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Restaurants Posts

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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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.

Canal Park Timber Lodge Steakhouse won’t reopen

Canal Park Timber Lodge Steakhouse Timberlodge Steakhouse

After 20 years in business, the Timber Lodge Steakhouse in Canal Park is calling it quits. Bruce Taher, CEO of Timber Lodge’s parent company, Taher Inc., says he regrets having to make the decision. He hoped to close the restaurant for the winter and reopen it this spring, but a number of challenges precipitated the restaurant’s demise.

Perfect Duluth Easter Brunch?

So, being of a mindset that doesn’t lean particularly religious, the wife and I tend to sleep in on Easter Sunday. I had always been under the impression that Easter brunch was sort of a big thing, so a few years back we ventured out seeking a leisurely breakfast/lunch combo with bloodies and mimosas, only to discover all the usual downtown brunch suspects were closed!

We probably gave up a bit too early in our search since we ended up at the bar at Tycoons, but there were surprisingly few open places. To save me from that situation again, what does PDD suggest as the best place in the area to get a proper Easter brunch?

Not your typical cookbook review

IMG_1124

Once upon a time we stopped caring about where our food came from, and had no knowledge of the people who grew it. We stopped cooking, ate out of boxes, and tore cellophane wrappers off microwaved “TV dinners.” We even ate fast food meals in our cars without stepping foot outside. Sounds crazy, but it’s actually true! Americans across the socioeconomic spectrum came to rely solely upon international corporations to feed us, even though they’ve proven time and again that their only care is for profits.

Slowly, surely, relentlessly, we are waking up. There is another way. The Duluth Grill Cook Book II is the latest contribution toward our community’s drive to create a sustainable local food system. I lingered over a scratch-made pie and perused the book for a couple hours while taking in the atmosphere. Read my thoughts on Ed’s Big Adventure.

The Vintage Kitchen serves up cheap eats and antiques

Vintage Kitchen, photo by Lissa Maki

Ron Garatz and Wally Berg, owners of the Vintage Kitchen

A charming little diner in Duluth’s Endion neighborhood is serving up homestyle food on colorful, classic Formica tables. But what truly makes the Vintage Kitchen distinctive is that antique furnishings and décor are also on the menu.

Northern Waters restaurant open on Woodland Avenue

Northern Waters

Fans of all things cured and smoked will rejoice in knowing Northern Waters Smokehaus has opened its much-anticipated Woodland Avenue location in the Chester Park – UMD neighborhood. While the new restaurant offers some familiar lunch items from the Smokehaus, the menu is more expansive and includes alcoholic beverages.

Mon Historie d’Amour avec Mon Estomac (My Romance with My Stomach)

AndyBennet-SEI’m a Minnesotan in Paris. And I’m alone.

It’s not romantic. Paris with the one you love is romantic. Paris while you navigate the rain, the metro transit system, and a creative-writing residency class-load and its homework, is challenging and more than a little lonely. I’m one of the new kids here, and while I’ve made friends, it’s hard to step up to a circle and demand to know what we’re all doing tonight. I’m not built that way. I’m built for books and Netflix. I’m built for empty movie theaters and empty seats next to me on planes. I’m built for my wife. She is my co-conspirator and without her every experience feels drenched in a demi-glace of melancholy that mingles with the January mist and chills my bones.

JESUS. Chill out, Bennett. Someone’s been spending too much time talking imagery and not enough time eating.

And, since I’m in Paris, eating is a must. So I’m taking my stomach on a date. Instead of flowers, I will buy my stomach flour. We will take a long walk in the rain to a restaurant void of tourists, and the wine will flow. And, after a date like this, my stomach will totally put out.

Okay, I may have extended that metaphor too far. But, you know, that’s why I’m in school. To learn how to not make it sound like I expect my stomach to have sex with me.

Sunshine Café reopening after owner’s recovery from injury

Young-a and Steven Clement

Sunshine Café, a 30-year-old West Duluth restaurant known for its affordable, tasty breakfasts and cheery atmosphere, will reopen Thursday after a five-month hiatus.

Owners Young-a and Steven Clement closed their café at 5719 Grand Avenue in August when Steven fell two stories from a ladder while cleaning the gutters on his home. He was in intensive care for a month and has been recovering ever since. He fractured ribs and vertebrae, damaged the orbital bone in his eye and sustained a nasty head wound.

Best/Hottest Wings in Duluth and Superior

My friends and I are having a bit of a competition/pissing match. We’re having two side-by-side debates. Here are the questions: What are the best wings in the Twin Ports (and why)? Also, what are the hottest wings in the Twin Ports? This debate will culminate in a wing-off with the four of us, based on your suggestions, agreeing on the establishment and seeing who can make it through the hottest order of wings in the Twin Ports with the most grace and bravado. Thank you in advance for your suggestions.

Duluth ups its caffeination with opening of Grand World Coffee

Grand World Coffee exterior

West Duluth welcomed another neighborhood coffee shop on Jan. 4. Grand World Coffee opened in the former Subway sandwich shop space at 4918 Grand Ave., next to Vision-Pro Optical.