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Lissa Maki Posts

Guide to Duluth-area Restaurants Serving Thanksgiving Dinner

Thanksgiving is arguably the best holiday. It’s an opportunity to be grateful for what you have, eat delicious food and spend time with family (either blood or chosen). There’s no need to buy presents, go to church or decorate the house. The most stressful aspect of the day is the cooking.

Winery provides another reason to visit North Shore

Photo by Lissa Maki

Photo by Lissa Maki

With its rugged terrain and sometimes unforgiving climate, Lake Superior’s north shore seems like an unlikely place for a winery. But that didn’t deter wine connoisseurs Chuck and Kim Corliss from founding North Shore Winery near the base of Lutsen Mountains in 2015.

Perfect Duluth Restaurant: Lake Avenue Restaurant and Bar

Though it’s been lauded in Twin Cities publications for years, surprisingly Lake Avenue Restaurant and Bar hasn’t won any local accolades for its cuisine. Until now.

In Perfect Duluth Day’s poll to name the Perfect Duluth Restaurant, Lake Avenue emerged as the clear winner with 48.3 percent of the vote among the top three.

Co-owner Derek Snyder says he was “super surprised and flattered” his restaurant won the poll.

“A lot of Duluthians still don’t know about us,” he said.

Poll: What is the best Duluth-area restaurant?

With help from readers, we compiled a list of 18 nominees for the best Duluth-area restaurant poll. The final three on the ballot: Duluth Grill, Lake Avenue Restaurant & Bar and Va Bene Caffe.

This poll is now closed. The results will be announced soon.

Perfect Duluth Restaurant Nominations – 2018

It’s been five years since we polled PDD readers to determine the perfect Duluth restaurant. Since then, the New Scenic Cafe has been the reigning champ.

Wasabi Japanese Cuisine to open in Duluth’s Old City Hall

The main floor of Duluth’s Old City Hall will soon be transformed into a sushi restaurant. The owners of Superior’s Wasabi Japanese Cuisine signed a lease on Monday for the space. They anticipate opening this second eatery by the same name in November or December.

The building at 132 E. Superior St. is owned by Rod Raymond of the Just Take Action restaurant group. Since 2011, the main level space has housed three restaurants: Tycoons Alehouse, the Blind Pig, and more recently Sound.

Dennis Kempton, who handles media relations for Just Take Action, says the new Wasabi Japanese Cuisine location will be modeled after its sister restaurant in Superior, which opened in March in the former O’Neill’s Pub & Liquor building at 3333 Tower Ave.

Dovetail Cafe to open in October

Bryan French - Photo by Lissa Maki

Duluth Folk School Director & Co-Founder Bryan French outside Dovetail Cafe – Photo by Lissa Maki

If all goes as planned, Dovetail Cafe and Marketplace will open in the second week of October. The unique eatery, housed within the Duluth Folk School at 1917 W. Superior St., will serve up meals made from scratch, products from local vendors and a side of education for those inclined to learn.

Ursa Minor Brewing opening Sept. 26

Ben Hugus, Mark Hugus and Andrew Scrignoli - Photo by Lissa Maki

Ben Hugus, Mark Hugus and Andrew Scrignoli – Photo by Lissa Maki

Duluth’s Lincoln Park Craft District will gain a third brewery by the month’s end. Ursa Minor Brewing, a five-barrel brewery that will also serve wood-fired pizzas, has announced it’s opening Sept. 26.

Craft cider coming soon to Duluth

Duluth will soon have its first, and second, hard cideries. Duluth Cider is planning for a mid-to-late September opening date, while Wild State Cider expects to open before the year’s end.

Perfect Iron Range Restaurant: Vi’s Pizza

Competition was stiff in the Perfect Iron Range Restaurant poll. After a 36-hour, tie-breaking vote we can officially declare Vi’s Pizza in Biwabik the champion.

In the final poll, Vi’s Pizza had 70 percent of the vote, while BoomTown Woodfire Bar & Grill in Eveleth had 30 percent.

Clearly, no ordinary pizza joint could beat the likes of top contenders like BoomTown and Gilbert’s famous Jamaican restaurant, the Whistling Bird. But Vi’s Pizza is a veritable Iron Range institution.

The original pizza recipe was handed down from owner Kim Mattson’s Italian grandmother. Viola “Vi” and her husband Frank Urick started selling takeout pizzas out of the back of their Biwabik home in 1959.

Tie-breaking Poll for Perfect Iron Range Restaurant

The initial competition for Perfect Iron Range Restaurant was hot! The poll started with 25 nominees. With the help of your votes, we whittled it down to three contenders: BoomTown Woodfire Bar & Grill (Eveleth), Vi’s Pizza and the Whistling Bird.

BoomTown and Vi’s tied with 36 percent of the popular vote, while Whistling Bird was close behind at 28 percent.

Which brings us to the final poll to decide the winner.

This poll is now closed. The results were:

Vi’s Pizza, Biwabik – 70 percent
BoomTown Woodfire Bar & Grill, Eveleth – 30 percent

Poll: Perfect Iron Range-area Restaurant

We developed a list of contenders for the Perfect Iron Range-area Restaurant poll by using a carefully crafted methodology — we asked people to nominate their favorites.

We started with 25 nominees and whittled it down to the top three.

The poll is now closed. The results were:

BoomTown Woodfire Bar & Grill, Eveleth | 36 percent
Vi’s Pizza, Biwabik | 36 percent
The Whistling Bird, Gilbert | 28 percent

By virtue of the tie, there will be a new poll between BoomTown and Vi’s to determine a winner.

Nominees for Perfect Iron Range-area Restaurant Poll

Left: Photo by Sheldon Schwartz. Right: Google map manipulated by PDD.

It’s time the Iron Range got some credit. Summertime up north is spectacular. The abundant forests, lakes and trails offer the quintessential “up north” Minnesota experience. In past polls we’ve named the Perfect Duluth Restaurant, Perfect North Shore Restaurant and Perfect South Shore-area Restaurant. Now it’s time to look to the northwest and give some props to eateries in and around Minnesota’s Iron Range.

Thirsty Pagan hires new brewer

Kathleen Culhane - Photo by Lissa Maki

Kathleen Culhane – Photo by Lissa Maki

Thirsty Pagan Brewing in Superior welcomes a new brewer this week. Kathleen Culhane is relocating from the Twin Cities to the Twin Ports for the gig. Her official start date is June 25.

Toppers Pizza open in Duluth’s East Hillside

Toppers Pizza - Photo by Lissa Maki

Toppers Pizza – Photo by Lissa Maki

Duluth’s East Hillside just got a bit cheesier. Toppers Pizza is holding a soft opening today and tomorrow. At the shop’s grand opening on Saturday it will give 50 people free pizza for a year.