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May 1, 2007 10:52 AM

Hibbing, MN area recs?


I'll be in Hibbing for two days next week for business, and I'm wondering where I should eat. I'm willing to drive ten miles or so if necessary.

The search engine led me to old recs for Zimmy's and Sammy's pizza. Also, sounds like I should be sure to try potica, pasties, and/or porketta.


1) Any other recs?
2) What can I expect from Zimmy's?
3) What is porketta?
4) Where should I go for potica, pasties, and/or porketta?
5) Where can I get a good cup of coffee?

Thanks for your thoughts!

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  1. I don't have much to steer you towards, I'm afraid, only having spent about a day in Hibbing in my life, but, here's what I know.

    Zimmy's: very very average food, along the lines of what you might find on a Champs menu, I would say. But, the atmosphere is a lot of fun with all of the old Dylan photos, etc. You do feel like you're steeping yourself in local history. I do recall thinking the food was priced rather high for what it was.

    I wish I could remember the name of the place (I think it had a man's name in it, like Bob's Place or Sammy's Place or something like that), but we had a nice, very barebones eggs and bacon kind of breakfast a few doors down the block on the side of the street opposite Zimmy's. It felt like a real mom and pop, locals kind of place--the food wasn't spectacular, but it was priced appropriately and you didn't feel like a tourist so much. They had pasties there; I don't remember getting them, though; maybe they were out?

    I think there's a place in Hibbing called "Sunrise" bakery or something like that that everyone raves about--I think that's supposed to be "the" place in town for pasties. We didn't go because they were closed on whatever day we were there, but it looked so cute from the outside.

    We were camping, so, we got our porketta at a local grocery store. Sorry, I can't remember which one.

    EDIT: I remember having a pastie at Ironworld. I don't remember loving it--it was just reheated in a microwave, that kind of experience. I remember liking some of the baked goods they made from the old cookbooks in the old kitchens in the various buildings at Ironworld, though. So, if you go to Ironworld, don't forget to peek into the kitchens.


    2 Replies
    1. re: The Dairy Queen

      I'm from the Range. Everyone up there seems to love the Whistling Bird in Gilbert. Caribbean food & libations.

      I haven't eaten there myself, but like I said, everyone seems to love it. I even saw it on the Food Network once ;-)

      1. re: Mill City Modern

        I've been to the Whistling Bird and enjoyed it. However, it's about 30 miles away from Hibbing, and I don't want to drive that far, so I probably won't make it there this trip. Thanks anyway!

    2. Yes, I hear Sunrise is great for potica. After you try it there, you might want to compare it to the potica Jan Gadzo makes at his Andrej's European Pastry in Chisholm (just about 6 miles from Hibbing). Andrej's has been around for only 6 years or so, but I've heard that it's nearly doubled production every year, although still doing most everything by hand. The first time I tasted it, I tracked the bakery down and placed orders to send out around the country as that year's holiday gifts. Andrej's potica does not have a translucently thin dough; it's substantial enough not to be overwhelmed by the filling but still delicate. You can choose either poppyseed or walnut filling. My understanding is that the poppyseed is more of a Polish tradition, while the walnut is a Czech tradition. I always choose the walnut filling. Walnuts, sugar, maybe some cinnamon...when I called to place my Christmas order, he told me that he grinds the walnuts daily.

      1. I grew up in Hibbing and visit family there often. Here's my take:

        Sammy's is wonderful hometown pizza. I grew up on in and love it, but not everyone outside the Range feels the same. But it was the first pizza in town in the 1950's.

        Porketta is a pork roast rolled in spices. It's often served on hard rolls from Sunrise Bakery. The restaurants don't serve it that I know of, but you can get them to make you a good sandwich with it if you get to the Sunrise Bakery at the right time.

        Most of the grocery stores have frozen porketta. Frabonis is the favorite, though some of the other grocery stores make their own. I would take a porketta home with you, slow cook it either in the oven or crock pot and pulled it apart for your sandwiches. I'd also get a couple dozen hard rolls to take with you. Those hard rolls don't exist anywhere in the Twin Cities. The closest I've come to eating something similar were the brotchen in Germany.

        Sunrise Bakery does have potica that's decent, but not the best. It's a little too sweet for me. You could call the Slovenian Home (Slovenska Dom) in Chisholm to see if they are making it or if someone will sell you the homemade kind.

        Yes, Andrej makes a good walnut roll (also cheese, apple, and poppyseed) but more in the Polish/Czech sense. He didn't grow up on the Range and his rolls are different from the traditional Slovenian/Croatian/Serbian poticas. See archives for more potica talk.

        You can get pretty good frozen pasties at Sunrise to take with you. I don't know about the small breakfast restaurant that might have them. I;ll look for them myself next time I go to Hibbing.

        I'm afraid Caribou might be the only place to have good coffee. But I might be wrong about that.

        I've heard that Arnelias is a pretty good restaurant. Some people rave about Grateful Ed, a caterer who makes pretty good lunches.

        Zimmy's is mediocre.

        4 Replies
        1. re: shoo bee doo

          The pastry for the pasties at Sunrise is made with real lard. Quite tasty.

          1. re: shoo bee doo

            Frabonis itself is near Bennett Park and I think you can buy porketta there. You can also buy porketta sausages.

              1. re: shoo bee doo

                Make sure you go to the Sunrise on 3rd Avenue, not to the one on 1st Avenue (at the old Lybba theatre. There are some interesting things at the one on 1st Avenue, but the original Sunrise is far better. Different members of the same old Italian family run each of them.

              2. Report:

                Greatful Ed's for a quick lunch yesterday - a nice pulled pork sammy, indeed. OK, the bottom got so soggy I couldn't pick it up, but who cares when the pork's that tender - I just considered it a big meat/coleslaw/BBQ sauce salad!

                Amelia's for dinner last night - had the Alfredo. It was pretty darn good - a very parmesan-heavy sauce. The pasta seemed homemade but the service was so absent I couldn't ask!

                Sunrise Bakery (on 3rd) for breakfast - I just had an apple fritter for bkfst this morning, it was run of the mill. Picked up a walnut potica which I will share with coworkers at tomorrow's meeting - will report back on that!

                Thanks for all your recs, I'll probably be back in Hibbing one of these days to try Zimmy's, maybe get up to Andrej's, etc.

                P.S. The people in Hibbing were so friendly! I travel the state a lot and have never had so many people just strike up a conversation in line at the store, at the cash register, etc. It was a nice place to visit.