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Lissa Maki Posts

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.

Duluth Experience launches Lincoln Park Craft District tour

Lincoln Park Craft District Tour - Photo by Lissa Maki

Lincoln Park Craft District Tour – Photo by Lissa Maki

The buzz around Duluth’s burgeoning Lincoln Park Craft District continues. Now the neighborhood has its own walking tour, where people can learn more about the area and some of the key entrepreneurs driving its growth.

The Duluth Experience developed the tour. The company, now in its fifth year, also provides including biking, brewery and kayak tours. Knowledgeable guides lead the Duluth-centric outings, which include interesting tidbits about the city as well as historical context.

Pak’s Green Corner in Superior opens June 1

Pak Williams - Photo by Lissa Maki

Pak Williams – Photo by Lissa Maki

The wait is nearly over for Twin Ports Thai food fanatics. After a three-year hiatus from the restaurant business, Kamolpak (Pak) Williams will reopen Pak’s Green Corner in a new Superior location on June 1.

Lincoln Park Café opening at former Randy’s location

If all proceeds as planned, Lincoln Park Café could open in the former Randy’s Café location as soon as next week.

Mike Delich said he hopes to have everything in order by then to open the rebranded diner at 2125 W. Superior St. in Duluth. He has owned the building for 35 years and ran the restaurant for 10 years when it was called 21st Delight.

Opening in June: Corktown Deli and Brews

Jeff Petcoff and Conor Maki - Photo by Lissa Maki

Jeff Petcoff and Conor Maki – Photo by Lissa Maki

Corktown Deli and Brews is busy prepping for an early June opening. The fast-casual eatery in Duluth’s Lincoln Park Craft District is inspired by the iconic sandwich traditions of New York City.

Sound replaces executive chef, pares back music schedule

Chef Brian Udenberg

Chef Brian Udenberg

Four months after the launch of the chef-driven eatery Sound, Patrick Scot Moore has been replaced as executive chef. Sous chef Brian “Udee” Udenberg has been promoted to fill the role.

The new restaurant and music venue will also scale back its schedule of national musical acts to one or two per month, according to Cheryl Fosdick, Sound’s primary investor. Taking a cue from Minneapolis’ Dakota Jazz Club & Restaurant, the focus will be on genres complementary to a fine dining experience, such as folk, acoustic blues and jazz.

“The vision Chef Patrick had for the music had become larger than could be sustained at this time,” said Dennis Kempton, who handles public relations and marketing for Sound. Kempton noted the restaurant’s management is stepping back to refocus on the food and create a better balance with music that more fully aligns with its brand.

Sound is housed on the main level of 132 E. Superior St. in Duluth’s Old City Hall building. The establishment launched on Jan. 9 with a performance by G. Love. Touring acts like Dessa and Red Molly have also performed there, along with a number of local bands. Upcoming shows for May and June will feature the Bill Frisell trio and John McCutcheon, respectively.

Superior’s Empire Coffee to open this month

Evan Meyer and Aryana Buck of Empire Coffee - Photo by Lissa Maki

Evan Meyer and Aryana Buck – Photo by Lissa Maki

A new caffeination hub is set to open in Superior later this month. Empire Coffee will distinguish itself with its sheer variety of brews.

The Ripple Bar on Lake Superior opens Friday

Maggie Gustafson

Maggie Gustafson – Photo by Lissa Maki

If all goes swimmingly, the Ripple Bar on Lake Superior will open on Friday at 3 p.m. A soft opening was held last night.

Margaret “Maggie” Gustafson is the new owner of the rebranded drinking establishment, formerly known as the Slip. The bar occupies a 900-square-foot space adjacent to Hoops Brewing at 325 S. Lake Ave. in Duluth’s Canal Park Business District.