Restaurants Posts

Inefficient, Crazy and Utterly Delicious

admiring the gardens

Recently I was treated to a 90-minute interview with Tom Hanson in his office just off the kitchen of Duluth Grill, beyond the secret sauces and fresh ingredients. What I learned continues to blow my mind. The resulting column, accessible through the Duluth Budgeteer, barely scratches the surface in observing how he continues to utterly defy conventional wisdom. I quickly came to the conclusion that if he were the CEO of any large corporation he would have been given his walking papers years ago. Happily, it ain’t so, and we’re left with one of the Duluthiest establishments in town.

You can view an expanded version with numerous photos on Ed’s Big Adventure.

Iron Range restaurant reviewed in New York Times

Seared salmonMr. Roberts Restaurant and Resort in Pengilly will be featured in this Sunday’s edition of the New York Times. Duluth-based writer Robert Lillegard reviews the “surprising new flavors” chef Sarah Master has brought to the lakeside eatery. The article was published online today:

In Minnesota’s Iron Range, Midwestern with a modern twist

Master is a Pengilly native who left her position as executive chef at Minneapolis’ Café Barbette to form a business partnership with Dan Beckwith, opening their restaurant and resort in early June.

Toasty’s is coming to Downtown

Walking along Superior Street today I noticed several Toasty’s menus conspicuously leaning in the window of the former Farley’s (among others) location.

A quick Facebook search reveals a post which includes:

“Here is a sneak peek of Toasty’s Sandwich Shop.  Located downtown on Superior Street.  Scheduled to open Fall of 2015”

Will Toasty’s succeed where so many others have failed?  Is the location in fact cursed?  What caused the most recent downfall of Farley’s?  Discuss!

Duluth named a top city for foodies by Livability.com

DSC05565A cool story crossed news desks yesterday. Duluth is once again on the national radar as a very special place. Last year Outside magazine gave us kudos. Now it’s Livability.com. Here are the details.

Sclavi’s is on the ropes again


Sclavi’s Italian Restaurant in Superior is threatening to close for what would be the third time.

“We are in need of your patronage, immediately,” the restaurant’s Facebook page noted yesterday. “We are close to closing our doors permanently. This is rock bottom.”

Jefferson People’s House closing July 12

Jefferson People's HouseJefferson People’s House will close July 12, according to an announcement on the Facebook page of the worker-owned cafe, bookstore and social-justice community spot that specialized in coffee and toast.

It’s the fourth piece of coffee-shop related news in recent weeks. Jitter’s has changed ownership and become Lake Superior Bakehouse, Vietnamese Lotus Inn has reopened as VN Coffee House and Cookie Temptations has opened a coffee shop in the Fitger’s Brewery Complex.

Jefferson People’s House is located in a storefront just below Anytime Fitness on the corner of 15th Avenue East and Jefferson Street in Duluth’s Endion neighborhood.

Below is the Facebook message to customers:

Dear Cherished Community,

June 1st, 2014, we started a venture that has involved love, affection, fierce dedication, and cooperative exuberance. Jefferson People’s House has seen a year of delicious toasts and community growth. We rode this train until the tracks ran out. Our team has simultaneously discovered new opportunities and have decided as a collective to dissolve Jefferson People’s House to put our energies into new, exciting projects. We have loved our time together, and it is bittersweet that we leave this adventure. Our official closing date is July 12. In the meantime, we will be open regular hours (barring July 3-5.) Keep an eye out for our closing weekend events, July 10th and 11th. Our Flowers and Coffee CSA will continue as planned through October.

Much love and solidarity, Jefferson People’s House

Vietnamese Lotus Inn is back … as VN Coffeehouse

Steve and Cuc Allen 2015

On Feb. 2, 2013, the Vietnamese Lotus Inn planned to close its doors for good. A little over two years later, owners Steve and Cuc Allen have reopened with a new name, VN Coffeehouse.

Catering Recommendation in the Twin Cities

Daily I am reminded of the charmed life I once lived in Duluth. The most recent pain comes in needing to identify a few restaurants or catering companies I could collaborate with on a fundraising event my employer is sponsoring in September.

Back in Duluth, this would have been a wonderful experience as I would simply visit with some friends or mutual acquaintances to find the right partner. Not so with this endeavor. So with that, I am reaching out to the “best of the best” here on PDD: if any of you have a CATERING recommendation for me [ST PAUL, MSP] and could provide a soft introduction, that would be very helpful. I’m not holding out for free food, I’m just interested in creating a partnership and want to engage an honest, service-minded owner. Feel free to email me directly: bbertsch at crchealth dot com.

Goodbye Jitters, hello Bakehouse

Lake Superior Bakehouse

Lake Superior Bakehouse Bakery and Coffee HouseJitters Lake Superior Coffee & Tea House is no more. New sister-brother owners Katina and Pauly Petsoulis took over in February and launched a name change last weekend. The new Lake Superior Bakehouse at 102 W. Superior St. promises “small-batch baked goods all from scratch and small-batch house-roasted coffees.”

Although the look of the space is changing and the variety of baked goods and other foods expanding, Katina notes one thing will stay the same.

“A lot of Jitters regulars were loyal to the coffee,” she said. “We have the same roaster, Jesse Bamford.”

Duluth Food Truck, Cart and Trailer Guide for 2015

PDD Food Truck Guide 2015

As Duluth residents and tourists head outdoors, it’s time for the food trucks, carts and trailers to hit the streets, offering up fast and easy food on the run. To keep up with these restaurants on wheels, we present PDD’s 2015 rundown of who’s cooking what and where.

Listed below are the mobile food services licensed to operate on the streets of Duluth. Not listed are the various vendors who serve exclusively at events or specific locations, such as the Green Mill pizza trailer or various purveyors of mini donuts. Also, we should note Duluth has at least one pop-up restaurant — Izakaya 218 — which recently resumed its weekly Taco Tuesdays at the Red Herring Lounge.

Northern Waters Smokehaus will open Woodland location

Northern Waters Smokehaus announced today a second location will open in the Mount Royal Shopping Center in Duluth’s Woodland neighborhood, near the UMD campus. The space at 1608 Woodland Ave. was previously occupied by Bixby’s Café, which operated there from 1997 to the end of 2014.

northern waters smokehaus crew
Smokehaus announcement

Founded in 1998, Northern Waters specializes in smoked fish. Its tiny shop in the DeWitt-Seitz Marketplace has won numerous awards over the years, including PDD’s Perfect Lunch Restaurant. The new location at Mount Royal is expected to open in the fall.

Jade Fountain purchased by owner of neighboring restaurant

Jade Fountain

Bill KalligherBill Kalligher has been owner of Gannucci’s Italian Market for four years. During that time the three-decades old West Duluth eatery expanded in both size and scope, and in October was featured on the cable television show Diners, Drive-in and Dives. Last week Kalligher expanded his holdings by acquiring one of the area’s oldest restaurants, Jade Fountain.

Located at 305 N. Central Ave., two doors down from Gannucci’s, Jade Fountain has been a staple in West Duluth since George Wong opened it in 1968. Wong sold it in 1997 to Sick Cheung Lee, who had just immigrated to the United States. Lee died in November and his widow Kwok Chun Mak was looking to sell.

Popular Minneapolis chef will open resort restaurant in Pengilly

Sarah MasterSarah Master has announced she will leave her position as executive chef at Minneapolis’ Café Barbette to open a restaurant and resort 75 miles outside of Duluth in the Iron Range city of Penguilly. Her partner in the venture is Dan Beckwith, who had been working as the financial controller of Bryant-Lake Company.

Mr. Roberts Resort is expected to open on June 1 at 28179 East Shore Drive. A news release announcing the plans refers to it as “a unique combination of a full-service restaurant, bar, cabins and RV sites, all situated in a bucolic setting on Swan Lake in Northern Minnesota.”

Thirsty Pagan’s Allyson Rolph profiled in The Growler

Allyson Rolph photo by Growler MagazineAllyson Rolph, head brewer at Thirsty Pagan Brewing in Superior, discusses spruce tips, Lake Superior, her pathway into a male-dominated field and just about everything else in the latest issue of Minnesota’s craft-beer lifestyle magazine, The Growler.

Article: Allyson Rolph brews Wisconsin, lives Minnesota, wins all day

PDD News Sieve: King of Creams, Tycoons, Sala Thai

The King of CreamsCourtland Powe, owner of the Duluth ice cream truck and cruisin’ kitchen called the King of Creams, has announced a restaurant of the same name will open in the Central Hillside at 502 E. Fourth St. this Saturday, March 14. The storefront had previously served as a Quiznos sandwich shop, and is better known as one of Duluth’s four former Jim’s Hamburgers locations. The new fast-casual restaurant will feature a menu that includes cheese-steak sandwiches, burgers, deep-fried pickles, malts and hand-scooped ice cream. Grand opening events will be held March 14 and 15, with all menu items at half price. Regular hours will be 10:30 a.m. to 7 p.m., seven days a week.

Tycoons vs Slippery NoodleTycoons Alehouse is in PreservationNation’s online competition to determine America’s favorite historic watering hole. The Historic Bars Tournament has tapped 32 historic drinkeries to compete against one another in an NCAA Tournament-style, single-elimination format. Each week the blog will serve another round of pairings where readers will vote for their favorite inns and alehouses. When the matchups run dry on April 3, only one bar will claim the top shelf. Voting for each round will last one week and close every Friday morning at 7 a.m. Once each round is complete, the bracket will be updated with vote counts and winners.

Sumlee BeedeThe Duluth News Tribune reported on Monday that Sumlee Beede is moving her Sala Thai restaurant from Woodland Avenue to Downtown Duluth. “Beede is buying the two-story brick building at 114 W. First St. where she started in the restaurant business in 1999,” the story notes. “That year, she opened Thai Krathong, which developed a loyal following for its authentic Thai food. After she sold the business, it moved to Canal Park and closed in 2013.” The move would displace the Giant Panda restaurant, and could result in legal action to execute the eviction. According to the DNT, a court hearing on the matter is scheduled for next week. Sala Thai is Duluth’s only Thai restaurant. Beede plans to close the Woodland location on March 26 and open the downtown location in April.