many is that this past two years? The only that was cursed Downtown Duluth was the NorShor Theatre. At least Maya is a wonderful addition to the Downtown area with a good following.
It will be nice to have a Mexican food option on the west end of downtown. Hacienda is awesome but the lunch hour is half over by the time you walk there from the west. The space they are moving into just isn’t well suited for sit down dinners like the Grape Vine offered. If Maya fails it would be a great location for a Chipotle.
Hacienda is good? I don’t understand how anyone can like that place. It’s all incredibly bland combinations of the same tired refried beans, greasy cheese and iceberg lettuce. they’ve never heard of hot peppers, cumin, cilantro, garlic … basically anything with a flavor.
I think Maya is OK. Could be a lot better. It’s unforgivable that they use frozen vegetables from a package to make fajitas. I can’t imagine that they will succeed downtown unless they up the ante on the food a bit and try to make the space inviting. Personally I think the Greek place failed not just because of its food, but because of the uninviting space and fluorescent lighting.
I sure am crabby today. I hate everything, bah!
I hope Maya does well, even though it happens to be the type of mesoamerican food I dislike. edgeways said it right. The road thing completely screwed them.
I have a bunch of complaints, but I still like to eat there (favorite is the camarones a la diabla)
I agree with maria. Hacienda is good? What planet are you from? Has anyone been out of Duluth? I’m crabby too, lol.
Love Maya! I’ve always said the only bummer about Maya is that it’s not downtown. I hope they stay true to the quality they have at Miller Hill. The salsa is my favorite ever, and if you haven’t tried their fuzzy navel you are really missing out!
One more vote against Hacienda. Worst excuse for Mexican food ever. *shudder. Sorry, hacienda lovers. I can tolerate Maya and will probably hit them up if they have some good FAST lunch specials. If they exceed my expectations you could find me there once or twice a week, I’m right down the street.
Grape Vine’s downfall was high prices and slooowww service, combine that with an unpleasant atmosphere and you’ve got restaurant death. Too bad because the food was good, and lots of veg options. *fingers crossed for Maya’s success!
While I personally feel that I’ve had some very good meals at Hacienda, I have never had a meal at Maya that I found to be “very good.” Perhaps it is that I am biased against any eating establishment located within view of a shopping mall. Think about it…
Hacienda … good owner, good staff, good prices, good food … what’s not to like? Mexico Lindo in Cloquet is good but the one in Fitger’s is not. Maya’s food is on par with the Hacienda but they are a little pricier. I still hope they do well. I don’t think their is much of a curse for the spot. I am not 100% sure why Mr. Nick’s closed, you are going to only get a select crowd for Indian food, and the Grape Vine was not a very comfortable spot to sit down.
mendoza: 2nd Ave. W. isn’t the west side of town. Gary/New Duluth is the west side of town.
Hacienda is terrible. Mexico Lindo (both in Cloquet and Fitgers) is pretty darn good and Guadalajara is spectacular. Maya is okay. I don’t really care for their food but I still think they have a decent shot at success in that space.
Read closer, @ndy. Mendoza wrote “west end of downtown.”
But your intentions of defending western Duluth from being connected to downtown are commendable, sir.
Bring back Mr. Charburger! They were the best burgers! I want one right now for breakfast. That place was there for 100 years. I think they moved over to Superior at Aces Bar (cheaper taxes in Superior). Maya has good Mexican food. Hey, how about a Mexican Charburger?
I thought you grew up in Spirit Valley, Lundgren.
For years when Chi Chi’s and Hacienda were the only “Mexican” games in town, I tended bar at Chi Chi’s but ate at Hacienda. Hacienda isn’t terrible for what it is, but it isn’t authentic in any way. So I consider it “Duluth Comfort Food” and can then tolerate it through justification--besides, the backyard patio is way too nice to ignore. (HATE the upstairs addition--feels like a Chi Chi’s!). It took Kevin more than 20 years to fix the cracked front window--I doubt he’s going to suddenly add flavor to his food. He has plenty of regulars to rely on, enough to close on Sundays, a prime day for tourist traffic.
We like the flavor of the salsa at Maya, but not much else. The Mexican place in the mall in Superior is truly awful. Never been to the Cloquet Lindo, but the one time we ate at the Fitger’s branch we were served the worst Mexican we’ve ever had: flavorless salsa, undercooked food, remarkably poor service, and charged twice for our drinks. Very disappointed from what we’d heard and were expecting.
Anyone remember Natchio’s? That was some tasty Greek (though I can’t tell you how authentic it was)!
Bring Back Natchio’s!! And bellydancers!
I remember Natchio’s from way back. I was probably in 2nd or 3rd grade and my Dad would take me to rent VHS at the old USA Video. I thought the place was a nacho restaurant!
Natchios was a cute little Greek restaurant. I love Greek Food. I know the Greek Church is doing that festival again in July and they have lots of Greek Food and Pastry for 3 days. YUM
Bartended at the Mirror Lounge, now R.T. Quinlan’s, when Nick’s was upstairs. We used to serve their food in the bar for lunch. Still can’t eat a charburger to this day.
Anybody have the recipe for the Natchios Special? It was the best and now that Mr. Pratchios just passed away, I fear it’s gone forever. Maybe the Eh?! column can help me out?
This just makes me miss the Zona Rosa.
I use to Love the Mirror Lounge! Bob was great! The Charburger and a Beer on a Friday night!!! The good old days. The Silver Hammer, The Mirror Lounge and a Mr Nick’s Burger! Piglet you don’t know what you’re talking about! Bob and Nick knew how to serve a great drink and an awesome burger. But out with the old and in with the new. Good Luck to Maya, we will support them and the boys at the RT’s. RT’s is a great bar to relax at and have a beer. Downtown is the place to be.
@Kiki…you obviously never worked for Bob! He is a great guy now but back then whooey he could be a dark and dangerous man if the brandy was out!
Just saw Nick, speak of the devil, coming out of his building. Sign on the window says ‘coming soon’!
Tejas closed this week and tomorrow is the last of the Le Grand. I wish Maya well.
Wow, Tejas closed? It was owned by the same guys who had Baja Billy’s. They should have just stuck with the Buena Vista. Rest it’s soul.
It’s pretty funny how radically different people’s opinions are of the 3-4 Mexican restaurants.
Swedes may not be the best judges of an authentic enchilada.
Being from New Mexico, let me assure you that essentially, all Mexican food in the US outside of the Southwest is fairly awful. However, some are better or worse than others.
Being from the US. This is the only Mexican I have been privy to. and I like what I have tasted . I appreciate people who open restaurants (mostly so I don’t have to cook) Kudos to all those hard working people who try to please us with their hard work with running a restaurant . I respect servers and staff who work in the food service industry. It is the hardest work around. If you don’t like a restaurant, don’t go back. And if you think you can do it better. Try it, otherwise stay home and cook.
I call the Hacienda “Mexican McDonald’s.” Haven’t been there in ages — though I do love their patio in summer. My daughter absolutely loved the food there when she was a toddler, so we went there a lot. Luckily for me, her tastes are more refined now.
Love, love Mexico Lindo, I haven’t had any bad experiences at the Fitgers location. Their shrimp tacos are fabulous. And I love their salsa. And the deck, oh the deck. . .
Maya’s good, but I hate going over the hill for anything, so I hope their downtown location works out.
Ditto Mendoza: RIP Buena Vista. Food, not at all Mexican and not even that good. View: Unsurpassed, especially for a Duluthophile like me.
But hey, now we’ve got new empty condos. Roll with the changes. Best of luck to all the new businesses moving in and flourishing in Duluth.
Also, as usual, I agree with Tony D. Hacienda = “Duluth Comfort Food” nice turn of phrase.
I hope they fail, the food is gross to say the least. I would never eat at Maya again.
Okay, I’m a former Duluthian, and a career cook, so I’ve got to weigh in on this…Hacienda is actually fairly authentic for north central Mexico, except for the cheese color. Pintos traditionally are fairly bland if you’re not in a restaurant. And it was way better than Chi Chis, which I worked at, and was corporate crap. Twenty years ago there simply wasn’t any other viable option. No Bennett’s. No Taste of Saigon. For special occasions there was Chinese Lantern or the Pickwick. Certainly no Thai or Sushi. I did love Natchios, and used to go quite a bit in the 1980s … funny how once they got the liquor license, They shut down the next year.
What I miss most of all is the old Canal Park Inn. They had burgers even better than Mr. Nicks, which was pretty good as well.
The worst space in Duluth? Highland Supper Club/Rudolph’s Ribs/The White elephant/and whatever else it was.
Wait till someday when y’all get your first authentic Mexican Truck. Muy Autentico. Will make all other “Mexican food” in Duluth hide itself in shame. Mmmm Lingua.
Mmmm…I miss tamales off the Mexi Truck that used to roll through NAS North Island…can’t beat ‘em, that’s for sure.
Born and raised here. Nothing tasted better than …
Mr.Nick’s Charburgers & onions rings
Chinese Lantern (oh, did I mention them, lol). Then we danced off the “great food” at the Brass Phoenix, Mr. Pete’s or even the Cove. Those where the days. I could go for one of Wing Gee’s Egg Rolls or Nick’s onion rings right now!!!!
I used to work at Natchio’s. I used to set things on fire and yell OPAH!! Very authentic — the owners were from Greece and spoke in their native tongue all the time in the kitchen. I loved it. Belly dancers were great too! Is is gone now? I just learned to belly dance and was planning a great surprise for my husband on our next anniversary to go there.
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