Kounty Quarthouse in South Range under new ownership

Kounty Quarthouse

One might not expect the food served at a nondescript roadhouse six miles south of Superior to be anything special, but the Kounty Quarthouse, off County Road K in South Range, is a hidden gem that shatters stereotypes.

Beth Cherny, founder of Savories Catering in Duluth, took over the modest wayside tavern in 2006. She played up the legal theme and overhauled the menu. Her creative culinary concoctions were an instant hit with regulars and foodies from further afield. In 2014, the Food Network’s Guy Fieri shot a segment there for “Diners, Drive-ins and Dives,” his popular show that uses public input to discover and highlight some of the best “greasy spoons” in the nation.

Cherny’s decade-long run with the Kounty Quarthouse ended in March when she sold the business to Kandice and Bill Szewcik. Fans of the eatery will be relieved to know the recipes were sold along with the restaurant and the new owners intend to maintain the same quality customers have come to expect.

Kandice is originally from Two Harbors, and she’s been bartending for 20 years. She’s always had the goal of owning her own business by age 35 and says she and Bill are partial to country bars. Bill is from Superior and became familiar with the Kounty Quarthouse through his work with Leamon Mercantile distributing. When he saw the “for sale” sign, he brought his wife there to check it out. She was immediately smitten.

“I’m never blown away by food, but I was blown away by the food,” Kandice says.

Kounty Quarthouse

The couple acted quickly to buy the place and brought on Kandice’s aunt, Jennifer Isaac, who has 25 years of combined cooking and kitchen management experience. Most of the Kounty Quarthouse staff was retained and the business remained open during the transition of ownership.

Kandice says customer response so far has been very positive. Regulars were distraught at the thought of the popular restaurant closing, and it gets a fair amount of tourists, too. “People come from all over the world to eat here. They make a point to tell us where they’re from,” says Isaac, noting they’ve had recent patrons from Florida and Colorado.

The Szewciks say any changes they make will be improvements. They’re considering bringing back some old favorites based on customer demand, like the deep-fried bacon, and they plan to run periodic specials. Bill says they doubled their tap lines this week and now offer 17 tap beers. They’re making an effort to feature local craft breweries like Castle Danger, New Glarus, Bent Paddle and Sand Creek.

If you go: don’t be scared, everything is a play on the Kounty Quarthouse theme. The hallway to the bathrooms is labeled “Interrogation Rooms” and the menu is divided into sections like “Lighter Sentence” (salads) and “Grand Jury” (specialty burgers). Though there are a couple of vegetarian options, this joint caters to carnivores. Try the “You’ve Been Sprung Rolls” or “Warrant for Your Arrest.” The former are sumptuous spring rolls made with shrimp, pork belly, shredded veggies and Asian dipping sauce; the latter consists of jumbo shrimp stuffed with jalapeno-cranberry cream cheese wrapped in bacon and served with hot-pepper jelly. The pork belly sandwich with Asian slaw, Korean BBQ and wasabi sauce is also a standout. There’s a reason it won Guy Fieri’s enthusiastic approval.

Kounty Quarthouse
 

4 Comments

Karin Henson Swor

about 5 years ago

Please give directions. Where is County Road K?

Paul Lundgren

about 5 years ago

Kounty Quarthouse map

Heading out of Superior on Highway 53, turn right onto County Road E at the same intersection where you would turn left if you were going to Wisconsin Point.

Heading south on County Road E, you'll get to a spot after about three miles where you can veer onto County Road K. Another mile or so and you're there.

kimr55760

about 5 years ago

What is Beth's next adventure? I will follow her!

Paul Lundgren

about 4 years ago

Update to this story: Beth Cherny announced on Facebook in May that the Kounty Quarthouse is temporarily closed.
 
"As most of you know, I have been leasing the business for the last year and have not been involved," she wrote. "I would like to take this time to deep clean, paint and freshen the building. Thank you so much for all your well wishes and incredible support from your past business and friendships."
 
Numerous people commented on the post to note the restaurant had not met its former high standards under the new ownership. A few examples:
 
Troy Powers: We used to drive 40 minutes from Wrenshall at least once if not twice a week when you ran the place. We stopped going after several visits after the other folks took over and things went downhill. We will certainly come back if and when you re-open!
 
Kelly Pederson: Absolutely love this place. I hope part of the issues being fixed is the horrible smell. It is the only thing keeping us away. I miss the food!
 
Buzz Dean: We first stopped by before DDD, then would stop on infrequent trips north---after last visit decided there were lots of better choices around---hopefully you will go back or just change the name.
 
Cathy Meyer: Hope you reopen soon. We too were one of those customers who were very disappointed and vowed never to go back. Such great food and horrible service and management. Please let us know when you reopen!
 
Russ Nelson: Hope to see the return of amazing food. I went probably twice under the new management, with my last visit two months ago being my last as I left very sadly disappointed. Hope the greatness will return!
 
Renee Lang: Will you fix the sewer problems?
 
Bob Wright: Looking forward to I reopening, some of the best food in the twin ports. Hoping ticket times will be less than an hour.
 
Jen LeMone: Can't wait to get our old kounty quart house back!!! Miss the food!
 
Brenda Archambeau Morrow: The person that had taken over was horrible!

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