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Restaurants Posts

Perfect New Restaurant: The Spirit Room

PDD-New-Restaurant-Award-Logo-2014Sometimes less is more.

The Spirit Room, a 1,000-square-foot drinking establishment with a tapas menu featuring just a dozen items, came out on top in Perfect Duluth Day’s poll to name the area’s best new restaurant. Tavern on the Hill, a full-menu eatery with literally 10 times the square footage of the Spirit Room, placed a distant second.

whitefish-cake Spirit Room - Moscow Mule Spirit-Room-Wine

The Spirit Room opened in June on the first floor of the Trade and Commerce Marketplace in Superior’s North End. The small, savory dishes on the menu — such as spicy beef skewers, seared scallops and a simple cheese-and-olive plate — have garnered raves, though the focus of owner Jeff Heller and manager Lindsey Graskey was chiefly to create an elegant place for to people to gather after work and sip on fine spirits.

Poll: Best New Restaurant (Final Round)

Best New Restaurants 2014

Sixteen eateries went up against each other in the elimination round of Perfect Duluth Day’s poll to name the area’s best new restaurant. The top three have made it to the final round: Shorty’s Pizza and Smoked Meat, Spirit Room Tapas Bar & Restaurant and Tavern on the Hill. So once again we ask …

What is the best new restaurant in the Duluth area?

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This poll is closed. The results were:

The Spirit Room – 52.6 percent
Tavern on the Hill – 26.9 percent
Shorty’s Pizza and Smoked Meat – 20.5 percent

Poll: Best New Restaurant (Elimination Round)

The vital task of naming the best new restaurant in the Duluth area begins with this elimination round of voting. Choose your favorite among the 16 options below; the top vote getters will move on to the final round.

What is the best new restaurant in the Duluth area?

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This poll is now closed. Three restaurants will advance to the final ballot:

Shorty’s Pizza and Smoked Meat
Spirit Room Tapas Bar & Restaurant
Tavern on the Hill

We need a newer best new restaurant

It was getting close to the time when we’d need to do this poll anyway, but since the owners of the reigning Perfect New Restaurant, Pak’s Green Corner, have sold their building and will cease operations this week, the time is now to choose a newer best new restaurant.

Before we open the voting, of course, we have to establish a list of nominees. What qualifies as a new restaurant? Well, these have all opened in the past two years:

Dickey’s Barbecue Pit (Oct. 2014)
Izzy’s BBQ Lounge & Grill (Aug. 2014)
Tavern on the Hill (August 2014)
Iron Mug Coffeehouse (July 2014)
Endion Station Public House (July 2014)
Qdoba Mexican Grill (July 2014)
Miller Hill Chipotle (June 2014)
Spirit Room Tapas Bar & Restaurant (June 2014)
Cloud 9 Asian Bistro (June 2014)
Farley’s Grill (April 2014)
Shorty’s Pizza and Smoked Meat (Aug. 2013)
Citys 58th Street Diner (June 2013)

What territory are we talking about? Anything in Duluth or 10 miles of its border — so new restaurants in Superior, Hermantown, Proctor and the various bordering townships all qualify; Two Harbors and Cloquet are out of bounds.

Are there any good nominees we didn’t think to include in the list above?

Izzy’s BBQ Lounge & Grill in Superior

Izzy's Exterior Izzy's Philly Izzy's Bar

It’s been two months since Izzy Turner opened his new restaurant in the former Whiskey Ward / Shenanigan’s / J.T.’s / Johnny’s Bar location, 1506 North Third St. in Superior. Does anyone have any thoughts to share about Izzy’s BBQ Lounge & Grill?

Ten Years Ago: The End of Salsafication in Duluth

ChiChi

On this date in history — Sept. 19, 2004 — Chi-Chi’s Mexican Restaurante in Duluth closed following corporate bankruptcy. It had been located in the Fitger’s Brewery Complex for 20 years. Baja Billy’s Cantina and Grill replaced it in 2005, but closed four years later. Mexico Lindo opened in April 2010 and remains there today.

Toasty’s on East Ninth now open

ToastysNight_MG_9732

The sign on the building has been up since last Spring, and now Toasty’s is open.

Hours: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily
Address: 1032 E. Ninth St.
Owners: Rachael and Tom Hagen

Iron Mug Coffee House in Morgan Park

There is a new coffee shop, deli and pizza place in Duluth’s Morgan Park neighborhood — and it also happens to be the only coffee shop or restaurant of any kind in that neighborhood.

Iron Mug opened on July 30 in the old Lakeview Store building, which was constructed in 1916 to serve as one of the first indoor shopping malls in the United States. The building once housed a grocery store and post office, among other things. The largest major tenant in recent years was Advantage Emblem & Screen Printing, which was located in the building from about 1991 to 2008, before moving to the corner of Haines and Arrowhead roads, near the airport.

Some Iron Mug facts:

  • Owned by: Felisha and Brandon Johnson
  • Address: 1096 88th Ave. W.
  • Phone: 218-464-5408
  • Coffee served: Backroads brand from Hayward
  • Hours: Open seven days a week, from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m.

The Swamp Sisters of Saginaw

About a half-hour drive northwest of Duluth, in the unincorporated community of Saginaw, Swamp Sisters summer restaurant kicks out breakfast and lunch grub to fleets of mostly white-haired patrons who fill the gravel driveway with their cars and assisted-living-community shuttle vans. It’s open for about two months each year, on Fridays and Saturdays only, from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., on the swampy old Armstrong farmstead. And all of that, of course, makes this place awesome.

A Dozen Excuses Donuts on Tower Avenue

A Dozen Excuses opened on Wednesday, serving donuts, coffee, sandwiches, coney dogs, etc. at 1112 Tower Ave., in the Still-point Building next to the Palace Bar in Superior. It’s the former location of Northwoods Guitar.

  • Open 6 a.m. to 2 p.m., Monday through Saturday;
    8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sunday
  • Phone: 218-409-2525
  • Owners: Melissa Hyatt and Cliff Lindberg
  • Baker: Joe Dougherty

Guy Fieri in West Duluth and Superior

Guy Fieri is back in town shooting for future episodes of the Food Network’s Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives. So far he’s been to Gannucci’s Italian Market and Pak’s Green Corner in West Duluth, and Shorty’s Pizza & Smoked Meats and the Kounty Quarthouse in Superior.

Endion Station Public House opening soon

Endion Station Public House is opening July 25. It will serve pulled-meat sandwiches and Brewhouse beer in the historic train depot on the Lakewalk, and there are plans for live music on the patio.

Spirit Room Tapas Bar & Restaurant is open

Spirit Room Tapas Bar & Restaurant opened on Monday in the Trade and Commerce Marketplace in Superior. It’s a classy joint, from the tapas on down to the intricate details in the mural. Check out the menu …

New food truck: The Happy Wanderer

The Happy Wanderer is a food truck that will soon be hitting the streets of Duluth selling specialty egg rolls. To learn more visit the Kickstarter page.

Cloud 9 Asian Bistro is open

Cloud 9 Asian Bistro opened on Monday in the Canal Park spot formerally occupied by Thia Krathong — 308 S. Lake Ave. It’s owned by the Wang family, the same folks behind the Duluth Osaka Sushi Hibachi Steakhouse in the Burning Tree Plaza. If last night was any indication, Cloud 9 a very quiet place to eat, and the food is excellent.