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Polls Posts

Perfect North Shore Restaurant: Gunflint Tavern

PDD-North-Shore-Restaurant-AwardLogoOne conclusion can be easily drawn from the results of Perfect Duluth Day’s poll to name the best restaurant on Lake Superior’s North Shore: Grand Marais is the place to be. The top three restaurants are located there, including the perfect one, Gunflint Tavern.

Owner Jeff Gecas says it hasn’t always been easy. He and his wife Susan are “Deadheads” who decided to create the business “almost selfishly” in 1998 because there wasn’t anywhere to watch live music and drink microbrews on draft in Grand Marais. “We never had Bud or Miller Lite. We didn’t allow smoking. People said ‘They’ll never make it,'” Gecas remembers. “We’re now in our 19th year.”

Upending convention, the Tavern now offers music 260 nights a year and brews its own beer. With its eclectic menu, craft beer and live music several nights of the week, it has become a North Shore institution and a favorite among locals and tourists alike.

In an outpost like Grand Marais, one might be surprised to find bangers and mash, chicken mole and an Asian noodle bowl under the same roof. Casual fare like burgers and pizzas are available at the Gunflint Tavern too, as are finer dining options such as walleye, steak and mushroom ravioli.

Poll: Best Restaurant on the North Shore

north shore fork spoonLast week we compiled a list of nominees for the best restaurant on the North Shore of Lake Superior. The specific territory: Knife River to Grand Portage — basically anything in Lake or Cook counties was eligible for nomination.

Obviously several Duluth-area restaurants are technically “on the North Shore” — in particular the winner of PDD’s Perfect Restaurant Poll: New Scenic Café. For this poll we’re looking at places that are, at the very least, a serious bike ride from the Zenith City.

What’s the Perfect North Shore Restaurant? Vote now and have a say. Keep in mind that this is a runoff poll, so as time goes by the number of options will reduce. If the restaurant you initially voted for is eliminated, you may vote again among the remaining options.

We started with 27 nominees, then whittled it down to the Final Four: Angry Trout Café, the Crooked Spoon, Gunflint Tavern and Vanilla Bean.

This poll is now closed. The results were:

Gunflint Tavern – 35 percent
Angry Trout – 26 percent
Crooked Spoon – 22 percent
Vanilla Bean – 17 percent

Nominees for Perfect North Shore Restaurant Poll

north shore fork spoonWarm weather and wanderlust have Duluthians dreaming of a North Shore vacation. In this spirit, we’ve decided to conduct a poll to determine the best place to eat up the shore.

Before voting, we have to establish a list of nominees. What are the criteria for determining a North Shore Restaurant? After some debate, we’ve decided to include eateries on the shore located in Lake and Cook counties, from Knife River in the south to Grand Portage in the north.

While it might seem counterintuitive to some, this means the New Scenic Café is not included in the poll, since it is located in Duluth Township. It’s abundantly clear the Scenic is a favored restaurant; the café won PDD’s Perfect Restaurant Poll and has drawn accolades from foodies farther afield. For the purposes of this poll, we’re looking for restaurants that require a little more of an excursion from Duluth.

What’s the perfect North Shore restaurant (besides the New Scenic Café)? You tell us. We’ll round up the nominees and produce a poll in the coming days.

Perfect New Restaurant: Northern Waters Restaurant

PDDPerfectNewRestaurant2016It’s no surprise Northern Waters Restaurant crushed Perfect Duluth Day’s best new restaurant poll. The eagerly anticipated eatery just opened in February, but has swiftly won the admiration and bellies of Twin Ports residents, as evidenced by garnering 67 percent of the vote.

Manager Greg Conley with staff at Northern Waters

Manager Greg Conley with staff at Northern Waters

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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This poll is now closed. The results will be published later today.

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)

Who won Homegrown 2016?

Happy Homegrown Meth BongThe final applause of the 2016 Homegrown Music Festival is now in the history books. Which band “won” the festival? Each year PDD polls its readership and asks that very question. Because art is useless if it isn’t vain and competitive, right?

How does one “win” a music festival? Is it about musicianship? Is it about showmanship and antics? Is it about pretty hairstyles and flamboyant fashions? Yes.

The poll is now closed. Here are the results:

Medical Underground – 16.8 percent
Red Mountain – 12.3 percent
The Social Disaster – 11.2 percent
Bratwurst – 10 percent
A Band Called Truman – 7.8 percent
Various other bands – 41.9 percent

Map of the Day: Duluth’s Canal Parking

Canal Park Map

After a ridiculously warm weekend, it seems like spring has arrived early. Before you know it, thousands of Minneapolis-types like myself will be driving up Interstate 35 to the cool shores of Gitche Gumee.

Since its post-industrial low point a few decades ago, Duluth has built Canal Park into one of the top-drawing tourist spots in the state. It’s definitely a great place, but I continue to be amazed by how much prime Canal Park real estate is occupied by pavement for storing cars. After a visit last fall, I made this map and found there are 21 acres of surface parking in Canal Park.

Perfect Indoor Concert Venue: Red Herring Lounge

PDDPerfectIndoorConcertVenueLogoWhen it comes to picking the best indoor concert venue, there are a lot of things to consider — seating, acoustics, general vibe, etc. There might be plenty of room for argument on just about any criteria, but in one facet Duluth has a clear winner. It would be tough to dispute that any local concert hall, club or coffee house has consistently brought more high-caliber talent to its stage in the past two years than the Red Herring Lounge. Among the top four in PDD’s poll, the Herring pulled out a clean win with 35 percent of the vote.

Poll: What is the Duluth area’s best indoor concert venue?

Last summer a PDD poll determined Bayfront Festival Park is the region’s best outdoor concert venue. Now, in the dead of winter, it’s time to determine the best indoor concert venue. From large arenas to tiny little barrooms and coffee joints — what is the best place for live music in the Twin Ports?

This poll is now closed. The results were:

Red Herring Lounge – 35 percent
Sacred Heart Music Center – 26 percent
Clyde Iron Works – 21 percent
R.T. Quinlan’s – 18 percent

Poll: Best Play or Musical of 2015

Plays of 2015

Which Duluth-area theater production made your little Greek mask laugh or weep the most last year?

This poll has closed. The results were:

Renegade Theater Company’s Eastland – 44 percent
Duluth Playhouse Children’s Theatre’s Shrek – 31 percent
Duluth Playhouse’s Mary Poppins – 25 percent

Poll: Best Album of 2015

Ten Best Albums of 2015

There were a lot of potential nominees, so we used a runoff ballot. The options with the fewest votes slowly dropped out of the poll as the days went by, until it got down to the final four.

What was the best local album of 2015?

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This poll is now closed. The results were:

Low’s Ones and Sixes – 34 percent
The Social Disaster’s Dark Side of the Roller Rink – 31 percent
Charlie Parr’s Stumpjumper – 19 percent
Mary Bue’s Holy Bones – 16 percent

Perfect Outdoor Concert Venue: Bayfront Festival Park

PDDPerfectOutdoorConcertVenueLogoDuluthians aren’t shy about loving Bayfront Park. Asked in PDD’s poll to name the best outdoor concert venue, 71.5 percent gave their nod to the 10-acre harbor-side multi-purpose park that has hosted Bob Dylan, Paul Simon, Trampled by Turtles, Wilco, the Monkees, the Doobie Brothers, Willie Nelson, Steve Martin, nearly three decades of Bayfront Blues Festivals and a long list of others.

The Minneapolis Star Tribune also named Bayfront the state’s “Best Outdoor Music Venue” in 2014, noting: “It has the Aerial Lift Bridge, hilly city skyline and occasional passing ore boat for a backdrop, the cool breeze off Lake Superior for natural air-conditioning and a huge grassy lawn for stretching out. … Coolest of all: Families can bring kids under 12 to shows for free, as is dictated by the city.”

Poll: What is the best outdoor concert venue in the Duluth area?

What is the best outdoor concert venue in the Duluth area? It’s is an all-things-considered poll — acoustics, aesthetics, parking, lavatories, etc.

Note: This is PDD’s first runoff poll, which means instead of having an elimination round and a final round of voting, the options with the fewest votes will simply start dropping off of this poll. So check back, because if you vote for something and it drops off the list, you can vote again for one of the remaining options until we have a winner.

This poll is now closed. The results were:

Bayfront Festival Park — 71.5 percent
Big Top Chautauqua — 19 percent
Leif Erikson Park — 9.5 percent

Eliminated during run-off vote: Barker’s Island Pavilion, Billings Park, Chester Bowl, DeWitt-Seitz parking lot, First Street, Glensheen Mansion Pier, Lake Place Park, Lake Superior Plaza, Lincoln Park Pavilion, Lucius Woods Performing Arts Center, Northwest Iron parking lot and Wade Municipal Stadium.

What is the best place for outdoor concerts in the Duluth area?

It’s been a while since we’ve done a poll on PDD, and this post leads us into the next one. Before we publish a ballot on Saturday, we have to ask the question and make sure we aren’t missing any good nominees.

What is the best place for outdoor concerts in the Duluth area?

Barker’s Island Pavilion
Bayfront Festival Park
Big Top Chautauqua
Billings Park
Chester Bowl
Glensheen Mansion Pier
Lake Place Park
Leif Erikson Park
Lucius Woods Performing Arts Center

Anything else that should be on the ballot?