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North Shore Scenic Drive: Duluth to Grand Marais, MN (Full)

North Shore Scenic Drive: Duluth to Grand Marais, MN (Full)
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  • North Shore Scenic Drive: Duluth to Grand Marais, MN (Full)

    Post #1 - August 2nd, 2010, 1:30 pm
    Post #1 - August 2nd, 2010, 1:30 pm Post #1 - August 2nd, 2010, 1:30 pm
    Part One: Duluth

    After a night in Madison followed by a days trip up the Mississippi with dinner in the Twin Cities it was Duluth where the trips 2nd day ended and where we would also stay over on Saturday night. We got into Duluth around 9p Friday night and checked into our spot in the downtown area and decided to skip around town and see what was going on. We had a couple stops on the agenda that night including the Fon-Du-Luth Casino in downtown Duluth followed by a night at Fitger's Brewhouse which is Duluth's longest operating brewery.

    a view of Duluth from up top

    The first night was an interesting one in Duluth and the downtown area was filled with some weird people who might of been part of a "house" in the area or something, I'm not sure but the first night gave me a weird impression of the once thriving port city. At the end of the 19th century there were more millionaires in Duluth per capita than anyplace else in the world. I didn't take any tours but many are offered of the Victorian mansions that once could be found all over town. However today it feels like alot of other once thriving Great Lakes Port Cities and that's a place on the decline. Lots of for lease signs downtown in beautiful old built buildings that are starting to decay since they are not used. They have however redone the entire Port area near the water and have bunch of shopping and restaurants and museums and hotels and it was packed the nights we were there, all the hotels were booked. Well the casino was awful, aside from limited gaming options it wasn't a place with the vibe of a Vegas or Caribbean casino and it was in fact depressing and made me leave straight for the brewery which was a short walk away after a bottle of beer.

    Image Image
    I would suggest you piss your money away at the's worth it

    The highlight of the Duluth food/drink stops for me was easily Fitger's Brewhouse which was originally built in 1882 and at the time called Lake Superior Brewery. The company was renamed A. Fitger & Co./ Lake Superior Brewery when the place hired a young brewmaster from Germany named August Fitger, who less than a year into his job purchased half the company. Time has passed but the building has not. The place started selling pop and candy during the roaring 20's prohibition period and then sadly closed its doors during 1972 ending a 115 year tradition. Well that only lasted about 10 years because it was reopened in 1984 but didn't do too well do to the construction of Highway 35. It was then purchased in 1994 by four bigtime business men/beer fans and has been a thriving company since then. Here below is what Wikipedia has to say about the place today.

    "Today Fitger’s is a thriving renovated 1881 brewery, featuring four restaurants, a variety of specialty stores, two night clubs, and various banquet facilities. The brewery is in business as a microbrewery, serving its facility, the Burrito Union(a local restaurant not in the complex)[4], and also offers growlers of beer for delivery or take-out. Fitger’s Inn, Duluth’s only 4 Diamond hotel, now has 62 rooms and suites overlooking Lake Superior. Fitger’s is one of Duluth’s most precious landmarks and continues to be a favorite destination for tourists and the people of Duluth alike."

    Fitger's makes fantastic batches of beer and is a must stop (Duluth, MN)

    I loved this place as did the people with me. We all liked different of beers and were able to find ones that matched our palates perfectly. My easy favorite was the Wildfire Lager brewed with jalapenos, habenero and scotch bonnet it tasted like I was drinking a beer after eating some super spicy jerked chicken and kept me coming back for gulp after gulp right after I had one. The bartender kept asking me if I have had it before every time I ordered because its not for all but it was for me. After a couple hours at the bar (didn't make it to the dance club across the hall but it was packed both nights we went to the bar) we headed back and were ready to take the scenic Highway 61 drive north to Canada on Saturday. Since we stayed in Duluth two nights I went to a few more spots the next day before and after the scenic drive. So breakfast that morning for me was at the towns two local Coney stops not too far from each other. I spied one called The Original Coney Island walking to the casino that's right by it and another one a block up not too far from the first one called Deluxe Coney Island.

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    Image Image
    Pictured to the (L) is the Original Coney Island sign and dog and to the (R) is the same from Deluxe Coney Island

    What is it about Coney shops in great Lake cities/towns? seems like every one's got them and they've all been around for a while. Duluth has two so I had to check out the both of them. The Original was the first one I hit up around 9a and they were open and serving breakfast but I was there for a Coney. There was a crowd eating breakfast and the service was anything but good and it took about 15 minutes for what should of took five. I eventually got my Coney with everything and cheese. The Original uses Vienna beef hot dogs and that was what made them the winner of the two. The Deluxe used a child's play hot dog and while their cheese was melted (they put it under the sauce) the dog is what I tasted most. I liked both spots Coney sauces but neither was my favorite Coney ever. The Vienna Beef dog made a difference though for the better. Now is the only time where I'll jump off track on retracing my foodventure this past trip because after the scenic ride up Highway 61 on Saturday (Part Two coming) I had a quick Pre-dinner snack at Northern Waters Smokehouse located in the new port district which I saw featured on Diners, Drive In's and Dives and had to go. This trip was my chance.

    In the The DeWitt Seitz Marketplace in Duluth, MN

    I used to watch many of food network shows in High School and my early college days but I rarely watch anything on there anymore. But I do love DDD and the places Guy visits. Northern Waters was always one of the spots I wanted to visit most that I saw featured on his show so I made sure I did and managed to get there Sat. night about 40 minutes before they closed and we were heading out of town on Sunday. They smoke and cure everything in house and everything is alot of different menu items for both lunch/dinner and your fridge. This place is located in the newly developed tourist district near the water and around the museums and in a old renovated building turned into a mall called The DeWitt Seitz Marketplace.

    house cured bacon, salami and fish are a few things they got

    The brown sugar cured Superior trout was bomb

    It all looked great

    I didn't get to try the housemade smoked pork loin, cured bacon or pancetta but I hope to one day soon

    I saw two things on the show that really stood out to me. I knew those were what I was going to get along with some smoked fish. Unfortunately they were out of the cured in the basement special to the store salamini which looked heavenly on DDD. The guy said they wouldn't have any for a while because its a long process and the temp in the basement hasn't cooperated this summer.

    I wanted some so bad...

    I did however get to try the other item that caught my attention which was the pastrami mommy sandwich made with bison. it came served on pumpernickel along with pepperoncinis, lettuce, made in house mustard and mayo and some provolone cheese. I enjoyed my sandwich but next time will ask if the bison pastrami is sold by the pound and it eat straight up. It was a fine sandwich though.

    (bison) pastrami mommy sandwich from Northern Waters Smokehaus

    Well this is where the Duluth stops end but you can look forward to part two of this part of the trips post (from Duluth to Grand Marais along Highway 61 aka The Lake Superior Circle Tour) which I'll get to later this week.

    Fitger's Brewhouse
    600 East Superior Street
    Duluth, MN 55802
    (218) 279-2739

    The Original Coney Island Diner
    107 East Superior Street
    Duluth, MN 55802
    (218) 727-1077

    Coney Island Deluxe
    112 West 1st Street
    Duluth, MN
    (218) 722-2772

    Northern Waters Smokehaus
    394 South Lake Avenue
    Duluth, MN 55802-2336
    (218) 724-7307
    Last edited by Da Beef on August 5th, 2010, 9:02 am, edited 1 time in total.
  • Post #2 - August 2nd, 2010, 4:40 pm
    Post #2 - August 2nd, 2010, 4:40 pm Post #2 - August 2nd, 2010, 4:40 pm
    Thanks for the Duluth report. Based on a colleague's several year old recommendation, I have a reservation to stay at Fitger's this Thursday night on a business trip. The brewpub sounded like a decent place for a solo beer and a meal. And I won't have to wander far to get back to the hotel room. Glad to read that the brewpub was a trip highlight.

  • Post #3 - August 2nd, 2010, 5:38 pm
    Post #3 - August 2nd, 2010, 5:38 pm Post #3 - August 2nd, 2010, 5:38 pm
    I love your post's, you can feel the passion you have for what you eat. I can't wait for part 2, I always need to eat after I read them. :lol:
    For what we choose is what we are. He should not miss this second opportunity to re-create himself with food. Jim Crace "The Devil's Larder"
  • Post #4 - August 2nd, 2010, 7:06 pm
    Post #4 - August 2nd, 2010, 7:06 pm Post #4 - August 2nd, 2010, 7:06 pm
    great post & pics
    great job beef
    philw bbq cbj for kcbs &M.I.M. carolina pit masters
  • Post #5 - August 3rd, 2010, 7:07 am
    Post #5 - August 3rd, 2010, 7:07 am Post #5 - August 3rd, 2010, 7:07 am
    Looking forward to the rest of your trip, the North Shore of Lake Superior to Grand Marais is one of my favorite places to travel along. We have been to Grand Marais maybe 12+ times and have done the Circle Tour of Lake Superior 3 times, I just love the area.
  • Post #6 - August 3rd, 2010, 2:24 pm
    Post #6 - August 3rd, 2010, 2:24 pm Post #6 - August 3rd, 2010, 2:24 pm
    I am heading to Grand Marais, MN on the North Shore this coming week for the fourth time this year in preparation of a fifth time in September when I am hosting a Class B campervan RV social rally at the Grand Marais Community Campground. To entice participants I put together this photo gallery of scenery mixed with culinary delights that I have photographed in the past few years.

    Minnesota North Shore Foods and Scenery

    I think I may have partaken in 75% of the North Shore eateries so far. I'm a little light in the Two Harbors and Lutsen area. I believe I have been in every Grand Marais area establishment. I will be seeking out a couple more places this week.
  • Post #7 - August 3rd, 2010, 6:48 pm
    Post #7 - August 3rd, 2010, 6:48 pm Post #7 - August 3rd, 2010, 6:48 pm
    Davydd wrote:I'm a little light in the Two Harbors and Lutsen area.

    Your great photos suggest otherwise, Davydd, and thanks for the original post, Da Beef.

    I just got back from ten days in Two Harbors (with a little Twin Cities Hell's Kitchen and 'que at the tail end), and can recommend ancestral favorites The Rustic Inn Cafe in Castle Danger (just northeast of Two Harbors) and Lemon Wolf in Beaver Bay. The Rustic has better pies than Betty's (mentioned below), and Lemon Wolf has dedicated anglers bringing the catch off the lake in daily, and knows what to do with it. Family friends are about to open a brewery at Castle Haven, the Castle Danger Brewery, that will supply many places up and down the Shore.

    There is a new pizza place in Two Harbors that I can't find a Google footprint for; I'll update when possible, as it was quite good, a notch up from Do North. The Vanilla Bean has the best breakfast in town for my money. Vietnamese Lantern is surprisingly strong in a pinch.

    I do not personally recommend Betty's Pies (so popular now it is a driving hazard and, anecdotally, is taking significant shortcuts on the pies and pasties) or Northern Lights Cafe (beautiful setting, sad grub in my visits).

    Previously mentioned favorites further down the Shore are the New Scenic Cafe and Nokomis, and of course for supplies there's Zup's for franks, dogs, and pepper bacon, and Caribou Cream for maple syrup. I'm excited to see where else DB hit on the well-documented journey; as suggested by the Northern Waters (great place) basement comments, it's been unusually hot up there all summer, which is helping some places and hindering others.

    Rustic Inn Cafe
    2773 Minnesota 61
    Two Harbors, MN 55616
    (218) 834-2488

    Lemon Wolf Cafe
    605 East West Towne Road
    Beaver Bay, MN
    (218) 226-7225

    Vanilla Bean Cafe
    812 7th Ave
    Two Harbors, MN 55616
    Ph: (218) 834-3714
  • Post #8 - August 5th, 2010, 9:00 am
    Post #8 - August 5th, 2010, 9:00 am Post #8 - August 5th, 2010, 9:00 am
    Part 2: The Drive to Grand Marais

    Saturday morning we were on the road at about 10:30/11:00a and on our way north from Duluth up Scenic Highway 61 along Lake Superior headed towards Grand Marais and maybe Canada if we felt like it. After conquering the Lake Michigan Circle Tour and getting a sneak peak of Lake Superior while doing so, I have always wanted to do the Lake Superior circle tour. However that wasn't going to happen on this trip. But the part of it we did get to do from Duluth to Grand Marais and back was a seller for me to eventually circling around the entire lake.

    The closer you get to Canada the more "wild" it feels

    It was raining the morning we took the trip but by the time we were in the car and rolling the sun was coming out from the clouds and the day turned into a beauty. The smell of the air from the lake and all the tress and grass was something we just don't get in the city so I took it all in and was happy to be cruising. We passed on some spots that we would eventually stop at on the way back as well as some spots we never made it too so I'm looking forward to my next visit in the area. Just like on the Lake Michigan Circle Tour and in any great lakes town, smoked fish is abundant and readily available.

    All the smoked fish spots also do homemade jerky and Lou's was wonderful

    After our binge of burgers and other goodies on Friday and starting Saturday with Coneys we weren't all that hungry at the start of this journey but when we saw the sign for Betty's World Famous Pie's and a whole lot of cars coming in and out of the lot we had what would be our first food stop. Betty's is located in Two Harbors, MN and has been in the town since 1956 when Betty's dad built a fish shack near the Stewart river along Highway 61. Betty thought it would be a good idea to have snacks for the fisherman to enjoy and they started selling donuts and drink and eventually homemade pie's. As time went on they switched the fish shack into a cafeteria and added the pies to the menu with other breakfast goodies. its now a regular stop for people traveling to and from the North Shore.

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    Two Harbors, MN

    The place was packed with people dining in when we visited but we really just wanted some of that famous pie and were able to get some at the pie to go counter located in the waiting area. I asked the pretty girl working the pie counter what she would recommend I go for and she told me they sell more slices and whole pies of the Great Lakes Crunch than any other and she really loves it too. Sold. I can see why. It had a little of everything popular in the pies they make including apple, strawberry, blueberry, raspberry, rhubarb and some other things I'm sure I've forgotten. Now I'm not a pie guy but I always eat it when I'm at a place famous for it or known for having fantastic versions of it and this seemed like one. "I should of gotten a whole one" was what I was thinking as we ate it in the lot and hopped in the car to roll along.

    Slice of Great Lakes Crunch from Betty's

    After the pie we were in the car and ready to cross off some of the 110 miles between Duluth and Grand Marais. So we drove on and took in the scenes and fresh air and had seen some signs along the road for the 100th anniversary of the Split Rock Lighthouse which was built near Silver Bay, MN along the North Shore after a wild storm took 29 ships in 1905. The cost to get in to see the lighthouse and go inside and along the beach was $10 and tours were available on most hours. We paid but didn't take the tour but did get to check out this beauty of a lighthouse built on a cliff that was in operation until it was shut down in 1969 and became part of the state park and Minnesota Historical Society. You get to see alot of lighthouses on any circle tour and this one is a worthy stop.

    Built 100 years ago
    Image Image Image
    "The site includes the original tower and lens, the fog signal building, the oil house,...
    ...and the three keepers' houses. It is restored to appear as it did in the late 1920s."
    View when headed down the trail to the water where shipping goods and packages arrived

    After the history lesson at the lighthouse we were back in the vehicle with our next stop being Grand Marais. When we made it into town I was very impressed and taken in by the pure comfort and relaxation of it. It's without a doubt a vacation resort type town but its not quite as developed and populated as Harbor Country in Michigan is or any of the resort towns out east. After all your really close to Canada and you can feel and see that. Its a nice little town with the usual stores and restaurants and is located right on Lake Superior giving it a spectacular view when overlooking the lake. Something I saw that I've never seen on Lake Michigan was rides on hydroplanes available to be taken. and plenty of tourists doing so.

    Image Image Image Image

    Grand Marais, MN

    Our first order of business was to check out a spot with a nice view and get a cold one or two and just max relax in the bright shining sun. So we found a bar named Gun Flint Tavern with a patio on top overlooking the lake that was bragging about the best bloody Mary's around. The bloody was really damn good and one of the better ones I've had while on vacation. The view from the deck, with the wind blowing and the fresh smell in the air on a perfect sunshiny day might of had something to do with it being so good. If there's one thing that the food stops in Grand Marais arent lacking, its views from their outdoor seating.

    Good bloody Mary's to be had here

    View from the bars patio on the rooftop

    So after a couple bloody's followed by a few brews it was time to get something to chow down on. I wanted to try a place I read about called Hughie's that is the home to the puffed taco where they make the tortillas by hand in house. I thought that maybe this place had a connection to a Native American background but I don't think that was the case. But I will say that the ground beef puffed taco was very good and something I've been looking for here in Chicago for a while. I've never been to a place that uses a quality ground beef filling as most times they either have something with horrible texture or no seasoning at all in the meat mix and in most cases its both of those. Not here at Hughie's where the taco was fried perfectly and the shell and ground beef were the best parts to it. I would of had another if we weren't going elsewhere and one in itself was pretty filling.

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    Much better than our stop along the river...great fried tacos

    Upon our entry into town one of the first spots to be seen is a fish house right on the lake which advertises fresh and smoked fish as well as fish and chips fried fresh for lunch. Well since we hadn't had any fried fish yet this trip here was the chance so we shot back over to the Dockside Fish Market for our next stop.

    Grand Marais, MN

    Image Image
    anything good from Lake Superior is available fresh and or smoked

    The Dockside is a nice little shop with a fish monger and country store feel .A few people came in and made orders for their homes and grabbed spices and sauces for their own bbq's while others were choosing between the kitchens menu items. Options in the fish and chips dept. were walleye, whitefish, herring and cod and also featured was a fish burger. I went with the walleye and took a seat out back on the deck, took in the view and waited for my order.

    View from the outdoor seating deck and where all the fresh fish comes in

    I'm usually a perch eater when I want some fresh fried fish while in Chicagoland and near Lake Michigan but walleye seems to run abundant and be available everywhere in the Superior region and I didn't make a mistake in choosing that. I haven't had walleye as much as perch and other choices of fried fish but the Docksides rendition of it was really damn good. Perfectly fried with a light dust and it just ripped apart into flakes the way I like it. The chips were eh but the fish was fantastic.

    Dockside's fish (walleye) & chips

    So then we fooled around and walked the lakefront for a few minutes before we would make our last stop in town which would be a place called simply World's Best Donuts. How could we not stop in and see if the claim is a real one or another bogus one like so many others. It had a constant flow of people coming in and out going on for it and that's never a bad sign.

    World's Best Donuts (Grand Marais, MN)

    I love the spots that do one thing and do that one thing really well. These donuts started get made by hand in 1969 and then moved into their present location in 1979 and took the name World's Best Donuts and its been all in the family since. The fourth generation donut family is many peoples must stop and favorite place to go in grand Marais and its all about those donuts. I had one of almost every one they had in the case and they were so warm and mouth watering I went back in and got one more of each for the next day.

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    Not all places or people live up to their names...these did

    Well I wish I could of stayed in Grand Marais a little longer but after a few hours it was time to roll out and head back towards Duluth and get to our next order of business. Davydd's gallery of the scenic spots and eating places seen in the thread up above really does cover everything, that's good stuff. The fact that Thunder Bay, ON was a short ride away and me wanting to do the Lake Superior Circle Tour will get me back to Grand Marais one day. On the rebound back we stopped at a state park that's name escapes me but they had some cool waterfalls and it was free and a nice place to stretch the legs and grab some waters etc...

    Waterfalls are always fun for the kids

    We had one last stop to make on our return back down the lake which was going to be at a famous smokehouse in Knife River, Mn which isn't too far from Duluth. Its an old school longtime local and visitors favorite specializing guessed it, fresh fish, smoked fish and beef jerky. Its a small shop with a tavern located next door that's connected to it so you can take your smoked fish and jerky and eat it while having a beer. We had a small piece of the sugar cured trout and got some jerky for the rest of the trip to go with it. We went thru the door attached to the shop into the tavern and and a beer and some smoked fish before heading back to the hotel.

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    Russ Kendall knows smoked fish and beef jerky

    We were back in Duluth but didn't have much time to rest as we were headed across the bridge to Superior, Wisconsin for dinner...

    Lou's Fish House
    1319 Old Highway 61
    Two Harbors, MN 55616-1492
    (218) 834-5254

    Betty's Pie's
    1633 Main St
    Two Harbors, Minnesota 55616
    (218) 834-3367

    Split Rock Lighthouse
    3713 Split Rock Lighthouse Rd
    Two Harbors MN, 55616

    Gun Flint Tavern
    111 Wisconsin Street
    Grand Marais, MN 55604
    (218) 387-1563

    Hughie's Taco House
    15 W Highway 61
    Grand Marais, MN 55604
    (218) 387-3382

    Dockside Fish Market
    418 W Highway 61
    Grand Marais, MN 55604-2334
    (218) 387-2906

    World's Best Donuts (seasonal)
    10 Wisconsin Street
    Grand Marais, MN 55604
    (218) 387-1345

    Russ Kendall's Smoke House
    149 Scenic Drive
    Knife River, MN 55609
    (218) 834-5995
  • Post #9 - August 5th, 2010, 12:48 pm
    Post #9 - August 5th, 2010, 12:48 pm Post #9 - August 5th, 2010, 12:48 pm
    The Gunflint Tavern is one of the few places outside the Twin Cities that serves Surly Beers but interestingly not on the rooftop patio.

    Hughies Puff Tacos are a pleasant surprise. One would not normally associate tacos with the North Shore but theirs are kind of in a unique league of their own. I was skeptical when I first heard about them from Bruce Kerfoot {the owner of the famed Gunflint Lodge, Justine's and Red Paddle Bistro) of all people.

    In trying to put together information for our RV rally next month I've been putting together information on eateries in Grand Marais. For a town of 1,300 they have over 25 eateries and there are only two chains - a Dairy Queen and a Subway. I think of the place as a culinary cornucopia. If you are an RVer I can't think of another campground that has three quality restaurants right adjacent in the Dockside, Angry Trout and Chez Jude. I've traveled 57,000 miles in 40 states the past 5 years to come up with that observation.

    Once you get past Grand Marais I think the northwoods truly become better. The terrain is steeper for one and the woods and roads are more "virgin" so to speak. Ontario even more so.

    As for waterfalls every state park and wayside has them. Just about every stream and river comes off the highlands and falls into Lake Superior. The most popular and probably the easiest stop to make is Gooseberry Falls State Park just west of the Split Rock Lighthouse State Park and not too far from Two Harbors.
  • Post #10 - August 7th, 2010, 8:22 pm
    Post #10 - August 7th, 2010, 8:22 pm Post #10 - August 7th, 2010, 8:22 pm
    Great stuff, Beef! It's wonderful being able to travel along with you. Thanks so much!

    Loved the shot of the bridge in your last photo. My Uncle Bob was a city councilman in Superior for years and years, during which time he took as his long-term task getting that bridge named after Superior's most famous son, WWII ace Richard Bong.

    Sooo, you like wine and are looking for something good to read? Maybe *this* will do the trick! :)
  • Post #11 - August 7th, 2010, 8:58 pm
    Post #11 - August 7th, 2010, 8:58 pm Post #11 - August 7th, 2010, 8:58 pm
    Did you talk to the float plane pilot in GM? Was his name Dan?
    If so, that's my friend Gail's husband....
    they live just north of town on Devil's Track lake and he's a pilot and about 100 other things...
  • Post #12 - August 9th, 2010, 8:29 am
    Post #12 - August 9th, 2010, 8:29 am Post #12 - August 9th, 2010, 8:29 am
    I am in Grand Marais right now having a cup of coffee at the Java Moose and contemplating where to go for lunch. August seems to be the perfect time. The Midwest heat wave is bypassed and it seems to be bug free this late in the summer. The campground was packed on checking in on Sunday afternoon. Just four spots were open out of 300. No dinner to report as I had dinner up the Gunflint Trail at a private residence.

    I did have one of the most decadent pies ever at the Lemon Wolf Cafe in Beaver Bay. It was a pecan, cashew and walnut creation. From the locals I learned some things about North Shore pies. Betty's Pies are not made from scratch on premise but come contract from a commercial bakery supposedly from original recipe. Rustic Inn, Satellite's Country Inn, Lemon Wolf Cafe and the Pie Place bake on premise. The Trail Center Cafe on the Gunflint Trail gets their pies from the Pie Place. The Bearskin Lodge on the Gunflint Trail until this year was getting pies baked in a wood-fired brick oven baked by my dinner hosts last night. So I think my pie scuttlebutt is reliable. I have a lead on another pie to check out in Hovland now.
  • Post #13 - August 9th, 2010, 12:06 pm
    Post #13 - August 9th, 2010, 12:06 pm Post #13 - August 9th, 2010, 12:06 pm
    Davydd wrote:So I think my pie scuttlebutt is reliable.

    Tying in with what I wrote above, I can confirm your pie scuttlebut. Glad you enjoyed Lemon Wolf (or at least the pie there ) - just about my favorite place on that particular stretch.
  • Post #14 - August 11th, 2010, 9:14 am
    Post #14 - August 11th, 2010, 9:14 am Post #14 - August 11th, 2010, 9:14 am
    You Chicago centric forum members should be happy I found another original pie at the Chicago Bay Marketplace in Hovland. Hovland was once called Chicago Bay. CBMP is a combination restaurant, bakery and grocery convience store right on Highway 61. Everything is scratch made including pies, cakes, donuts, pastries, bread and brownies.
  • Post #15 - July 27th, 2015, 1:16 pm
    Post #15 - July 27th, 2015, 1:16 pm Post #15 - July 27th, 2015, 1:16 pm
    I know this is an old thread so I thought I would give it a bump. Took a quick weekend trip to the Tofte, MN area this past weekend with my wife and our 3 and 6 year old boys. I used the ever-reliable LTHForum for my eating tips. I'm so glad I did as much of this info is still spot on.

    In Duluth, we had a quick lunch at Grandma's, which was a very touristy place with not-so-great food. The fried walleye sandwich was a bit overcooked but the views were nice from the upstairs patio. This was just a quick lunch for the kids before heading north on hwy 61 to our hotel.

    We stayed in Tofte at the Bluefin Bay and it was great. They have two restaurants on the property - the Bluefin Bay Restaurant (did not sample) and the Coho Cafe, a small sandwich / pizza spot. The kids got some individual pizzas that didn't look great but they loved them. I ordered grilled walleye which was good but a little heavy on seasoning. Everything was made to order which was a bit slow but worth the wait. Not a bad option in this area. The sandwiches looked good (bread was nice) and the pizzas were supposed to be pretty good. One guy walked out with 8 pizzas while we were waiting which may have pushed our wait time out a bit.

    Saturday we hit the Lemon Wolf, as recommended above. It was a much nicer spot than we expected but still very affordable (inexpensive). I had fresh caught herring, grilled (pan grilled) and it was excellent. It came with a side of cream of wild rice soup which was also great after a dash of salt and pepper. Bread was fresh. Even the kids burgers were fresh made and very good for a restaurant. My fish lunch was $10 for two filets. I had to top it off with a piece of mixed berry/apple pie, another excellent option. Definitely a worth stop.

    Saturday dinner was in Grand Marais at the Angry Trout. It's right on a dock, next to the Dockside Fish Market in DaBeef's post. Excellent, fresh caught fish that changes daily based upon availability. The menu describes the sources of most of the food. I had an excellent grilled whitefish, my wife had hers fried. Came with a salad for $24. Again, worth the price. I had a nice slice of peach pie which is provided by a local bakery (sorry, I didn't take notes very well). Great location.

    Sunday was the return trip for us and we stopped at the Rustic Inn (mentioned upthread). Another great recommendation. I had a walleye cake melt - basically an open faced walleye cake (like crab cake) on a piece of toasted bread smeared with thousand island dressing, with a thin slice of swiss cheese melted on top. Better than how it sounds. Once again, had to top it off with a slice of pie. This time, it was North Shore berry crumb, featuring gooseberries (along with raspberries, strawberries, and blackberries). Excellent all around.

    We did pop our heads into the Castle Danger brewery on the way home Sunday. It's in Two Harbors and looked like a nice place to have a few beers. I had the kids with me and a 3 hour ride home, so I just grabbed a couple of t-shirts since it was the beer of choice for sitting by our bonfire.

    I didn't take pictures of my food except for the pie at the Rustic Inn but I don't know how to post pictures, since I don't host pics online anymore.

    It was my first time to the Northshore but we'll be back for sure. A couple things struck me during this trip. This is pie country but most bakery products, bread included, is a notch above most places. Most of the food we had was prepared fresh - we didn't have a lot of food service items - even the kids meals (with the exception of a chicken "finger" lunch). Because of this (and that's it's vacation land) the service is a bit slow but very courteous.

    Duluth is about 2.5 hours from the Twin Cities and Tofte/Lutsen is another 1.5 hours from Duluth. If you're ever in the area, it's worth a trip. Just a beautiful part of the state with parks all up and down hwy 61. Thanks again for being there LTH...

    Grandma's Saloon and Grill
    522 S Lake Ave
    Duluth, MN 55802
    (218) 727-4192

    Coho Cafe
    7192 West Highway 61
    Tofte, MN 55615
    (218) 663-8032

    Lemon Wolf Cafe
    605 East West Towne Road
    Beaver Bay, MN
    (218) 226-7225

    Angry Trout Cafe
    408 W Hwy 61
    Grand Marais, MN

    Rustic Inn Cafe
    2773 Minnesota 61
    Two Harbors, MN 55616
    (218) 834-2488
  • Post #16 - July 28th, 2015, 4:14 pm
    Post #16 - July 28th, 2015, 4:14 pm Post #16 - July 28th, 2015, 4:14 pm
    Great report, Tyrus. I was up there this month as well, with a trip report to come.

    If you had your kids at the Rustic and they were given kids menus ("how many children can you find in this picture?"), my wife and her brother, and one of the owners of the Castle Danger Brewery and her sisters, are all depicted. ;)

    Grandma's is venerable and marathon-sponsoring, but we like Duluth Grill quite a bit better (, dive diner on the outside, organic scratch-cooking Triple-D approved on the inside.

    Lou's (mentioned upthread) in Two Harbors has closed. Russ Kendall's had a bad fire but is totally back and (I thought) even better than my previous annual visits. They had more jerky on hand than in the past and it was stellar.