As Duluth residents and tourists head outdoors, it’s time for the food trucks, carts and trailers to hit the streets, offering up fast and easy food on the run. To keep up with these restaurants on wheels, we present PDD’s 2015 rundown of who’s cooking what and where.
Listed below are the mobile food services licensed to operate on the streets of Duluth. Not listed are the various vendors who serve exclusively at events or specific locations, such as the Green Mill pizza trailer or various purveyors of mini donuts. Also, we should note Duluth has at least one pop-up restaurant — Izakaya 218 — which recently resumed its weekly Taco Tuesdays at the Red Herring Lounge.
Out with the old video-game shop, in with the older video-game shop. After a spur-of-the-moment decision to buy the Game Galaxy store at 28 W. First St., Jim Mattson changed the focus and the name, opening 8-Bit Classic Collection on Feb. 1, specializing in vintage video games.
Bill Kalligher has been owner of Gannucci’s Italian Market for four years. During that time the three-decades old West Duluth eatery expanded in both size and scope, and in October was featured on the cable television show Diners, Drive-in and Dives. Last week Kalligher expanded his holdings by acquiring one of the area’s oldest restaurants, Jade Fountain.
Located at 305 N. Central Ave., two doors down from Gannucci’s, Jade Fountain has been a staple in West Duluth since George Wong opened it in 1968. Wong sold it in 1997 to Sick Cheung Lee, who had just immigrated to the United States. Lee died in November and his widow Kwok Chun Mak was looking to sell.
The Arrowhead region of northeastern Minnesota and northwest Wisconsin boasts 15 craft breweries and brewpubs, producing nearly 20,000 barrels of convivial suds annually. For perspective, that’s about 600,000 gallons or 40,000 kegs or 5 million pints or 6.5 million 12-ounce bottles and cans.
When it comes to craft beer, of course, it’s a game of quality over quantity. So although the list below is stacked by order of the largest producers, obviously it is taste that matters most (though the latter is clearly subjective and difficult to rank). Some of the production numbers below are fairly precise, while others are estimates and subject to caveats, so our 6.5-million bottles/cans figure is the result of a lot of rounding off.
Bent Paddle Brewing
30-barrel microbrewery and tap room, founded in 2013
1912 W. Michigan St., Duluth
Karen Tonnis, vice president of operations; Laura Mullen, vice president of outreach and events; Bryon Tonnis and Colin Mullen, co-brewers (all four are owners)
2014 production: 7,800 barrels
10-barrel facility supplying five pubs and a retail store, founded in 1995
600 E. Superior St., Duluth
Tim Nelson and Rod Raymond, owners; Dave Hoops, master brewer
2014 production: 2,300 barrels (estimate)
Walker Display, a locally owned art-display system manufacturer and distributor, is moving its operations from West Duluth to a warehouse at the Airpark in Duluth Heights. Its former location at 6520 Grand Avenue will be demolished in the coming months to make way for a new Kwik Trip convenience store.
When small businesses move into old buildings, sometimes it takes a while to get noticed. In this post we highlight three, starting in the Central Hillside with Le Chien Pet Salon at 810 E. Ninth St. Owner Heather Axtell opened this pet-grooming shop one year ago, offering all-breed dog and cat grooming — everything from a bath or nail trim to an everyday groom. Axtell says she has over 20 years experience in the field, and this is her third pet salon in Duluth. She was an original partner in Bark Avenue, which opened in 1996, and she also opened Pooch Paradise in 2004, which she owned until 2010.
Duluth has multiple golf courses for public use, but when the brutal winters hit, those courses don’t have much to offer. Co-owners Jamie Booterbaugh and Aucksone Somphouvieng opened the Sweet Spot last fall in the friendly West End, an indoor facility offering virtual golfing year-round. When the snow and the temperature drop, the Sweet Spot and its two virtual golf simulators offer over 80 golf courses to those who want to keep their clubs in use over the winter months. The location is 2908 W. Third St., near Harrison Park.
Open since late summer of 2014, the Canal Park Flea Market offers a venue for the buying and selling of a wide array of items, from sports memorabilia and video games to action figures and rock T-shirts. Located at 329 Canal Park Drive, across from the Inn on Lake Superior, this market offers items unlikely to be found in any department store. And in times of cold weather the “free winter clothing” bin is there to serve.