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Category: Restaurants

Jolly Fisher: “If it swims, we have it.” »

Jolly Fisher is one of Duluth’s best-remembered old restaurants. It was in business for 50 years, from 1942 to 1992. The original location was at 15 E. Superior St., where the Duluth Technology Village sits today. After 1979 it was at 10 W. Superior St., presently the Minnesota Power Plaza.

Jumbo fried shrimp was the specialty, but as the slogan noted, Jolly Fisher had everything that swims. Chet and Mary Turnbull were the original owners, followed by Paul Andrews. “Skipper Andy” and Gloria Maras ran it for its last 30 years, until competition from Red Lobster proved to be too much.
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Fish fry Fridays??? »

I see Tycoons has a new Friday Fish Fry. What are the other Fish Fry Fridays in the Duluth / Superior / South Shore / North Shore area? I’m willing to drive a while if the fish is good … any suggestions?

Duluth Grill on Diners, Drive-ins and Dives »

Duluth Grill - Diners, Drive-ins and Dives



Duluth Grill
was featured on the Food Network’s Diners, Drive-ins and Dives program back in 2010. The segment has finally made it to the Internet. So here is host Guy Fieri sampling the grass-fed bison pot roast that made the West End famous.

20th Anniversary of Chinese Lantern fire »


(Duluth News Tribune photo of Jan. 16, 1994, Chinese Lantern fire)

It’s the 20th anniversary of the fire that closed the old Chinese Lantern.
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Best … er, any fried chicken in Duluth? »

Where can you get a good fried-chicken dinner in Duluth and/or the surrounding area? I’m not referring to KFC, or any take-home places, but a sit-down restaurant that serves fried-chicken diner that’s fresh and hot and doesn’t get cold by taking it into the house from the car during our cold winters. I’ve been searching and I’ve come up with nothing, I even found a post here that’s from a month shy of a year ago:

Best Fried Chicken in Duluth

However, the closest thing listed, Sammy’s, only has wings now, (which are great), but is not a real fried (or broasted) chicken dinner, no matter how many you eat. Cassidy’s down in Hinckley had a decent one, but last time I was there they no longer serve it and vaguely said they might bring it back at times. It seemed more commonplace when I was a kid, but no one seems to have a good fried-chicken dinner anymore, at least around here, because I see them all the time on Diners, Drive-ins and Dives. Fresh batch of suggestions welcome!

Perfect Pizza Restaurant: Thirsty Pagan »

For half a century, Sammy’s Pizza dominated the local Italian pie scene with its trademark thin crust and tasty sauce. Pizza Lucé came along in 2001 and shook things up with unusual toppings and a funky vibe. These days, however, Thirsty Pagan Brewing has won over pizza connoisseurs in the Twin Ports with its deep-dish pies, loaded with Wisconsin cheese. The TPB was the clear winner in PDD’s best pizza restaurant poll.
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Perfect Burger Restaurant: Anchor Bar »

There is no shortage of great burger joints in the Duluth area, but the undisputed king of them all for the past three decades has been the Anchor Bar. Among the other dozen nominees in Perfect Duluth Day’s poll, only the Fitger’s Brewhouse pulled a significant chunk of the vote. When the two went head to head, the Anchor took 61 percent, and the Brewhouse took 39.
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Chipotle and Qdoba coming to Duluth »


Chipotle Mexican Grill | Qdoba Mexican Grill

Apparently it’s really happening.

  • Chipotle will open at Miller Hill Mall.
  • Qdoba has announced it’s coming, but not when or where.
  • Big Burrito will be locating in the BlueStone Lofts area by UMD, according to the Statesman.

Update: The UMD Statesman report seems to have been in error. Numerous other sources have reported it is Qdoba that is locating in Bluestone Commons. Both Qdoba and Chipolte are expected to open in summer 2014.

So here’s one more post where folks can comment about how having chain burrito joints come to Duluth either completely fulfills us as people and as a city, or how everyone who gets excited about it is some kind of rube. Get it all out of your system now, if you haven’t already on Facebook.

Duluth News Tribune: Chipotle, Qdoba restaurant chains plan to open locations in Duluth
Fox 21 News: Qdoba and Chipotle both coming to Duluth
Eyewitness News: “Two burrito chains coming to Duluth
Northland’s NewsCenter: Chipotle to open at Miller Hill Mall in March of 2014

Perfect Asian Restaurant: Hanabi Japanese Cuisine »

Duluth was a late adopter to sushi. Although sumptuous vinegared rice rolls showed up as a special menu item at a few places around town in prior decades, it wasn’t until 2006 that Zen House opened on the city’s border, technically in Hermantown, and became the first consistent, daily sushi source. Zen House added a second location in Downtown Duluth in 2009, but Hanabi Japanese Cuisine opened at the start of 2010, immediately becoming Duluth’s sushi king. It’s also the best Asian restaurant in town, having garnered 36.6 percent of the vote in Perfect Duluth Day’s poll.
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Perfect Vegetarian Menu: Duluth Grill »

Duluth doesn’t have an exclusively vegetarian restaurant, but there are a number of places that go out of their way to cater to the non-carniverous. Among them, At Sara’s Table / Chester Creek Café and Duluth Grill stood out in Perfect Duluth Day’s polling, and in the head-to-head matchup Duluth Grill came out on top with 64.2 percent of the vote. It is Duluth’s best restaurant among vegetarians.

This is Duluth Grill’s second PDD Award, having already been named Best Breakfast Restaurant, so we’re recycling the same photo of owner Tom Hanson from the previous plaque presentation.

Rather than repeat information from the breakfast post, we instead present this new three-minute video by Dudley Edmondson featuring Hanson discussing his commitment to utilizing fresh, organic and local food suppliers.

PDD Awards Index

Perfect Mexican Restaurant: Mexico Lindo »

Duluthians complain about their Mexican restaurants almost as much as they complain about the weather. The cuisinal affective disorder is prevalent enough that Perfect Duluth Day was compelled to include a “none are worthy” option in its poll to determine the best Mexican restaurant. When the voting was complete, however, one enterprise was worthy: Mexico Lindo.

Owners Felipe Mata and Pedro Aranda opened Mexico Lindo on the top floor of the Fitger’s Brewing Complex in 2010. Duluthians had high expectations, based on the reputation of the Mexico Lindo that opened five years earlier in downtown Cloquet. Though some have never stopped squawking that the food and service at the Duluth location is inferior to that in Cloquet, those in the voting majority just cram a Burrito Cancun in their yaps, let the Oaxaca cheese drip down their chins and wonder what the griping is about.
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Perfect Italian Restaurant: Va Bene Caffé »

Mary Kay and Jim Berarducci run a tiny Italian restaurant overlooking a massive lake. The combination of cozy atmosphere, magnificent view and delicious cuisine is no accident; “va bene” is Italian for “it goes well.” Readers of Perfect Duluth Day agree it does, indeed, go well. In a poll they chose Va Bene Caffé as Duluth’s best Italian restaurant.

The menu includes antipasta appetizers, pizza, panini, gnocchi, pasta, fish, steak, soups and salads. Many items, such as the sauces, dressings and breads, are made from scratch with imported Italian products.
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Restaurants not honoring advertised prices »

Twice in the past week I have gone to local Duluth restaurants due to specials I have seen posted on their websites or on Twin Ports Nightlife only to be told once I got to the restaurant that they were no longer honoring that price. When I explained that I specifically made the trip to that restaurant to get the advertised special, servers at both places have acted annoyed and refused to honor the price. No apologies, no offering to give me the discount since it is their mistake, nothing.
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Vote for the best pizza, burger, Asian, vegetarian, Mexican and Italian restaurants »

In the top four categories below, an elimination round was held to determine the finalists. In the last two, the number of nominees was short enough to skip an elimination round.

Which restaurant serves the best pizza?

This poll is closed. The results were:

Thirsty Pagan Brewing — 45.9 percent
Pizza Lucé — 24.7 percent
Sammy”s Pizza — 17.6 percent
Vintage Italian Pizza — 11.8 percent

Which restaurant serves the best burgers?

This poll is closed. The results were:

Anchor Bar — 61.3 percent
Fitger’s Brewhouse — 38.7 percent

Which restaurant serves the best Asian food?

This poll is closed. The results were:

Hanabi Japanese Cuisine — 36.6 percent
Pak’s Green Corner — 25.4 percent
Taste of Saigon — 22.5 percent
Sala Thai Restaurant — 15.5 percent

Which restaurant has the best vegetarian food?

This poll is closed. The results were:

Duluth Grill — 64.3 percent
At Sara’s Table / Chester Creek Café — 35.7 percent

Which restaurant serves the best Mexican food?

This poll is closed. The results were:

Mexico Lindo — 29.5 percent
None are worthy — 25.6 percent
Azteca’s Mexican Grill — 19.2 percent
Guadalajara Mexican Restaurant — 14.1 percent
Little Angie’s Cantina and Grill — 6.4 percent
Maya Family Mexican Restaurant — 5.1 percent

Which restaurant serves the best Italian food?

This poll is closed. The results were:

Va Bene Caffé — 40 percent
Bellisio’s Italian Restaurant and Wine Bar — 18.8 percent
Valentini’s Vicino Lago — 18.8 percent
Gannucci’s Italian Market — 17.6 percent
Green Mill — 4.7 percent

Poll: Best Restaurant for Vegetarians »

There are no strictly vegetarian restaurants in the Duluth area, but there are a few that go out of their way to provide good vegetarian options on their menus. Which ones are the best? That’s for you to decide. So we ask …

What is the best Duluth-area restaurant for vegetarians?

This poll is now closed. The restaurants advancing to the final round are At Sara’s Table / Chester Creek Café and Duluth Grill.

Before Big Daddy’s Burgers … »

I’ve been to Big Daddy’s Burgers in Piedmont a couple of times and liked it, I need to go again sometime. However, I have a memory of another diner, an even smaller one, just next door to Big Daddy’s, (to the left at the end of the building). When I was kid, likely in the mid-to-late 1980s, my Grandma took me there when we were visiting my Great Grandma at Viewcrest nursing home. I may have only been there once, maybe twice, but it made an impression, mostly due to it’s size, it was the very definition of a hole-in-the-wall diner. There was a lunch counter that ran most of the length of it, the cook made the food right behind it, I don’t think there were even any tables, just the counter since it was so small.

Does anyone remember this place, the name, and I know this is stretching it, but perhaps pictures? It’s just one of those childhood memories that has stuck with me, and I’d love a little history? Thanks in advance!

Poll: Best Asian Food in the Duluth Area »

The nominations are in; now it’s time to pick the finalists.

Which restaurant serves the best Asian food?

This poll is now closed. The restaurants advancing to the final round are Hanabi Japanese Cuisine, Pak’s Green Corner, Taste of Saigon and Sala Thai.

Poll: Best Burgers in the Duluth Area »

Let the elimination round begin.

Which restaurant serves the best burgers?

This poll is now closed. The restaurants advancing to the final round are the Anchor Bar and Fitger’s Brewhouse.

Poll: Best Pizza in the Duluth Area »

The nominations are in, and it’s time to whittle down the options. So we ask …

Who makes the best pizza?

This poll is now closed. The restaurants advancing to the final round are Pizza Lucé, Sammy’s Pizza, Thirsty Pagan Brewing and Vintage Italian Pizza.

Perfect Lunch Restaurant: Northern Waters Smokehaus »

When it comes to lunch in Duluth, the sandwich is king. Not one pizza place, burger joint or Asian restaurant managed to crack the top four in Perfect Duluth Day’s poll to determine the best lunch restaurants. Furthermore, the place with the best sandwiches in town, Northern Waters Smokehaus, smoked the competition. A solid majority of 55.4 percent of voters agreed Northern Waters is the best mid-day meal around.

Clearly the deliciousness is no secret — there’s almost always a noon-hour line at Northern Waters.


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