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Restaurants Posts

Perfect North Shore Restaurant: Gunflint Tavern

PDD-North-Shore-Restaurant-AwardLogoOne conclusion can be easily drawn from the results of Perfect Duluth Day’s poll to name the best restaurant on Lake Superior’s North Shore: Grand Marais is the place to be. The top three restaurants are located there, including the perfect one, Gunflint Tavern.

Owner Jeff Gecas says it hasn’t always been easy. He and his wife Susan are “Deadheads” who decided to create the business “almost selfishly” in 1998 because there wasn’t anywhere to watch live music and drink microbrews on draft in Grand Marais. “We never had Bud or Miller Lite. We didn’t allow smoking. People said ‘They’ll never make it,'” Gecas remembers. “We’re now in our 19th year.”

Upending convention, the Tavern now offers music 260 nights a year and brews its own beer. With its eclectic menu, craft beer and live music several nights of the week, it has become a North Shore institution and a favorite among locals and tourists alike.

In an outpost like Grand Marais, one might be surprised to find bangers and mash, chicken mole and an Asian noodle bowl under the same roof. Casual fare like burgers and pizzas are available at the Gunflint Tavern too, as are finer dining options such as walleye, steak and mushroom ravioli.

New 7 West Taphouse on Tower Avenue opening in September

7WestSuperior

A delay in financing stalled interior design work several months, but owners of the 7 West Taphouse in Superior say they plan to open their burger and beer business in mid-September.

Poll: Best Restaurant on the North Shore

north shore fork spoonLast week we compiled a list of nominees for the best restaurant on the North Shore of Lake Superior. The specific territory: Knife River to Grand Portage — basically anything in Lake or Cook counties was eligible for nomination.

Obviously several Duluth-area restaurants are technically “on the North Shore” — in particular the winner of PDD’s Perfect Restaurant Poll: New Scenic Café. For this poll we’re looking at places that are, at the very least, a serious bike ride from the Zenith City.

What’s the Perfect North Shore Restaurant? Vote now and have a say. Keep in mind that this is a runoff poll, so as time goes by the number of options will reduce. If the restaurant you initially voted for is eliminated, you may vote again among the remaining options.

We started with 27 nominees, then whittled it down to the Final Four: Angry Trout Café, the Crooked Spoon, Gunflint Tavern and Vanilla Bean.

This poll is now closed. The results were:

Gunflint Tavern – 35 percent
Angry Trout – 26 percent
Crooked Spoon – 22 percent
Vanilla Bean – 17 percent

Nominees for Perfect North Shore Restaurant Poll

north shore fork spoonWarm weather and wanderlust have Duluthians dreaming of a North Shore vacation. In this spirit, we’ve decided to conduct a poll to determine the best place to eat up the shore.

Before voting, we have to establish a list of nominees. What are the criteria for determining a North Shore Restaurant? After some debate, we’ve decided to include eateries on the shore located in Lake and Cook counties, from Knife River in the south to Grand Portage in the north.

While it might seem counterintuitive to some, this means the New Scenic Café is not included in the poll, since it is located in Duluth Township. It’s abundantly clear the Scenic is a favored restaurant; the café won PDD’s Perfect Restaurant Poll and has drawn accolades from foodies farther afield. For the purposes of this poll, we’re looking for restaurants that require a little more of an excursion from Duluth.

What’s the perfect North Shore restaurant (besides the New Scenic Café)? You tell us. We’ll round up the nominees and produce a poll in the coming days.

Moose Lake brewery opening soon

MooseLakeBrewery4

According to the Brewers Association, Minnesota had 105 craft breweries in 2015. This number continues to rise, but the majority of breweries are still heavily concentrated in bigger cities, and particularly around the Twin Cities. But the founders of Moose Lake Brewing Company are bucking this trend; they believe every small town deserves its own brewery.

The opening of Moose Lake Brewing at 244 Lakeshore Drive in Moose Lake is planned for the end of July. Moose Lake has a population of 2,787. It supports a handful of restaurants and a municipal liquor store/bar.

Getting “juiced” at the Red Herring takes on new meaning

Giselle Hernandez

Giselle Hernandez

Most Americans fail miserably at consuming the USDA’s recommended 2 cups of fruit and 2.5-3 cups of vegetables per day. Beginning June 27, Twin Ports residents striving to meet this goal can opt for fruit and veggies in liquid form from the Juice Pharm.

Giselle Hernandez is the certified nutritionist behind the juicery, which will operate out of the Red Herring Lounge at 208 E. First St. Hernandez became interested in nutrition and eating whole foods during a hospital stay after a bad car accident. She soon tired of unhealthy, bland hospital fare and was thankful when a friend’s mother brought her supplements like coconut water and green drinks. She says these healthy options improved her energy and credits them with speeding her healing process.

When Hernandez recovered, she decided to study nutrition. She got her certification from the Natural Healing Institute in California. When she moved to Duluth three years ago, she was surprised the juice bar trend hadn’t reached the city. She says drinking juice has many benefits, one of the primary being illness prevention. She advocates juicing as a way to “get people to eat better and nourish the body with whole foods.”

New sweet shop in Hermantown

HarborCitySweets5

Those with a penchant for pretty fondant will be pleased to know there’s a new boutique-style bakery in Hermantown. Heather Melzark and her fiancé Al Gutierrez opened Harbor City Sweets Bakery and Cakery in late February.

Carts, Pop ups, Trailers, Trucks & Tricycles: Duluth Mobile Food Guide for 2016

PDD Food Truck Guide 2015

Let’s face it: there’s nothing quite like dining al fresco on a perfect Duluth day. But area patio dining options are limited. Plus, they can be crowded and expensive. Those looking for a quick, reasonably-priced bite while relaxing outside can embrace the local food truck phenomenon. Several mobile eatery options have popped up to fill new niches since last year’s rundown. Find out more about these restaurants on wheels, when they’re around and what they have to offer in our 2016 guide.

Perfect New Restaurant: Northern Waters Restaurant

PDDPerfectNewRestaurant2016It’s no surprise Northern Waters Restaurant crushed Perfect Duluth Day’s best new restaurant poll. The eagerly anticipated eatery just opened in February, but has swiftly won the admiration and bellies of Twin Ports residents, as evidenced by garnering 67 percent of the vote.

Manager Greg Conley with staff at Northern Waters

Manager Greg Conley with staff at Northern Waters

Poll: Best New Restaurant in Duluth Area

What local restaurant will be the Spirit Room’s successor as Best New Restaurant? You tell us. Last week we compiled a list of nominees. Vote now for your favorite new eatery. We’ll post results later this week.

As usual, it’s a runoff ballot, so the list of options will shrink as favorites emerge. If the restaurant you vote for gets dropped from the ballot, you can vote again, so check back later. We started with 16 restaurants in the poll; it’s now down to the top four: Beijing Restaurant, Lake Superior Bakehouse, Northern Waters Restaurant
and Sala Thai.
 

What is the best new restaurant in the Duluth area?

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This poll is now closed. The results will be published later today.

Nominees for Best New Restaurant Poll – 2016

It’s been a year and a half since Perfect Duluth Day last ran a “best new restaurant” poll. The reigning champion, the Spirit Room, is on its way to becoming a seasoned area eatery, as is the runner up, Tavern on the Hill. What’s new in Duluth-area food since then? Reopenings, additional locations and restaurant moves seem to be a trend.

Before we vote, we have to establish a list of nominees. To qualify, an establishment must: have recently opened, serve food and be located within 10 miles of Duluth (including Superior, Hermantown, Proctor or other area townships). Two Harbors and Cloquet, for example, are too far afield to be contenders in this poll.

Here’s a rundown of the recently opened restaurants we compiled. Is there one we missed? We trust you’ll let us know in the comments before we launch our poll next week.

  • Beijing Restaurant (April 2016)
  • Charley’s Grilled Subs inside Central Avenue Minit Mart (April 2016)
  • Dickey’s Barbecue Pit (Oct. 2014)
  • Grand World Coffee (Jan. 2016)
  • Izzy’s BBQ Lounge & Grill (Aug. 2014)
  • Jimmy John’s at Miller Hill Mall (Dec. 2015)
  • KBQ Ribs food truck (Aug. 2015)
  • The King of Creams (March 2015)
  • Lake Superior Bakehouse (June 2015)
  • Lark o’ the Lake (Nov. 2015)
  • Northern Waters Restaurant (Feb. 2016)
  • El Oasis del Norte Mexican food truck (July 2015)
  • Sala Thai (April 2015)
  • Toasty’s Grilled Cheese Shop – Downtown (Dec. 2015)
  • Vintage Kitchen (Feb. 2015)
  • VN Coffee House (June 2015)

Johnson Appliance and TV Center Ghost Sign

Johnson Appliance and TV

Remodeling for the future home of Boreal, a coffee shop, farm-to-table cafe and smoothie and juice bar with intentions of opening in Spring 2017, has revealed the old sign for Johnson Appliance and TV Center.

Kounty Quarthouse in South Range under new ownership

Kounty Quarthouse

One might not expect the food served at a nondescript roadhouse six miles south of Superior to be anything special, but the Kounty Quarthouse, off County Road K in South Range, is a hidden gem that shatters stereotypes.

Beth Cherny, founder of Savories Catering in Duluth, took over the modest wayside tavern in 2006. She played up the legal theme and overhauled the menu. Her creative culinary concoctions were an instant hit with regulars and foodies from further afield. In 2014, the Food Network’s Guy Fieri shot a segment there for “Diners, Drive-ins and Dives,” his popular show that uses public input to discover and highlight some of the best “greasy spoons” in the nation.

Cherny’s decade-long run with the Kounty Quarthouse ended in March when she sold the business to Kandice and Bill Szewcik. Fans of the eatery will be relieved to know the recipes were sold along with the restaurant and the new owners intend to maintain the same quality customers have come to expect.

Epic Restaurant & Lounge opening soon in Superior

IMG_8305Superior will have a new fine-dining establishment with the opening of Epic Restaurant & Lounge, tentatively planned for sometime in May.

The restaurant, lounge and event venue will be located in the old Joe’s Pagoda Chinese Restaurant location at 3223 Tower Ave., between Campbell Lumber & Supply and Grizzly’s Food-Fired Grill. Joe’s Pagoda owners, Joe and Sue Hear, retired in 2015 after 16 years in business.

Seasonal restaurants reopening in and around Duluth for 2016

IMG_8288Nothing signifies the emergence of spring quite like the reappearance of malts on the Duluth Lakewalk and the wafting scent of fried fare from seasonal burger joints. For those ready to indulge, here’s a rundown on seasonal restaurant re-openings.

Gordy’s Hi-Hat in Cloquet reopened on March 20, the first day of spring. The classic hamburger stand is a favorite among locals and a popular stop for Twin Cities travelers headed to cabins up north. The restaurant, now in it’s 56th season, is known for its hand-pattied burgers and onion rings, and was featured on Diners, Drive-ins and Dives. A&Dubs

A & Dubs, another nostalgic burger joint in Duluth’s West End, will reopen on Mother’s Day, May 8. The seasonal, family-run business at 3131 W. Third St. was founded in 1948 as Duluth’s first drive-in restaurant. A & Dubs holds a special place in the hearts of residents of western Duluth. It’s a remarkable relic; nowhere else in Duluth has ice-cold root beer and burger baskets delivered by carhops for in-vehicle consumption.

Ice cream aficionados will be pleased to know the Denfeld Dairy Queen and the PortLand Malt Shoppe are already serving up decadent desserts.