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 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.
The space’s old-school woodwork and ornate iron trim, blended with decorative ceramic tiles by Karin Kraemer and a mural by Erik Pearson designed to mirror elements of the building’s original style, provide an atmosphere that rivals, on a smaller scale, Duluth’s Kitchi Gammi Club or Pickwick Restaurant.
“Where’s the kitchen?” patrons might wonder, noticing it is nowhere in sight. The bakery across the hall, operated by the Red Mug Coffeehouse and under the charge of chef Curtis LaBreche, is the source of the Spirit Room’s celebrated food offerings.
The Spirit Room garnered 53 percent of the vote in the best new restaurant poll, with Tavern on the Hill pulling 27 percent and Shorty’s Pizza and Smoked Meat placing third with 20 percent.
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