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.
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.
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 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
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.
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 …
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.
The May 11 fire that destroyed the processing area of Russ Kendall’s Smokehouse in Knife River didn’t do much damage to the adjoining bar area, but nonetheless I thought I’d share some pre-fire snapshots I took of it in the fall of 2012, before it got “smoked” … so to speak. (The shot above is obviously of the fire, taken from the smokehouse’s Facebook page.)
Formerly Chet’s (corner store), formally 8th Street Video on 9th (Steve’s), formally 8th Street Video on 9th (mainstream), formally Mean Beans Espresso & Creams is now looking to be something called Toasty’s. Does anyone know what this new venture will reveal itself to be? Will it be a toast joint? It’s a thing I guess.
In a world where people, food and information are treated like commodities, a new worker-owned cooperative wants to turn them back into things that build local connections. After many years of people wanting a radical bookstore/café and a progressive community incubator in Duluth, we’ve come together to start the Jefferson People’s House, a democratic worker-owned, collectively managed space.
The motto: Coffee – Books – Social Justice – Toast