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Duluth, MN/Superior, WI and en route to Duluth from Twin Cities?

So, I’m heading to Duluth (Minnesota Point). I’m envisioning barbeques and picnics on the beach, leisurely walks and bike rides along the shore, maybe a picnic on a sailboat…

We know we can stock up before leaving home, but we'd rather not if we don't have to. Where are the best places in Duluth (or Superior) to stock up on or replenish stores of…
...Grocery basics?
...Meats and fishes to grill?
...Creamy and pungent cheeses, cured meats, smoked fish (Northern Waters Smokehaus?), and crusty baguettes for our picnics and lunches?
...Good wine and beer?

Do you know of any spots along the shore we can stop for ice cream or a refreshing beverage while on our bike rides and walks?

How about comfy, relaxed places in Duluth (or Superior) for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and maybe one splurge meal or two?

Are there any cute little places actually located on Minnesota Point?

New Scenic Café—would it be good for our splurge meal?

Where is Hell’s Kitchen (I can't get the places link to work)—is it good?

Chester Creek Café—is that more of a breakfast spot or a lunch spot? Still worth stop at?

I’ve heard of a restaurant on an island in Superior Harbor. Is that place any good and, if so, what is it called?

I liked the rootbeer at Fitger's--is that still worth stopping at? How's the chow there?

Are there any must do stops en route to and from the Twin Cities for a snack or lunch?

Thank you very much!


Fitger's Brewery Complex
600 E Superior St, Duluth, MN 55802

New Scenic Cafe
5461 N Shore Dr, Duluth, MN 55804

Chester Creek Cafe
1902 E 8th St, Duluth, MN 55812

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  1. The exit for Toby's is usually a good halfway point between the Twin Cities & Duluth. However, skip Toby's altogether and go across the interstate to Cassidy's. They have a decent breakfast and lunch.

    For a comfy spot in Duluth, I have enjoyed the shrimp & black bean burrito at the Lake Avenue Cafe in the Dewitt-Seitz Marketplace down in Canal Park.

    1. I used to work about a half an hour southeast of Superior and we'd head in to Duluth nights on the town. I haven't been to any of the following places in many a year (10-15?) but these were some of my favorites back then:

      Sir Benedict's on the Lake: Great sandwiches and wide beer selection.
      Hacienda del Sol: Pretty good Mexican - although probably not the most authentic. They used to have a deck out back that was a great place to hang out.
      Taste of Saigon: Decent Vietnamese food in the Dewitt-Seitz marketplace
      Portland Malt Shop: The best malt I ever had was here. (I can't find any info on this. It was just down the street a half a block from Sir Benedict's on the other side of the street - a converted gas station i think.)

      From what I can tell, these places are still around, but I have no idea on the quality. (I'd love to hear the latest on these old favorites, by the way.)

      Have fun!


      Hacienda Del Sol
      319 E Superior St, Duluth, MN 55802

      Sir Benedict's Tavern
      805 E Superior St, Duluth, MN 55802

      Taste of Saigon
      394 S Lake Ave Ste 105, Duluth, MN 55802

      4 Replies
      1. re: bob s

        Taste of Saigon, unfortunately, does not serve Vietnamese food. On our last visit to Duluth we were very excited to get some pho or a vermicelli bowl - the basics of the basics - but no such luck. When pressed, the waiter admitted the menu is pretty much 100% Chinese inspired, and that they don't serve *any* Vietnamese dishes. I was pretty surprised to see such brazenly false adverstising, as the window was covered with signs touting "Vietnamese Cuisine" and the like. The food is fine, but please do not confuse the style with anything Vietnamese!!!

        Sir Benedicts is awesome as is the brewery.

        I would go with the New Scenic Cafe, which is consistently wonderful and cozy, over Nokomis, which we found overpriced and underflavored (though they had just opened a few weeks before our visit).

        Have a great trip!

        1. re: lisa13

          Fair enough on Taste of Saigon. Now that you mention it, I can't recall any true Vietnamese food. But it's been 15 years...

          Glad to hear that Sir Benedict's is still going strong.

          1. re: bob s

            I had the same exact experience at the Taste of Saigon ... I walked in, wanting to try pho, only to be told by the waiter that they're more an "Asian" restaurant than a Vietnamese one!

            There is Vietnamese food in Duluth, however, believe it or not: actually a few different restaurants serve it (always alongside Chinese food). You can find pho or banh mi at Saigon Cafe (two locations: one in the long strip mall below Slumberland, off of a side road off Maple Grove Rd. near Best Buy in the "mall area" and another on 319 Blackman Ave. in the Duluth Heights neighborhood), at the Lotus Inn (in the Gary neighborhood at the very western end of the city), and at Lan Chi's in Superior. I've eaten at every time, all take-out.

            I had beef pho at the Saigon Cafe, which I believe was $6.95. It was pretty good, though my first time eating pho. They gave you the broth, noodles, bean sprouts, and lemongrass in separate containers, and you put them together how you wanted it.

            At Lan Chi's I ordered Bun Bo Xao, and it was also good-tasting, and fairly cheap.

            The Lotus in Gary is an exception to Vietnamese restaurants in that it is rather pricey. I took out some curry from there, which was delicious (and extremely spicy ... you order hot here, you get hot!), but expensive...$11 or $13 I think. They have pho on the menu for $10.95! It's also way out of the way, but the food is high quality.

            Saigon Cafe
            2224 Mountain Shadow Dr, Duluth, MN 55811

            Vietnamese Lotus Inn
            1314 Commonwealth Ave, Duluth, MN 55808

            LAN Chi's Restaurant
            1320 Belknap St, Superior, WI 54880

            1. re: tvdxer

              Thank you so much for those recs, tvdxer - we are visiting over labor day and will definitely check out at least one of these options!

              but 10.95 for pho? I can get a bowl the size of my head for about 6.00 here in the Boston area....I certainly feel spoiled.

      2. Ah, Park Point. Nice.

        Hell's Kitchen is in Canal Park, on Lake Ave. S. Walk down the street and you'll find it. Haven't been there quite yet. I planned on going as soon as it opened, but didn't end up doing that.

        I sometimes stop at Chester Creek Café on my way from school to work. They serve traditional café food as well as some Middle Eastern specialities (as do many other Duluth cafes, for some odd reason). From what I've had there, I can say they're good but not quite exceptional.

        Know nothing of New Scenic Cafe, other than where it's located (out of the way).

        As for Minnesota Point (what Duluthians refer to as "Park Point") - I don't believe there are any restaurants on it. In fact, the only businesses present I'm aware of are a gas station, a marina, and what I think is an art gallery.

        Some of the better places here include the highly-ranked India Palace downtown on 3rd Ave. W. and Superior St. Environment is fairly casual. The lunch buffet ($8.95) runs from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. daily and has become a hit-and-miss affair in the past year or so, though on Sunday it appeared the owner's family was eating there and the food was excellent. Dinners are reliably good but somewhat expensive (most entrees with rice $12 - $17), and a fairly large beer / wine selection is available.

        Be sure to try the wonderful burfi, an imperdible Italian sweet I've had a lot of trouble finding elsewhere.

        The Amazing Grace bakery / cafe, a short bike ride out of Park Point in Canal Park, has a really cool ultra-casual hippie sort of ambiance and serves up some really good bread and soups. Try the hummus sandwich. Most people associate it with coffee, but I like the Italian sodas. It's always filled with people and has excellent al fresco dining in one of Canal Park's busiest areas.

        Va Bene is an Italian "caffe" with a pasta bar (not buffet-style; you tell them what to put on your pasta, $6 lunch / $9 dinner) that I've always found to be very delicious and a gelato bar I haven't tried yet but have heard good things about. It's become a popular place and can be a bit busy at times, but it has a really nice, very casual environment. There's a beautiful view of the lake, either from inside or the outdoor dining deck overlooking (and accessible from, via stairs) the Lakewalk. It's located near the Fitger's complex, off the Lakewalk on one side and Superior Street on the other. Rather small building, so you'll need to keep your eyes open. Interestingly enough, they also sell various imported Italian meats, olive oils, and other products. There's a decent selection of Italian wines and other beverages.

        For Duluthians, the Pickwick, also right by Fitger's, is the traditional place for a splurge. They serve traditional American food, and the entrees are around $20 - $25 if I remember correctly. I personally don't care for it (mostly slabs of meat), but that's not what most people think.

        Awesome malts can be found at Portland Malt Shoppe, again near Fitger's on Superior St. Look for the tiny little building.

        Bellisio's in Canal Park, right by the Aerial Lift Bridge across from Park Point, is another Duluth splurge, a bit newer, serving Italian food and lots of wines. I've heard both good and bad about them from others, but really like it myself. They have a gigantic wine list spanning dozens of pages.

        The new Burrito Union on 4th St. and ~14th Ave. W (maybe 15th?) sits right below Chester Creek park and serves up some awesome, huge burritos as well as local Fitger's brews. It's become very popular (especially for the college crow who have wanted a similar-niche Chipotle for a long time), but having been there a few times for a "custom" burrito I've never had to wait any longer than I would at a Subway.

        My next suggestion is a bit out of the way, but no more than a 20 minute drive from Park Point. Starvin' Marvin's is a very unassuming little joint connected to a gas station on Highway 2, about 3 miles north of Proctor. It might not appear to be anything more than an old truck stop, but the breakfasts they serve (the only think I've ever had there, but many times) are absolutely delicious and inexpensive. Wonderful omelets, gigantic pancakes, etc. Not many tourists come here, considering the odd location (a few miles from my house) but it's worth it.

        For some delicious Mexican food, try Mexico Lindo in Downtown Cloquet, about 15 miles south of Duluth on I-35. Great for a stop on the way back, or if you're very adventurous, a bike ride (you can ride into West Duluth via Superior St. and Grand Ave, get on the Willard Munger trail, ride the 14 miles into Carlton, and make a final 4 or 5 mile stretch up the highway to Cloquet - you'll certainly burn all the calories you eat there! - especially on the ride up).

        Hope I've been helpful and you have fun up here.

        Bellisio's Italian Restaurant
        405 S Lake Ave, Duluth, MN 55802

        India Palace
        319 W Superior St Ste 100, Duluth, MN 55802

        Amazing Grace Bakery & Cafe
        394 S Lake Ave Ste 106, Duluth, MN 55802

        Starvin Marvin
        5691 Highway 2, Hermantown, MN 55810

        508 E Superior St, Duluth, MN 55802

        Burito Union
        1332 E 4th St, Duluth, MN 55805

        Va Bene
        734 E Superior St, Duluth, MN 55802

        Mexico Lindo Restaurant
        915 Cloquet Ave, Cloquet, MN 55720

        2 Replies
        1. re: tvdxer

          we love going to the north shore.

          scenic cafe is always good, but we have liked the new nokomis just a mile up the hwy for the wonderful views and excellent food.... interesting in the way that scenic cafe is.

          in superior, across the bong bridge is a great coffee house owned by local artisans called the red mug. potters and artists sell their wares as well as having studios in the same great old building. great coffee which is roasted in duluth "alakef". the red mug folks told us we could buy their many types at a great family owned grocery in duluth called mount royal fine foods. we could and did...the espresso primo is terrific! anyway, red mug has a great vibe, and oh, the bars are sinful.

          we have always enjoyed bellisios, tho it's owned by the palucci empire. like the wine flights, bread with olive oil and every dish we have tasted has been excellent.

          wanted to like the new cafe va bene, but after two times there, was very disappointed. long, long waits. last time it was a 45 minute wait for a slice of pizza. we ordered a slice of their pizza which was as dull as could be (margarita - didn't taste like a margarita at all) and the time before that my sandwich which sounded interesting was as blah as could be. after two tries, we have crossed it off our list.

          we have enjoyed bennetts on the lake in the fitgers building- for the view and for pretty good food and even the pickwick for the history and lake view and the since 1914 longevity of the place. portions are h u g e ........ always enjoy the walleye in its various forms.

          the place in superior is the boathouse cafe. we ate there 2 years ago and loved it for the atmosphere and the food. well worth checking out.

          oh, the bakery called positively third street on about 3rd street and 12th ave. is a coop with a wonderfully hippie feeling and low priced and delicious cookies - especially the thunder and monkey cookies.

          enjoy the magical north shore!

          1. re: carolita

            The bread from Positively Third Street is great stuff, but it's available in the Twin Cities - I've seen it at Seward Co-op. Just so you don't make a special trip up there just for the bread. (Like I did once, only to experience a strange feeling of deja-vu when I saw the labels on the bread. So I got a brownie instead - it was great.)


            Positively 3rd St Bakery
            1202 E 3rd St, Duluth, MN 55805

        2. Ah, Duluth! Have a lovely time!

          Definitely go to Northern Waters Smokehaus for great fish, meats, cheese, and other delicacies. The buffalo pastrami is fabulous. (I'd ask you to bring me some, but my mom just went through Duluth two days ago and bought lots of pastrami back.) They make good sandwiches, too.


          There's a Whole Foods Co-op - but not part of the Whole Foods Market chain - at 610 East 4th St. It's a relatively big store, and they have everything you'd expect.


          I really like the Amazing Grace coffee house, in the same building as Northern Waters Smokehaus. The sandwiches and desserts are ENORMOUS. Their tomato basil soup is a poem. And I'm not 100% sure, but I think they sell loaves of their great bread.

          I used to love the Lake Avenue Cafe, but the last few years I've been underwhelmed. It's still pretty decent, though. But not particularly fancy. I like the Chester Creek Cafe (I've had great breakfasts and good lunches there - never been for dinner), but it's not a "splurge place". It's casual-fancy with several of organic/whole food options. And I was underwhelmed by Belisio's the one time I was there, but perhaps I ordered badly. Plus, I was cranky because they claimed it was "all non-smoking" yet allowed smokers in the bar. (I hope that's changed.) Me, I'd probably go to the New Scenic Cafe for my splurge.

          I'm looking forward to trying tvdxer's recommendations on my upcoming trips - I'll be driving up for more pastrami in a month or so.


          Whole Foods Co-Op
          610 E 4th St, Duluth, MN 55805

          Northern Waters Smokehaus
          394 S Lake Ave, Duluth, MN 55802

          3 Replies
          1. re: AnneInMpls

            > Me, I'd probably go to the New Scenic Cafe for my splurge.

            Or maybe I'd go to Nokomis, based on this positive report:


            Any place that has Osso Bucco, Lake Superior Whitefish, and Fig-coated Elk on the same menu is a place I need to try!


            Nokomis Restaurant & Bar
            5593 N Shore Dr, Duluth, MN 55804

            1. re: AnneInMpls

              The view @ Pickwick is hard to beat on a sunny day...though the chow is best described as a poor man's version of Jax Cafe, which ain't that great to begin with.

            2. re: AnneInMpls

              Anne, thanks for the note about the Lake Avenue Cafe. I haven't been in two summers, so it's good to get a more current opinion.

            3. I've also forgotten the name of the restaurant over on Barker Island in Superior. But it's great. Wonderful, fresh white fish. And a great whitefish soup. It had been recommended on the Slow Food - Lake Superior web site. Just find Barker Island and it's there.

              1. Thanks, everyone, for these fantastic suggestions. I wouldn't want to starve up North!

                Thanks you, too, for the clarification on Minnesota Point vs. Park Point--I thought maybe Park Point was a certain part of Minnesota Point, I didn't realize it was just the local name of the same place.


                1. Definitely go to the Boathouse on Barker's Island in Superior. My favorite dishes there are the lake trout and the white fish. I also love their Lake Superior chowder. Just take the long bridge over to Superior and bear to the left on Marina Drive. Eventually you come to Barker's Island.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: shoo bee doo

                    Here's the link.

                    Boathouse Restaurant
                    300 Marina Dr, Superior, WI 54880

                  2. Just returned from 5 days in the Duluth area. My thoughts are that the New Scenic Cafe is by far the top restaurant we visited. Great menu. Try the Tuna Tacos as a starter. The entrees all very flavorful. We had the the Halibut and the Lamb Shank. Desserts were also great especially the pies and the Polenta Pound cake. the atmosphere is informal and the service excellent. The next night we went to Nokomios. Also very good but we enjoyed Scenic better, The Nokomis dining room is lovely with great views of the Lake. Our starters were the Pheasant salad and the Tuna Sashimi Pizza. Both excellent. The entrees were the Osso Buco and the Elk. Both good but lacking in flavor and did not measure up to Scenic. My recs would be to go to Nokomis for a lunch (the menu is outstanding ) and then to Scenic Cafe for dinner. Both are located about 8- 10 miles north of Duluth or a 15 minute drive.

                    We also went to VaBene and were underwhelmed. More flash than substance with pastas and paninis. The Black Bear Grill and Bar was wonderful for a casual meal in a very nice setting. We also ate at Grandma's saloon and had a nice burger an the very best onion rings ever.

                    There are lots of excellent choices in the Duluth area and you will not be disappointed.


                    1 Reply
                    1. re: SoDakPirate

                      Ouch ... I'm starting to feel bad for Va Bene. I've only had their pastas (usually good) and their pizza (once or twice...it was okay). I think it'd be pretty hard for them to screw up a pasta there, considering that the customer chooses the ingredients.

                      Yes, Blackwoods is a local chain (I believe there are three locations). Lots of good memories - not of food, but when I was in grade school, the Blackwoods / AmericInn in Proctor was "the place" for birthday pool parties.

                      If you're looking for pizza, I would suggest Sammy's in West Duluth. It's a part of the local culture. And going there brings you into a part of town that tourists rarely visit. They also have pasta. V.I.P. Pizza, another local micro-chain, is really good as well...they have locations in West Duluth, Superior, and East Duluth (right by Sarah's Table). At least some of the locations are take-out only.

                      Black Woods Grill & Bar
                      Duluth, MN, USA, Duluth, MN

                      VIP Vintage Italian Pizza
                      1830 E 8th St, Duluth, MN 55812

                    2. REPORT, PART 1 OF 6

                      Thank you, everyone, for your wonderful recommendations. We didn’t get to try them all, alas, partly because after our first day of buzzing about Duluth in our car, which was more frazzling than relaxing, we parked the car for the duration and only visited places to which we could cycle or walk, since we had gorgeous weather and that lovely Park Point address for a brief time. But, we have many on our list for next time! Here are my thoughts on the places we did visit, in no particular order.

                      HELL’S KITCHEN (Canal Park, Duluth MN)—(breakfast) I’m an HK novice, as I haven’t been to the original Minneapolis location. The Duluth HK serves all three meals (including dinner) and has a full bar. The restaurant seems cavernous to me--huge. The interior walls are black, with red accents, and adorned with prints of Ralph Steadman art (I understand the MPLS location has an original Steadman piece over the fireplace) and Far Side cartoons. The décor was a little heavy on the “Hell” theme, I thought (I prefer my breakfast places to be bright and sunny), but who cares if the chow is good. We ordered (for two of us to share): a bowl (!) of the famous mahnomin porridge (cream, with wild rice with dried blueberries, sweetened cranberries and roasted hazelnuts, drizzled with warm maple syrup); sourdough toast (so we could try the housemade peanut butter); and lemon-ricotta hotcakes (pancakes made with grated lemon zest & whole milk ricotta cheese, dusted with powdered sugar, and garnished with various fresh berries &, on the side, maple syrup.) Everything I tasted was decadent, flavorful and prepared with high-quality ingredients, but too rich for me “as a meal.” The porridge is described as being “drizzled” with cream, but, honestly, it was a cream-based breakfast soup (which is what porridge is, of course) –more cream than any other ingredient--and I think a cup of it would be too rich, let alone a bowl. I thought the pancakes were lovely “naked” (well, with just the berries and powdered sugar—that’s hardly naked by typical pancake standards), so I forgot to drizzle on the warm maple syrup. I liked the roasted flavor and the chunky texture of the homemade peanut butter, although, oddly, the first taste of it was almost bitter. We did get a little tub of it (more on this later), as well as the hot chocolate, to go. Nice place for breakfast if you want decadence or for a special occasion, but not a place I could eat at routinely. In order to carry me through the morning, I need a breakfast that is filling, with a reasonable combo of carbs and protein, without being too high in fat. We didn’t have room for the toasted sausage bread, alas. Has anyone tried to order them mail order? I could see needing to have a regular supply of HK peanut butter and wondered how the bread held up to shipping locally if I wanted them to send a loaf along.


                      HK Exterior Shot
                      Mahnomin Porridge
                      Lemon Ricotta Hotcakes
                      Toast + housemade peanut butter (and various jams we didn’t try, alas)



                      7 Replies
                      1. re: The Dairy Queen

                        REPORT, PART 2 OF 6

                        BOATHOUSE RESTAURANT (Barker’s Island, Superior WI)—(dinner) We visited the Boathouse on our "rushing around in our car day..." The interior is decorated in a brightly-colored nautical theme, twinkley white lights adorning the rafters and wall-sized fishing paintings—elegant, yet comfortable. We ordered a cup of the Lake Superior chowder, the smoked brown sugar lake trout (appetizer, with horseradish cream, onions and apple salad), grilled whitefish (with sweet pea risotto, asparagus tips, porcini ice cream, pectin tomato), and whitefish fillet (lightly breaded with lemon-basil potatoes, and broccoli, bacon, walnut and red grape salad). I thought this meal was lovely overall. The chowder was lovely (though unfortunately reminiscent of the morning’s mahnomin porridge at HK—how many cream soups should a person consume in a day?), with chunks of fish and veggies, although it was a thin chowder, rather than thick and chunky. The smoked trout a nice combo of flavors. I chose the grilled whitefish because I couldn’t resist the idea of porcini ice cream—it, as well as the sweet pea risotto were lovely—outshining the whitefish, perhaps. The pectin tomato didn’t belong on the plate, I thought, but was an admirably adventurous attempt and inoffensive. And the breaded whitefish fillet was lovely, too, though the broccoli, bacon, walnut and red grape salad was awfully year Y2K for me. Fine wine list, but no tap beer, unfortunately. Overall, a nice meal with many attempts at being ambitious, some of which succeeded and others of which failed, but not so much so that the whole meal was dismal. I recommend this spot for an elegant, yet not too dressy, dinner out. Very attentive service.

                        I’ll also note that there seems to be a cheese shop next-door “Cheese to Please and Kanine Krunchies”, which might be worth a chow stop if you’re already at the Boathouse. (We only browsed, so I can’t comment on the quality of the cheese—or the Kanine treats!)


                        Sign at Barker Island entrance
                        Boathouse restaurant exterior
                        Lake Superior Chowder
                        Lake trout appetizer

                        More boathouse photos in "report, part 3 of 6" below: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/42938...


                        1. re: The Dairy Queen

                          REPORT PART 4 OF 6

                          FITGERS BREWHOUSE (Duluth, MN)—(lunch) On a previous visit, we’d tried the ice cream float with the housemade root beer, so, we had to stop again, but, I was devastated to learn they had run out of the root beer for the day. Oh well—since they didn’t have any fresh ice tea, I just ordered a pop and the house-made wild rice burger, which was surprisingly delicious, topped with cheddar cheese, sprouts, tomatoes, onions and flavored mayo on a hearty bun. The fries were battered and deep-fried--fine. My dining companion ordered a pub burger which was blanketed with Swiss cheese and I’m not sure what else. It was fine—nothing spectacular but perfectly acceptable. Robust selection of house-made brews on tap (which, combined with the housemade root beer, is the real reason to dine at Fitgers), maybe Orange Julius will pop in to comment. We opted for “outdoor” dining, which turns out to be roadside, not lakeside, dining, unfortunately. Also, this place seemed surprisingly vegetarian-friendly.


                          GRANDMA’S SALOON & GRILL (Canal Park, Duluth MN)—(dinner) Grandma’s is one of many “Paulucci” restaurants in Canal Park in Duluth (i.e., Jeno Paulucci of Chung King and pizza rolls fame--other Paulucci restaurants in Duluth are the sport’s garden, Angie’s Cantina, Bellisios, and anything else with the “Grandma’s” moniker. Many credit Paulucci with revitalizing “Canal Park,” transforming the run-down warehouse district into the bustling tourist destination it is today.) I visited Grandma’s in Duluth a year or two ago (as well as the one in Minneapolis, which has a slightly different menu) and remembered liking their wild rice with chicken dish, along with the tacky, cluttered “antiquey” decor. This time, I tried the wild Cajun chicken dish, which was andouille sausage and chicken, among other things, in a cream sauce over wild rice. I regret to report that the dish was almost inedibly salty: I’m guessing the sausage was the culprit. Also, I wish the chicken in the dish were more of the shredded nature than in cherry tomato sized chunks. I did enjoy the Italian wedding soup that came with my meal—carrots, sausage balls, and orzo (I think). My dining companion had the wild walleye shore lunch platter, and thought it was good for the typical “pan fried walleye” preparation.


                          Fitgers Wild rice burger
                          Fitgers Pub Burger
                          Grandma’s Exterior
                          Grandma’s Exterior


                          1. re: The Dairy Queen

                            REPORT, PART 5 OF 6

                            AMAZING GRACE BAKERY & CAFÉ (Canal Park, Duluth MN) –We just stopped in for a loaf of French bread to go—though not the crusty bread we were hoping for, back at our little beach house, it made a lovely delivery vehicle for peanut butter toast with HK peanut butter as the star.


                            BELLISIO’s (Canal Park, Duluth, MN)—(dinner) I was a bit skeptical about this place knowing it’s a Paulucci property, but it was within walking distances, and our trusty Duluth ‘hound tvdxer recommended it, so we took the leap of faith and were pleasantly surprised. They were fully reserved for dinner on a weeknight: the only available seating was on the patio, which is what we preferred anyway. They brought out some nice bread, then poured olive oil and ground out some fresh pepper. I ordered the “mixed grill” special, which was portabella mushrooms, summer squash, and shrimp over mixed greens and rosemary potatoes. Nice and light—exactly what I was looking for. My dining companion ordered the rigatoni balsamico, which was described as rigatoni al dente with crumbled Italian sausage, marinara sauce, balsamic vinegar reduction, spinach, parme cheese, and garlic. It appeared that they instead substituted bits of pork roast (also on the menu) for the sausage—which was even tastier than we hoped. Nice meal overall, given the venue.


                            Amazing Grace, Exterior
                            Bellisio’s Sign
                            Bellisio's mixed grill entrée
                            Bellisio's rigatoni entrée


                            1. re: The Dairy Queen

                              REPORT PART 6 OF 6

                              SIR BENEDICTS TAVERN (Duluth, MN)—(lunch) Sir Benedicts is just off the paved lake trail and made a perfect stop for us to hop off our bikes. It’s counter-service only. My companion ordered the Italian Stallion (pastrami+provolone and sprouts and tomatoes and such, plus flavored mayo) sandwich special (he ordered a half sandwich, and while the sandwich was accompanied by a handful of potato chips—not British style chips by the way—and a crunchy dill pickle spear, the ½ sandwich turned out to be not quite enough), while I ordered the British Dip sandwich (ie. French dip sandwich.) I’d wanted to order the ½ sandwich + cup of soup special and get also the English Onion soup, but, alas, the British Dip sandwich wasn’t among those eligible for the soup special. We sat at one of the umbrella tables on the patio and admired the big lake as we ate our meal. The lunchmeat was ordinary, but the bread was thick and fluffy, and the veggies were crisp. It wasn’t the best sandwich shop I’ve ever patronized, but it might be the very good sandwich shop with the best view I’ve patronized. Good beer list with several on top. I noticed they also carry Buddy’s (of New Ulm, MN) strawberry, orange, orange cream and grape sodas. After having eaten there, I later learned (while reading up on the Congdon Murder trial, which briefly captivated me after our Glensheen Mansion Tour) that Sir Benedict’s Tavern was were the attorneys met while hammering out Rogers Caldwell’s plea agreement. I felt like just like a local, being able to imagine the place.

                              (Sir Benedicts is quite the live blue grass music venue—be aware of bluegrass music blasting forth upon clicking on this link http://www.myspace.com/sirbenedicts


                              Grocery shopping—in keeping with patronizing only places that we could walk or cycle to, we did our shopping at the Duluth Super One grocery store—their parking lot sure has a fantastic Lake Superior view! We picked up some lovely Lake Superior trout there to grill back at the beach house. They also had a decent organics section. They also offered frozen pasties--which we forgot to come back for (we had hoped we might trip across some fresh pasties elsewhere, but had planned to come back for the frozen variety as a last resort)--that's a genuiune taste of Northern Minnesota for ya! They had porketta, too--didn't try that either, alas. We didn’t need to check out the produce since we’d brought our CSA produce along…

                              Also, there is a little market+gas station on Park Point called Bay Side Market. According to an article in “The Breeze” (Park Point’s neighborhood newsletter), it’s been in the same family for 35 years and the guy who owns it, Dick Gajewski has been a meat cutter and sausage maker since he was 18, so they do sell their house-made sausages, as well as various meats (beef, pork, chicken), deli sandwiches, and “deli salads.” They also have other staples like milk, eggs, bread, produce, daily newspaper, etc. If you’re picnicking, barbequing or staying on Park Point or Canal Park, it could be a great stop for you to stock up. It’s the only grocery store on Park Point and, apparently, one of only 2 “small” grocery stores in Duluth (the other being on 1st Avenue East and 4th Street.) It’s for sale, but Mr. Gajewski wants to sell it to someone who will continue to operate it as a neighborhood grocery rather than turn it into new condos (of which there is no shortage on Park Point) . Unfortunately, we’d already stocked up at Super One before checking this place out, but it seemed like such a great little spot, I wished we’d stopped there first.

                              Sir Benedicts sign
                              Sir Benedicts Exterior
                              Sir Benedicts sandwiches (British dip in foreground, Italian Stallion in background)
                              Bay Side Market+Gas station on Park Point

                              Oh, and, once we were back in Duluth, I realized I'd previously been to Northern Waters Smokehaus (in Canal Park--the same building as Amazing Grace Bakery), but had forgotten--I love that place for picking up smoked great lakes fishes "to go" and various picnic type essentials. Sadly, I was pretty "fished" out by the time we got there and couldn't even bear to buy fish to go at this point. Oh well. Next time, we'll swing by there, first.

                              My dining companion had previously been to the Portland Malt Shoppe and had wonderful memories of it--it would have made a terrific bicycling/walking around the lake path stop, had we not ventured into Fitgers or Sir Ben's.


                          2. re: The Dairy Queen

                            REPORT, PART 3 OF 6 (sorry this one is out of order...)

                            More Boathouse Photos

                            Breaded whitefish entrée (that big scoop is the lemon-basil potatoes--they didn't photograph that prettily, unfortunately. They were tasty, though!)

                            Grilled whitefish entrée (notice the little scoop of porcini ice cream!)


                          3. re: The Dairy Queen

                            Adding some places links

                            I can't get the Super One Foods (with the fantastic view of Lake Superior) link to come up, but, here's the address:

                            Plaza Super One
                            15 S. 13th Ave. East
                            Duluth, MN 55804
                            Phone: 218-724-6427


                            Northern Waters Smokehaus
                            394 S Lake Ave, Duluth, MN 55802

                            Grandma's Saloon & Grill
                            425 S Lake Ave, Duluth, MN 55802

                            Bayside Market
                            1901 Minnesota Ave, Duluth, MN 55802

                            Cheese to Please & Kanine Krunchies
                            310 Belknap St, Superior, WI 54880

                            1. re: The Dairy Queen

                              Thank you for your thorough and comprehensive report(s).

                              I've had the Rigatoni Balsamico at Bellisio's before and loved it. Other good choices there are the Pappardelle Pasta Puttanesca, the Rigatoni alla Bolognese, and their gnocchi. Last time I was there I ordered their Italian sausage risotto and I was a bit unimpressed; the sausages were overly spicy and overpowered the risotto's other ingredients, which alone were delicious. Always love the foccacia bread they bring out when you get there.

                              Grandma's is a true Duluth institution, run by the Jeno Paulucci (a true rags-to-riches story; born into poverty in the Iron Range) empire. Just for a little bit of information, the "Grandma's family of restaurants" includes Bellisio's and Little Angie's in Canal Park, the "Great American Bar & Grill" in the Miller Hill Mall (by appearances alone, this place passes very well for a major national chain), and of course Grandma's, now with multiple locations: Canal Park (where you ate), West Duluth, the Miller Hill Mall area, Minneapolis, Fargo, and Virginia . I think I've also had the Cajun Wild Chicken at least once, but it wasn't too salty when I got it. Their tetrazzini is good. Locally, I know that Grandma's is a popular place for college students to go to and drink; my college often runs vans from the dorms to that restaurant. (I live at home though, thankfully - more money for Chowhounding!).

                              I noticed you went to Super One. This is where my family has always done their grocery shopping; Super One is actually a locally-run chain, by the Hermantown-based Miners Co. I'm not sure about this, but I think the flagship location is in the Miller Hill Mall area. We usually go to the West Duluth location because it is closer. They currently have 28 locations from Grand Forks, ND to Escanaba, MI. We now have major national chains in the area, Super Wal-Mart and Cub Foods, but Super One has been able to hold their own very well.

                              And yes, the Bayside Market is a cool little place - great for when you're biking across Park Point and need some rehydration. Never knew it was in the same family for 35 years; as somebody who works for a family business, I like to hear that kind of thing. The other "small grocery store" is the tiny Romano's downtown. I'm guessing they get a lot of their business from the old folks' home next door.