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Iron Range Posts

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.

Iron Range Brewery Update: Klockow open, BoomTown coming soon, Rapids delayed

The craft beer craze is finally permeating Minnesota’s Iron Range. Before the year’s end, the area will support two new breweries: Klockow Brewing Company in Grand Rapids and BoomTown Brewery & Woodfire Grill in Hibbing. Another, Rapids Brewing Company, is in the works.

Iron Range to host inaugural craft beer festival

The Iron Range’s first craft beer festival is on tap this Saturday in Virginia. In addition to a craft beer village, the Olcott Fountain Brew Fest will feature food, live music and kids’ activities.

The event is a fundraiser organized by the Olcott Park Fountain Restoration Committee, whose mission is to restore the park’s historic fountain to its former glory.

“It’s the first brew fest north of Duluth. We seem to have a lot of interest from all over the Iron Range, which is awesome,” says Carly Gobats, who curated the event’s brewery and music lineup and serves as the its volunteer coordinator.

Gleanings from the book of Eli

In honor of a decade+ of writing for the Duluth Budgeteer — gone forever — I wanted to share this piece. At just 45 miles from Duluth, the Wirtanen Pioneer Farm is a swell destination to add to your summer bucket list. A quiet place, with little programming, it’s the sort of environment that might bore some of you. If you have ears to hear, however, there is much to be heard. We can learn a lot from the work ethic of pioneers like Eli. I jotted down some thoughts at Ed’s Big Adventure, and am curious about yours.

Paul Seeba – “Mitchell Yards”

Paul Seeba - Mitchell YardsIn this video from WDSE-TV‘s The Playlist, Hibbing native Paul Seeba returns to the Iron Range and the historic Mitchell Yards to share music inspired by the 1906 roundhouse. His 2014 album, Mitchell Yards, celebrates the now-endangered place and the role it played in handling ore during World War II.

Bonus sidebar: Dan Turner’s inside look at Mitchell Yards from his Substreet blog.

Mitchell-Yard-Crane

R.I.P. Francine York

francine-yorkAurora, the Iron Range city about an hour north of Duluth, was home to Francine York. “From the 60s and into the 70s, she was a guest-star on dozens of series, with some of her most remembered roles from Batman, Lost In Space, Bewitched, I Dream of Jeannie, and The Streets of San Francisco.”

Bleeding Cool has the obituary for this Northland celebrity.

History of Itasca: Part 1

itascaLilah Crowe, executive director at Itasca County Historical Society, talks about the rich native history of Itasca County in the first of a four-part presentation.

This short-form documentary was produced by A Plus B Productions as part of the Itasca Conversations series.

Fairyland Park near Marble, Minnesota

fairyland-park

This undated postcard depicts “Alice in Wonderland,” one of more than 30 scenes from favorite fairytales at Fairyland, a roadside attraction that operated from 1948 to 1972 just west of the village of Marble, about 80 miles northwest of Duluth. Pretty much anything one might want to know about Fairyland can be found on a PDF compiled by Tim Wick, son of Melvin and Faith Wick, who bought the park in 1960.

Itasca Conversations: Tall Timber Days Festival

Dr. Lee Jess cuts a promo for Tall Timber Days, the 35-year-old festival he helped start in Grand Rapids. Video produced by A Plus B Productions.

The Story of Iron and Steel

Loading iron ore into steamer at a Duluth ore dock 1919 sepia photogravure

Video Archive: President Coolidge visits Hibbing in 1928

This film footage from 1928 shows U.S. President Calvin Coolidge arriving in Hibbing on the Duluth, Missabe, and Northern Railroad to view mining operations and see the highly acclaimed Hibbing High School. Modern-day aerial footage of the school concludes the video.

Actual Wolf – “Christmas in Chisholm”