Perfect Burger Restaurant: Anchor Bar

PDDPerfectBurgerRestaurantAwardLogoThere 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.

Anchor Bar - Bean Prettie and Adam Anderson

It isn’t any one thing that makes the Anchor the best burger joint, it’s the combination of food, atmosphere and prices. The burgers themselves are great – with options like the Cashew Burger, Olive Burger or the 2/3-lb. Anchor Burger – all made with patties from Superior Meats and buns from Twig Bakery. But the prices, even though they went up a few years ago, still can’t be beat. All of the burgers are $5 or less, except for the $6 Gally Buster – a ridiculous 1-lb. triple cheeseburger. The atmosphere of random nautical garbage nailed to the walls simply completes the experience.

There is probably no one alive who can remember when the first bar opened up at 413 Tower Ave. in Superior, but the name “Anchor Bar” first appears in city directories in the mid-1940s. Tom Anderson bought it in 1977 and later started serving burgers and fries there. It wasn’t long after when everyone in the Twin Ports knew the Anchor was the place to go for good ol’ cheap, greasy burgers. In more recent years, the word has spread far and wide – the Anchor was one of four local restaurants featured on the Food Network’s Diners, Drive-ins and Dives program in 2010.

Tom Anderson died in 2008, but his sons, Adam and Aaron, along with longtime manager Bean Prettie, have made sure the Anchor has continued to be the same old Anchor. Sit down, shut up and get fat and drunk.

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about 10 years ago

In my opinion, the polls don't matter for making a choice. It's all about perception and experience, which obviously the polls try to even out. People, for example, also put Gronk's on the list consistently as best burger, but the only thing the place brings to the table is a gristly mess of leftover grind (in my experience).

One time at the Anchor, my brother was visiting from out of town and humbly asked if they had BBQ sauce. The waiter walked over to the bar, grabbed bottles of ketchup and mustard, set them firmly down on the table, and said, "Sure, make it yourself." I actually thought it was funny, but the people around us were a little freaked out.

Anyway, the triple D show phenomenon is on its way out. Many people in several cities don't even want the California stylized guy visiting their restaurants, including the front range of Colorado, which is weird, because most of them are Californians at heart.


about 10 years ago

I'd put Gronk's up there as well, except for the fact that the burgers cost almost twice as much as the Anchor. Same goes for the beer.


about 10 years ago

I'll go to Big Daddy's thank you.

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