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What's new Duluth MN and Superior WI?

It’s getting hot in the Twin Cities, again, which means it’s ready for me to plan my annual escape to the cool beauty of Duluth and Superior. We’ll still have our bikes along and will again be staying in that Park Point/Canal Park area.

• Anything new and exciting developments in the chow-scene in the last year or so?
• Any uphill or downhill alerts?
• Hell’s Kitchen was new last time I was there—has anyone tried the dinner there yet?
• That cute little family-owned market on Park Point, Bayside Market, where they make their own sausages etc.-- is it still open?
• The funny cheese shop/souvenir shop on Barker's Island next to the Boathouse Restaurant, is it any good?
• I keep hearing good things (here on chowhound) about Russ Kendall's Smokehouse--is that in/near/en route to Duluth?

As I (perhaps over) documented in this thread from last year, our stops included http://www.chowhound.com/topics/429382

• Hell's Kitchen (Canal Park, Duluth MN)—loved it, of course
• Boathouse Restaurant (Barker’s Island, Superior WI)—enjoyed this very much
• Fitgers Brewhouse (Duluth, MN)—not bad, and easily accessible by bike
• Grandma's Saloon and Grill (Canal Park, Duluth MN)—mostly not great, I do like some of their wild rice dishes and it is a Duluth institution
• Amazing Grace Bakery and Cafe (Canal Park, Duluth MN)—didn’t love it as much as I wanted to, but will still probably stop again
• Bellisio's (Canal Park, Duluth, MN)—not great, but not bad and I’m a sucker for a nice patio
• Sir Benedict's Tavern (Duluth, MN)—fun stop with our bikes

Places that we wanted to try but get a chance to:New Scenic Café, Nokomis, Portland Malt Shoppe, Chester Creek Café, Starvin' Marvin's, Mexico Lindo in downtown Cloquet, Positively Third Street. Are these all still worth exploring?

And, I got some great tips for the route from debbie421’s excellent “en route to Duluth from the Twin Cities” post, but any additional suggestions for the route to and fro would most certainly be welcome! http://www.chowhound.com/topics/53060... (Congrats to diesel, by the way, for the addition of a new chowpuppy to her household).

As always, thank you for sharing your thoughts!


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  1. Not new, but definitely worth a stop - Northern Waters Smokehaus. It's in the same building as Amazing Grace, but on the other side.

    They have fabulous buffalo pastrami (at least, they did last year) and smoked salmon (I like the cajun version). They also have imported cheeses and fancy soda pop. You can buy meat and cheese by the pound, or buy made-to-order sandwiches for a picnic.

    Me, I would get soup from Amazing Grace (LOVE the tomato basil) and a sandwich from Northern Waters - add some fudge from across the street, and wow would that be a picnic!


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

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

    3 Replies
    1. re: AnneInMpls

      Also fun at the smokehouse is a smoked salmon cream cheese spread. I've been trying to replicate it back home. We had a delightful dinner at the Scenic, just 10 minutes north of Duluth, a very creative menu.

      1. re: stymie

        stymie, I don't know if it's the same dish you're referring to, but a recipe for New Scenic Cafe's "Northern Waters Smoked Salmon Appetizer" (it calls for Boursin Cheese!) is included in the recently published "Minnesota Home Grown Cookbook." Several of their recipes are, actually. Here's a link to a thread where I talk about a recipe I cooked from the book (a recipe from Alma, actually, that I completely flubbed due to my own stupidity, not in any way Alex Roberts' fault) with a photo of the book. For a mere $30, you could have this book and, perhaps, the smoked salmon spread recipe you seek to duplicate!

        Just look at the first photo and ignore the rest http://www.chowhound.com/topics/52903...


      2. re: AnneInMpls

        Ah, I love Northern Waters Smokehaus (how could I have left it off my list?!), but I've only had their fish before. Last time I was in Duluth I was so "fished" out that I just didn't feel like I could stop in at Northern Waters. But, this time, I'm going to try to stop in EARLY in my trip so that doesn't happen. And I didn't know about the buffalo pastrami. That sounds fantastic, thank you!


      3. I usually make it to Duluth once a month or so. Here are a few my thoughts/suggestions.

        I haven't been to HC for dinner, but the whole operation is markedly better than a year ago.

        Restaurant 301 (in the new downtown Sheraton) looks like the closest thing to fine dining in the downtown area.

        Epicurious had a list of top 10 Farm-to-Table Restaurants in the country, and Chester Creek Cafe was on it. It's funny because I lived within a mile of the place for years while I was in college, and I've probably driven past it 100 times, but I've never stopped. I will definitely make it there when I go back up in the next few weeks. Note: The address in the place link is right, but the spot on the map appears to be off.

        Of course, the Anchor in Superior is always a stop for me.

        If you find anything new, let me know.

        Restaurant 301
        301 East Superior Street, Duluth, MN 55803

        3 Replies
        1. re: BigE

          BigE--I haven't heard much about Anchor--can you tell me a bit more about that?

          And is there anything at Restaurant 301 that you particularly recommend?


          1. re: The Dairy Queen

            I haven't been to 301 yet, unfortunately. It only opened about a year ago, and when I go up there (to visit old college friends), none of them are interested in a fine dining dinner.

            In terms of the Anchor, it is...well, it's an experience. It is a dark little dive with all kinds of ambiance. Burgers are their specialty (I recommend the Cashew burger), as are the fries. They cut whole potatoes all day and fry them up. Greasy as can be, but really cheap, and worth the stop. It consistently wins the local 'Best Cheap Eats' awards.

            Don't mind the surly wait staff either.

            1. re: BigE

              The Anchor sounds like it has both good chow and character--my kind of place. Thanks for the tip!


        2. Was back again last month. Ample, tasty lunch at CCC as usual - even bought some used books. Really reasonable lunch on the patio at Bellisio w/generous portions & wonderful waitperson. Dinner at Valentini's Vicino Lago will not be repeated. May as well have been at a bland Italian chain. Waitperson acted as if auditioning for a show. The best we could say - great lake view. Ledge Rock in Two Harbors trip before was meh standard fare. By far best experience in last year has been Nokomis, which we'll definitely hit again in August.

          3 Replies
          1. re: Taralli

            Seems like we'd better move CCC a bit higher on our list! Just curious, is it a place you might make a bicycling destination from Park Point/Canal Park?


            1. re: The Dairy Queen

              A 10 block pedal straight up the hill might be challenging, but the #11 bus from the Transit station on Superior St. will drop you right out front. I also meant to mention Va Bene - a cheerful, bright little Italian place on Superior St. w/open kitchen and great deck over the lake. Generous salads, pastas, panini & desserts w/b&w license. http://www.vabenecaffe.com/

              1. re: Taralli

                Yikes! Well, we'd better plan to drive to CCC if we can fit it in...


          2. Russ Kendall's is a few miles north of Duluth, partway to Two Harbors.

            The best direction is to head north on Highway 61 until the road curves under an overpass. There's a sign to slow for the turn -- do that because Russ Kendall's is just beyond the curve, on the left-hand side.

            1 Reply
            1. There is a new place run by the same people as Fitger's; it's called Burrito Union. The burritos are totally non-authentic but good in their own way. Just a warning-- the guac is not really up to par. Some decent salsas, though. They have breakfast burritos which I have not tried, but look promising. Plus a nice selection of Fitger's beer on tap.

              I second (or third or fourth) the rave for Northern Waters Smokehaus- I got a great sandwich to go involving salmon, pickled ginger, wasabi mayo, and sundry veggies, kind of a sushi-themed banh mi. Delish!

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

              3 Replies
              1. re: KristinT013

                That's okay, burritos aren't really authentically Mexican anyway, unless you mean an authentically San Francisco Mission burrito, and frankly, I would kill for a good San Francisco Mission-style burrito.

                At Burrito Union, do they make the burrito to order in front of you by first blast-steaming a flour tortilla in front of you, then layering rice, beans (your choice black or refried or pinto), then your choice of meat (or veggies), then the cheese and then the salsa+hot sauce, and, optionally guac and sour cream?

                EDIT: Okay, I've just looked at their website, and I completely understand what you mean by non-authentic--with the seasoned sour cream and rice pilaf, etc. http://www.burritounion.com/ Still, it sounds like it could be fun and delicious, even if not "authentic." Do you know if they make their beans and salsas etc. in house?

                On wow! That sandwich at Northern Waters sounds fantastic! Is the bread on their sandwiches pretty good or am I better off assembling my own with bread I pick up from Amazing Grace and meats/fish from Northern Waters?


                1. re: The Dairy Queen

                  I've only ever done table service at burrito union, so I'm not sure of the assembly line process (it is more assembly-line-esque if you get takeout). They have four set burrito types (veg, chicken, pork, and beef-- but with funny names!) each with a specific flavor profile-- I have tried all the non-veg ones and loved the chicken and pork, but found the adobo sauce on the beef too sweet. You can also build your own with the available toppings.

                  The sandwich I had from Northern Waters was on a perfectly respectable baguette-- not quite Rustica level but as good as you get at any other decent bakery around the TC.

                  1. re: KristinT013

                    Sounds like Burrito Union is not SF Mission style, but it still sounds interesting nevertheless. Thanks again!

                    Northern Waters might have to be our go-to spot for sandwiches to take on a picnic...though, last time we were pretty happy with getting bread from Amazing Grace and housemade peanut butter from Hell's Kitchen to take along...


              2. >> Places that we wanted to try ... ... ... Positively Third Street. Are these all still worth exploring?

                Positively Third Street Bakery is SUCH a blast from the past for me! It reminds me of the old hippie-healthfood places of the 70s (in my youth). Everything I have tried - bread, oatmeal-raisin cookies, brownies - was extremely whole grain and hearty.

                You may have seen and/or tried their bread - it is available (or was) in area co-ops. (I've bought it at Seward Co-op.) It's a very dense, heavy, whole-wheat loaf with a somewhat handmade-looking paper label slipped between the bread and the plastic bag. (I hadn't made the connection, but I recognized that label as soon as I stepped in the bakery.)

                If you like whole-grain treats, you'll like this place. Me, I love their bread and really liked the cookies, but the brownie was too earnest for me...


                1 Reply
                1. re: AnneInMpls

                  HA! I love the description of brownies as "too earnest." Hmmm...I'm still following my Weight Watchers "core plan"--I wonder if I should skip Positively Third Street this time around?


                2. My buddy got married on the Vista Queen a couple summers ago, and we took off from Barker's. At the time, they were remodeling, and they only had summer sausage, cheese curds, that type of thing. Maybe they have more now?

                  I had never heard of Chester Creek Cafe until tonight - I grew up in Duluth (now in PHX). Sounds amazing.

                  Definitely check out Russ Kendall's - best smoked ciscoes ever.

                  And maybe some Sammy's Pizza?

                  I hate to admit it but I'm kind of jealous!

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: azhotdish

                    Can you tell me a bit more about Sammy's pizza, azhotdish? I know tvdxer recommended it last year. (BTW, I've always wondered about your handle, but now that I know you grew up in Duluth and now live in AZ, I get it!) I'm on Weight Watchers Core Plan right now, which means I've had almost no pizza for months (a couple of times we've ordered Pizza Luce with friends and I've indulged in a slice)--but, we'll be cycling and on-vacation and might be ready to take a nibble of pizza, if it's really excellent. So, is Sammy's the kind of pizza I should break my diet for?


                    1. re: The Dairy Queen

                      Definitely not worth breaking the diet for, as you're obviously serious about it, but the square-cut is not something we do not see down here so I love it when I go back. Sammy's is a local fav - my parents ate it, and they passed on the love. Greasy, no-frills pizza. Please report back on your trip!

                      1. re: azhotdish

                        We love greasy no-frills pizza, too. Well, if we're in a classic MN cracker crust square cut pizza mood, we'll stop at Sammy's!


                      2. re: The Dairy Queen

                        I think it's worth breaking your diet for. I've raved about Sammy's on this board for years as my hometown, red sauce pizza. I've been wondering what outsiders' opinions of the pizza was -- because I've eaten great pizza here in the US and throughout Europe -- even Naples -- and still I go back up North and relish going to Sammy's.

                        The original pizza place started in Hibbing in the '50's and has branched out to neighboring towns and cities. There's one in Coon Rapids on Foley Blvd.

                        So, TDQ, I hope you'll try it. A small, thin crust one wouldn't hurt your diet too much. And I'll be very, very curious to hear what you think about it.

                        Shoo-bee-doo :-)

                    2. i'm hoping to go to duluth this fall so thanks for all the info :)

                      1. So, several folks in this thread have referenced smoked ciscoes. Forgive my relatively-new-to-a-Great-Lakes-state self, but I don't know if I've ever had a cisco. I had to look it up! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cisco_(f... If I can't make it to Russ Kendall's, do they have them at Northern Waters Smokehaus and are they good? I have the feeling, based on KTFoley's info, Russ Kendall's may be too far out of our range for this trip.


                        1 Reply
                        1. re: The Dairy Queen

                          I wouldn't go all the way to Russ' for them. You can find them in the supermarkets and certainly at NWS.

                        2. OK - yet another vote for the Northern waters - the daily specials (today will be Pulled pork on a bun with cole slaw) are great (hot buffalo pastrami on Thurs?) are great - no you can't really produce these as well your self.

                          I think a little clarification on finding Russ Kendall's, follow "Scenic" 61 not the expressway about 10 miles, then the curve under the rail bridge and it's on the left in the twon of Knife River. Grab a package of crackers, head down to the Knife River Marina, there's a nice protected beach to the left after you cross the tracks (again) and eat it all on the beach. (or backtrack to Stoney point) Also in Knife, Emily's has been being remodeled all winter - I expect it to open any time now - expected to be a sandwich shop now owned by "a woman from the 'Cities."

                          I woudn't send anyone down to Grandma's except for the atmosphere and boat watching - Bellisio's is definitely the best of the Paulucci properties due to Micky's personal interest.

                          My mother really loves the seafood at Le Bistro in Superior - their preparation avoids the usual overcooking of seafood that is all about us in the Midwest.

                          I live halfway to Two Harbors on the shore and advise Nokomis for the best view of the lake, Ledge Rock for sitting out on their hidden deck for wine and apps, Scenic for the food, Mocha Moose for the non chain coffee, cast of character's and WiFi.

                          Sammy's is a NE MN institution - Square cut (is this where this came from in the Metro?) faily thin crust, mild sauce. Best not to get too many toppings - they are one of the few that still have anchovies available - as the crust can't take it. Gourment? No. Beeter than the chains? Yes. My Brooklyn born co-worker won't touch it though as he doesn't hink it qualifies as pizza.

                          Midi, the new restaurant in the Fitger's complex left me cold - too many fillers/carbs with the meal. And I have heard mixed reviews of Valentini's - good buzz on the lunch - not so on dinner. I haven't been, but the original used to be a classic red sauce place on the range.

                          I haven't seen anything on the Whistling Bird in Gilbert - yes the range - yes, an hour plus away from Duluth - but totally unexpected and interesting - a Jamacian place with good food in a funky atmosphere.

                          A bit closer on the way to da 'range, the K&B Drive in on 53 nearly to Elevelth - large menu - drive up service, good pasties. Better pasties by heading to Grand Rapids to the pasty shop on US 2 on the west side of downtown.

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: toshio

                            Grandma's may not be worth a special trip, but the caramel apple pie is fantastic. The walleye sandwich isn't bad either. Their burgers are passable - too bad they closed Nick's!

                            1. re: toshio

                              Thanks for all of these terrific tips, toshio. I'm still a little bit MN-geography challenged. Would the K&B drive-in on 53 be en route to Duluth from the Twin Cities?

                              Also, would Gilbert be en route to Duluth from the Twin Cities? Jamaican sounds very appealing!


                              1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                No, both towns are over an hour past Duluth to the NNW.

                            2. I don't have time to review the latest replies carefully right now, but let me just say, all of the fabulous suggestions I'm getting, from familiar and new voices alike, are making me so excited for this trip! Such great chowhounding going on to the North!

                              While I'm at it, any suggestions for Cloquet and Carlson in addition to the Mexican place tvdxer recommended last year?

                              Have a great weekend everyone!


                              1 Reply
                              1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                The BlackBear Casino has a wonderful buffet

                              2. Thank you, as always, for all of the wonderful and generous tips you all gave. Our visit to Duluth, though sadly short, was packed with wonderful chow-stops. In my usual flawed approach to chowhounding, I couldn't visit as many "new" (to me) places because I wanted to make sure I'd fit in my favorites from previous visits, so, there are still many places I want to visit in Duluth, Carlton and Cloquet that will have to wait for another time.

                                Yays and nays for places I did get a chance to visit this time around:

                                (New to me): Black Bear Casino Breakfast Buffet in Carlton: nay, food not quite warm enough and uninspired. They did offer "pancake on a stick" (or something similar), though, for those of you who might be craving this delicacy at times of year other than State Fair time.

                                (New to me:) Buffalo Bar, Duluth (it lists its address as Duluth, so, I guess I'll have to trust them, though, we visited it from the bike path just a little bit out of Carlton as well as drove there from Carlton)--Yay--we tried both the lunch and the weekend breakfast buffet. Though not knock your socks off amazing, we thought the lunch was pretty good and were impressed that they offered some reasonably healthy options in addition to standard bar fare. We opted for an order of sweet potato fries to share and then split their sweet and sour grilled chicken entree, which came with two grilled chicken breasts. Good value, healthy and though not extraordinary, nice.

                                We also tried their all you can eat breakfast buffet (available weekends only, I think) and found it many times better than the one at the Black Bear Casino. The scrambled eggs were a bit fluffy, rather than rubbery, they offered house-baked bread for toast, and made these adorable little cinnamon rolls. Surprisingly great chicken fried steak (though, the portions were tiny. Of course, you could take as many as you wanted, given it was an all you can eat affair). Pretty darn good for a camp-ground dining lodge. If you're staying in Carlton on a weekend, skip the Black Bear Casino breakfast buffet and drive the extra 7 minutes to the Buffalo House.

                                (New to me:) Gordy's Hi-Hat in Cloquet: yay! First, I have to say, I was really torn between visiting Gordy's and, after reading shoo-bee-doo's passionate post, Sammy's (pizza), but because Gordy's serves pizza burgers, which is a minor obsession of mine, Gordy's won out. The cheeseburger was the perfect roadside cheeseburgers and the banana shake was delicious. The onion rings, however, to quote my dining companion, "Were the least interesting thing I've eaten in 2008." They weren't awful, but they weren't great. The portion was huge, though. If you must order this, get it to share. The pizza burger was nice, a burger smothered in red sauce and mozzarella, but, sadly, not the deep fried pizza patty of my childhood, so, I'm still on the search.

                                (New to me) Russ Kendall's Smokehouse, Old Hwy 61 just before the bridge, Two Harbors. Yay. We bought some smoked lake trout and smoked herring (aka smoked ciscos) for picnicking and were not disappointed. Delicious.

                                (Dinner service new to me): Hell's Kitchen, Duluth: pretty good. We'd been to HK Duluth (and MPLS) for breakfast/lunch before, but had never been for dinner, which the Duluth location also offers. I would say that it's really a lunch menu (i.e., very sandwichy) with a handful of dinner entrees tossed in. While delicious, the dinner menu wasn't extensive enough to draw us back a second night during our stay, though we considered it. We shared the gi-normous shrimp cocktail appetizer (impressively massive, though kinda tough and not that flavorful, prawns with 3 fantastic house-made dips), bison chuck steak, and the Jamaican-jerk charred sea bass. All portions were very generous. The housemade dips that came with the sweet potato fries were lovely. The house-beer "Red Devil Lager" was "meh." Of course, we bought a jar of the house peanut butter for our morning toast.

                                We passed that cute little cafe across from Northern Waters Smokehaus on our way "home" from HK and kinda wished we'd stopped there for dinner. It looked cute and we were surprised they offered dinner service. I think that place is call Lake Avenue Cafe.

                                (Old favorite) Fitger's Brewpub--yay yay yay--this is the fourth or fifth time I've been to Fitger's now and I have to say, their wild rice burger is one of my all-time favorite dishes. They make it in-house and it really is crave-worthy. I don't know why, but I love this place. It does a great job with both standard bar food and healthy food, with many vegetarian options. Even though their patio is not lake-side, we love how relaxed it is and have never been disappointed with the people watching. We've seen a man in a pirate shirt, another in a clown-nose, numerous bikers (towing camping trailers) and packing growlers, and a woman who seriously contemplated trading up one (just one!) of her sandals for an abandoned birkie kicked under a park bench. We love that we can ride our bikes along Superior to get there. We love the house brews, which the staff is well-trained in describing. Love love love it. Am working on knocking off their wild-rice burger recipe in my own kitchen to tide me over until my next visit to Duluth. I think Fitger's is my favorite stop in Duluth.

                                (old favorite) Bellisio's: yay: I'm pretty dismayed that I enjoy this restaurant, which is part of the "Grandma's/Palucci" empire, but, nevertheless, we've dined on their patio twice now and enjoyed it both times. It's a bit overpriced, but the portions are at least generous enough that you don't leave hungry. It's hardly "gourmet" cutting edge dining, or "authentic" Italian, but they keep it pretty simple. I loved my mixed grilled veggies and prawns and my dining companion enjoyed his "rack of pork". Their olive oil/rosemary potatoes are awesome.

                                Oh, we also picked up some pasties from Tower, MN from the Super 1 Grocery Store (one of the most awesome parking lot views in Minnesota!) and thought it was quite lovely.

                                Thank you again, everyone.

                                Photo #1: Buffalo House
                                Photo #2: Sweet and sour chicken, Buffalo House
                                Photo #3: Wild rice soup (accompanied the S&S chicken) Buffalo house
                                Photo #4 breakfast buffet Buffalo house


                                8 Replies
                                1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                  More photos:

                                  Photo 1 Russ Kendall's Smokehouse (view as you 'round the bend from Duluth)
                                  Photo 2 Russ Kendall's smoked lake trout
                                  Photo 3 Hell's Kitchen "big" shrimp cocktail
                                  Photo 4 Hell's Kitchen Jamaican jerk seabass


                                  1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                    Photo 1 Hell's Kitchen Chuck Steak
                                    Photo 2 Fitger's wild rice burger
                                    Photo 3 Fitger's chicken salad
                                    Photo 4 Bellisio's "rack of pork"


                                    1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                      Photo #1 Bellisio's mixed vegetable grill
                                      Photo #2 Gordy's Hi-Hat
                                      Photo #3 Gordy's pizza burger, onion rings
                                      Photo #4 Gordy's banana shake, cheeseburger, pizza burger


                                      1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                        Nice report, TDQ. You really got the most out of your time, didn't you? I'll be getting back up there some weekend in August.

                                        For as many times as I pass the exit, I've never gone to Gordy's. I think that is on my list for next time. Beyond that, I've been to all the places you just went, and I agree pretty much across the board.

                                        One place I forgot to mention for next time you go is the New London Cafe. It's on 47th and Superior Street in Lakeside (North of downtown), if you are headed up 61 out of/into town. They have a nice Sunday brunch buffet. Otherwise, my favorite is the Wild Rice burger and sweet potato fries. I'm not sure how it compares to the Fitgers' version, as I've never had that one.

                                        1. re: BigE

                                          Oh no! Now I have to try that wild rice burger and compare it to Fitger's, too. I've become obsessed!

                                          RE: Gordy's--it's just me, but I wouldn't go out of my way for Gordy's, but if I were driving past, I most certainly would stop just for the banana shake. The burgers are good in a low-brow sort of way. The atmosphere is adorably classic. Don't bother with the onion rings. I think MSPD said not to bother with the fries...


                                          1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                            Hmmm...after reading one of your posts below, it seems as though the Wild Rice burger at Fitgers has no beef at all? The one at New London is a beef/wild rice mixture. Still, darn tasty.

                                            In terms of Gordy's, how far is it off of 35? I never go into Cloquet on my way to Duluth, so it is 'out of the way', but I'd like to try it once.

                                  2. re: The Dairy Queen

                                    TDQ, were you up there on the 25th (Friday) and if so, did you run into any MS TRAM riders? We rode from Two Harbors to Duluth on Friday -- I stopped in Russ Kendall's and downed a big smoked trout tail section for breakfast. It was a refreshing change after a week's worth of PB&Js and gatorade (as well as a couple pasties, some potica and a few other goodies throughout the week).

                                    1. re: MSPD

                                      Sounds like a delicious breakfast. Sadly, no, I wasn't up there on the 25th to cheer the MS TRAM riders on!


                                  3. Wow! Too bad I didn't catch this BEFORE you went!

                                    The only new restaurant I know of since you visited here last is Valentini's Vicino Lago. Haven't tried it yet (nor heard anything about it, quality-wise!).

                                    As for Bayside Market...they've been open forever and don't seem to be closing anytime soon. They're really the only place in Park Point to get groceries, gas, etc.

                                    I like how you tried two places in the Carlton - Cloquet area. The Buffalo House is good in my opinion (and their menu has become much more diverse lately it seems). They also have a campground there interestingly enough. Gordy's Hi-Hat is also great for their pizzaburgers. Another good place around here you should try the next time you're up in the summer (closed the rest of the year) is A & Dubs (NOT to be confused with A&W) - a retro 50's style "drive-in" restaurant that also has good pizzaburgers (and other burgers).

                                    6 Replies
                                    1. re: tvdxer

                                      No worries, tvdxer, I always need recommendations for my next trip up there. I love Duluth and the North Shore. I don't know if we'll get back to Duluth this summer, but we'll be up in that general area again for sure.

                                      Where is A & Dubs? It sounds like the kind of place I would love, especially if they have pizza burgers!


                                      1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                        We just got back from a few days in Duluth. From both friends and online, we checked out the following places:
                                        1. Anchor Bar for burgers. Awesome place, a definite experience. Dark doesn't quite do the description justice. Burgers were very good, but beware of the blue cheese burger. No actual pieces of blue cheese, just sauce and very messy,

                                        2. Sammy's Pizza. We promised a friend who is a diehard Sammy's fan that we would check it out. Very good pizza. Not spectacular, but I'm a big fan of the thin crust, square cut style.

                                        3. Judy's Cafe in Two Harbors. Not a lot of breakfast choices in Duluth. We thought about Hell's Kitchen but got some negative feedback from friends who had been there. And I thought their prices were way too expensive for breakfast. We'd been to Judy's before and it hasn't changed. Just a very comfortable small town diner with very good food.

                                        4. Fitger's. While we didn't eat there, we did drink there. Since we were staying at the Fitger's Inn, it was very convenient. Their beers are excellent, especially the Apricot Wheat.

                                        All and all, a darn fine weekend. And I would highly recommend Fitger's Inn. Beautiful place, great service and perfect location.


                                        1. re: nancyd

                                          Hey Nancy you forgot to mention a few things. If you sit at the right spot at the bar at Fitger's brewhouse you can watch them cook the burgers. Flipping them over several times and pressing every last bit of moisture and flavor out of them with the spatula. What a waste.
                                          And what about the margaritas? At both Baja Billy's and Angies Cantina it seemed that their idea of a good one was make sure the tequila doesn't get in the way of the mix. Good silver tequila never tasted so... wait you couldn't taste the tequila.
                                          Duluth is a beautiful city and a fun place to visit.

                                          1. re: chazmo

                                            I've never had the beef burgers at Fitgers, but the wild rice burgers are to die for. Try those instead.


                                            1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                              Thanks Dairy Queen, after hearing this from several people I did try one a few weeks ago. I don't know if they are to die for but for a non-beef burger it was quite tasty. The chipoltle sauce on it adds a nice kick to the richness of the wild rice pattie.

                                        2. re: The Dairy Queen

                                          Sorry for my delayed response, but....

                                          A & Dubs is located on Grand Ave (actually 3rd St. W., but it becomes Grand Ave. a block or two further west) at the western edge of the Lincoln Park / "West End" neighborhood. If you're taking the freeway, you can get off at the 40th Ave. W. exit, take a right at the stoplights, and proceed about seven blocks. Right past the overhead elevated railroad (the famous divider of West Duluth and the West End) is A & Dubs.

                                          Another good drive-in place for pizzaburgers if you decide to venture further north is off of Highway 53 right before Virginia if I remember correctly. Forgot the name.

                                          A & Dubs
                                          3131 W 3rd St, Duluth, MN 55806

                                      2. Great thread. I timed my annual visit to Duluth to coincide with the Tall ships this weekend. Will be with family Saturday - and three of us went to UMD - so we'll be doing the obligatory Grandma's on Saturday. I'm hanging up there throuogh Monday - interested in going to the New Scenic Cafe - checked their website - couldn't see anything on days/hours they are open - anyone know? What would you recommend off the summer 2008 menu? I'd like to go for dinner Sunday night...

                                        2 Replies
                                        1. re: rp1760

                                          I strongly suggest reservations at the New Scenic Cafe, even on a Sunday night.

                                          1. re: rp1760

                                            Ah. Had a great weekend. Not so much culinary, though. Too crowded to move- was Tall Ships weekend. Spent much time in fabulous room at South Pier Inn - #602....

                                            Hells Kitchen - did take out. Walleye BLT with lemon aioli- loved it. Grandma's for the obligatory onion rings - but it was so crazy busy in the Canal they were out on Saturday for several hours! Was OK- made it later to Pickwick - they have better ORings... Sammy's pizza - my favorite in Duluth. Picnic lunch from Northern Waters Smokehaus in Dewitt Seitz - brown sugar smoked lake trout and beautiful whitefish - along with cheese, olives, crackers - went to dunes at end of Point - was really really good.

                                            Not much of a food report, I know. It was 80 degrees and sunny in Duluth. A complete rarity. I spent well over an hour (as opposed to a minute or two on a dare) in the water. Just didn't have energy at end of long days outside to dine in nice establishments..... :)

                                          2. There's a new wonderful little farm store off the Carlton exit. You get off the exit going North and turn immediate right on a frontage road and go about 7 miles. Take a left at the Green Pastures Dairy Farm. They make their own artisan cheeses.

                                            The new smoked gouda is fantastic. They have a lot of other cheeses and homemade summer sausage.

                                            They also come to the Midtown Farmers market every other week. But it's worth it to stop at the store. It's good to call ahead just to make sure they are open or if they will open up for you.

                                            Here's the web address.


                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: shoo bee doo

                                              Thanks for that great tip. I don't know if you're from the Duluth area, but I am and I never heard about that farm. I'll check it out sometime soon, maybe tomorrow.