We’ve closed the Best Video of 2014 poll, and with an unusually low response that was all over the board, we’re calling it inconclusive. In hindsight, expecting people to watch all of the nominated videos is a lot to ask. We discussed trimming the list down even more, but felt that each of the videos there deserved to be considered.
A previous round of voting identified the top three albums by Duluth bands in 2014. Now it’s time to pick the award winner. Ire Wolves’ The Ascetic and Wolf Blood’s self-titled album can be listened to on Bandcamp. Red Mountain’s Scowl Lightly isn’t available for free listening in its entirety, but the single “Home” is on SoundCloud and there are videos for “Forestasia” and “Put Me Through.” Listen up, then pick your favorite.
What was the best local album of 2014?
This poll is now closed. The results are:
Red Mountain’s Scowl Lightly – 40.6 percent
Wolf Blood’s self titled debut – 34.4 percent
Ire Wolves The Ascetic – 25 percent
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.
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?
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
Since launching in May 2013, Bent Paddle Brewing has quickly become a dominant force in the region. The company seems to have everything right, from perfect beer to perfect packaging to perfect branding and distribution. From a 10,600-square-foot warehouse in Duluth’s Friendly West End, Bent Paddle already produces twice as many barrels of beer as any other local company — making it the most macro of the area’s microbreweries and brewpubs.
In the final round of Perfect Duluth Day’s poll, Bent Paddle went head-to-head with Fitger’s Brewhouse, a 19-year-old jauggernaut brewpub that supplies beer to five restaurants and a beer store owned by parent company Just Take Action. While the two companies have quite different operations and histories, both are well-known beyond Duluth for producing an array of outstanding craft brews. The nod to Bent Paddle, which amassed 60 percent of the vote, is perhaps due to its reach. Though the company is still fairly new, it’s beer is available in a majority of bar, restaurant and liquor stores in the Duluth market — and the territory has already begun to expand into the Twin Cities metro area.
We often have a nomination process for polls, but in this case it seems appropriate to just throw all the breweries into the running for our first round. We also typically rule out areas farther than 10 miles from Duluth city limits, but since the beer from more outlying areas makes it’s way to taps in Duluth, we broadened the range to include the north and south shores.
So now, without further ado, we ask …
What is the best brewery in the Duluth area?
This poll is now closed. Bent Paddle Brewing and Fitger’s Brewhouse were the top finishers and will advance to the final ballot.
A rash of new coffee joints have opened up in Duluth in recent years, but an old favorite was the clear winner in Perfect Duluth Day’s poll to name the best coffee shop. Beaner’s Central Concert Coffeehouse has been as much known for its live music and friendly vibe over the past 15 years as it has for the Alakef-roasted java blends served there daily. Not to mention the baked goods, soups, sandwiches, pizzas, random experimental breakfasts, beers, wines, art exhibitions, basement recording studio and whatever else the affable and eccentric owner and founder Jason Wussow decides to offer next. It’s no wonder Beaner’s dominated with 50 percent of the vote in the three-way race for Duluth’s coffee-shop crown.
It’s been a few months since we’ve done a poll on PDD, but we trust that with all the “Vote Duluth the best outdoor city in the galaxy or whatever” hype that most of you thought a break was for the better. Now it’s time to return to our quest to decide what the best city’s best things are.
Before we launch our poll to name the best coffee shop, we have to establish a list of nominees by asking you to rant in the comments. The ground rules are fairly simple:
As usual, the territory we are covering encompasses Duluth and anywhere within 10 miles of Duluth’s border — so coffee shops in Superior, Hermantown, Proctor and the various bordering townships all qualify; Two Harbors and Cloquet are out of bounds.
The criteria for what defines a coffee shop or what makes one “the best” is pretty open. Certain bakeries and restaurants kind of double as coffee shops, and that’s fine. Some places have a focus on live music or a kick-ass record collection, others sink a fortune into furniture or double as a place of worship. Feel free to consider those things along with the coffee itself, or don’t. In the end, voters will decide what’s important to the masses.
It’s fine to nominate a corporate giant like Starbucks, Caribou or Dunn Bros., but be specific if you do. Pick a particular location; don’t nominate the franchise as a whole.
Keep in mind that we are not issuing a challenge here to name every coffee shop that exists in the area. We’re just asking you to tell us which ones you think have a reasonable chance of winning a poll.
That’s about it. Make your thoughts known and we’ll launch the poll on Friday.