Lissa Maki Posts

Duluth-area food truck scene expands

The U.S. food truck industry is now a $1.2 billion market. Duluth-area food truck options have grown steadily since the city’s first mobile restaurants hit the streets in 2012. That summer there were four mobile eateries. Now there are at least 15.

Duluth-area beer production holds tight through pandemic

When Perfect Duluth Day last tallied regional craft beer production in 2018, the Twin Ports and surrounding region had tripled output over the previous five years, quenching area thirst with about 57,000 barrels of beer. Suds production has certainly slowed and dipped a bit since the previous audit. This mirrors the national trend, which indicates a 9 percent decline in production by small and independent brewers in 2020.

Amazing Grace grocery transition complete; sit-down cafe service and music will return after pandemic

Connor Riley - Amazing Grace Cafe + Grocery

Connor Riley – Photo by Lissa Maki

Amazing Grace Bakery and Cafe, a Canal Park mainstay over the past 25 years, is branching out into the grocery business in 2021. Owner Connor Riley said sit-down dining and music will eventually return to Amazing Grace, but for now he’s focused on the new boutique grocery store aspect of the business, which opened in January.

Warrior Brewing Company: Coming to Duluth This Spring

Matt Caple and Ben Gipson in front of the stainless brew kettle

Matt Caple and Ben Gipson – Photo by Lissa Maki

A new veteran-owned brewery is moving into the former Lake Superior Brewing Company space at 2711 W. Superior St. Owners Matt Caple and Ben Gipson plan to have Warrior Brewing Company up and running by April to be sure their product makes it to liquor stores before summer.

Despite pandemic challenges, Duluth area sees new crop of restaurants and bars in 2020

Kai Soderberg stands outside the Jade Fountain in March, prior to remodeling the former Chinese restaurant and opening it as a tiki bar in August. (Photo by Mark Nicklawske)

A surprising number of intrepid entrepreneurs opened new restaurants and bars in the Duluth area in 2020, despite the global pandemic. One notable trend is the number of new Black-owned businesses.

Duluth-area Thanksgiving Takeout Guide 2020

OMC Smokehouse turkey – Photo by Rolf Hagberg

The pandemic will quash many extended family and group gatherings this Thanksgiving. Opting out of cooking entirely and ordering takeout is a totally reasonable option for the smoldering dumpster fire that’s left of 2020.

A bevy of Twin Ports restaurants are offering Thanksgiving meals to go, so no one has to miss out on a full turkey dinner with all the traditional trimmings. Below is Perfect Duluth Day’s list of options to soothe the cumulative stress induced by the past nine months with some savory comfort food.

Try to muster up some gratitude. Whatever you do, leave room for pie.

Bayfield’s Adventure Club marks a year of brewing

Wisconsin’s northernmost brewery kept a bit of a low profile in its first year. Adventure Club Brewing owner Matthew Gerdts said his small-batch operation has been “Bayfield’s best-kept secret,” but the news is slowly getting out.

Mama Roots: A Vegan Food Truck for the Twin Ports

Many restaurants are struggling to stay afloat during the pandemic since dining in has been prohibited. In this time of uncertainty, two bold young women are prepping to launch a vegan food truck the likes of which the Twin Ports has never seen.

If all goes as planned, Mama Roots will start popping up in parking lots with its big blue school bus in late June. The mobile restaurant will serve up plant-based, globally inspired cuisine.

Guide to Duluth-area Craft Alcohol During the Pandemic

Ursa Minor Brewing has offered curbside beer and pizza pickup via a drive-by canopy since April 8.

Small businesses have been struggling to stay afloat during the COVID-19 outbreak. Local craft beer, cider and spirits purveyors are finding ways to persist by distributing products through a variety of takeout, curbside pickup and delivery options.

My Partner is Starting a Cult

There’s a church revival going on in Lincoln Park, but it’s inspired by art, not God. My partner of nearly 25 years is one of the instigators of a self-proclaimed “cult.”

I guess you could say I drank the Kool-Aid a long time ago because I can’t say I was shocked when he announced his plans.

Life with Troy Rogers, aka Robot Rickshaw, is never dull. He builds musical robots so that he can cart them around Canal Park and the Lakewalk for pop-up performances while wearing a hazmat suit and gas mask with a teddy bear strapped to his chest.

“What have you been up to lately?” Troy’s aunt asked recently, trying to make conversation at a family event. “I’m starting a cult,” he deadpanned.

There were no follow up questions or small talk. Just a perplexed expression from the pious Catholic and an uncharacteristically quick end to the conversation as she escaped to the next room.

Ursa Minor offers Duluth’s first non-alcoholic craft beer

Ben Hugus with Ursa Minor's new NA beer

Ben Hugus with Ursa Minor’s new NA beer – Photo by Lissa Maki

Ursa Minor Brewing quietly became the first Duluth-area craft brewery to offer a non-alcoholic beer option back in December. The brewery’s Constellation Cream Ale, is now available sans intoxicants.

Mexican cuisine options expanding in Duluth area

Margaritas, chips & salsa at Bucktales - Photo by Lissa Maki

Margaritas, chips and salsa at Bucktales – Photo by Lissa Maki

The Twin Ports of Duluth and Superior have never been known for Mexican food, but options for taco lovers have been expanding and improving in recent years. It’s been a long time since Hacienda del Sol, Zona Rosa and Chi-Chi’s were the hot spots.

Duluth Coffee Company Canal Park satellite opens June 1

Maggie Gustafson and Eric Faust - Photo by Lissa Maki

Maggie Gustafson and Eric Faust – Photo by Lissa Maki

A trio of craft beverage purveyors will be sharing space in Canal Park starting Saturday. Duluth Coffee Company is opening a satellite coffee shop in the Ripple Bar on Lake Superior, which is adjacent to Hoops Brewing in the Waterfront Plaza at 325 S. Lake Ave.

Thirsty Pagan transitions to new location; grand opening June 8

Photo by Lissa Maki

Photo by Lissa Maki

Thirsty Pagan Brewing entered its 14th year of business on May 1. There was no fanfare, simply because owner Steve Knauss was so busy he forgot. Knauss and his staff have been working around the clock to ready the brewpub’s new spot at 1615 Winter St. for opening.

Taco Arcada opens May 5 in Duluth’s Lincoln Park

Jeff Petcoff, Mike Atkinson (pinball mechanic/manager) and Tom Hanson - Photo by Lissa Maki

Jeff Petcoff, Mike Atkinson (pinball mechanic/manager) and Tom Hanson – Photo by Lissa Maki

A new establishment opening Sunday in the Lincoln Park Craft District will cater to adults who like to eat and play. Taco Arcada features an array of classic pinball and video games and will serve up Mexican-style street tacos.

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