A few years back, a newly built luxe hotel went up in Duluth, a mid-rise Sheraton at the eastern end of downtown. It’s across 3rd Avenue from the former Hotel Duluth, which opened with 500 rooms in 1925. The lobby and dining rooms were very ornate, heavily decorated in a Moorish style. While Duluth has many nice inns that fall into the “tourist motel” category, and some spiffy B&Bs in the city’s finer old homes, the city really needed a hotel of this nature, and a dining experience to match, which it has in the first floor eatery Restaurant 301, named after the street address of the hotel.
The dining room serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner and has an attached lounge. The cuisine is locavore-American with a continental touch, courtesy of Executive Chef Kevin Ilenda. In addition to the standard offerings, Ilenda frequently treats Duluthians and visitors to special theme meals with wine pairings. He has culinary skills and creativity not often witnessed in the Zenith City.
The Minnesota Burger Posse made 301 their weekly Friday eating adventure, and smiles were around the table. The table shared an appetizer of Warm Blue Cheese with Pear and Walnut Glazed with Honey in a Fresh Baked Tartlet. The burger is ground in-house daily, mixed with pork, topped with cured bacon, baby Swiss, and house-made barbecue sauce; like other sandwiches, it is served on focaccia. Chicken sandwiches, with house-made chips were described as moist and flavorful, as was the turkey club.
They finished their repast with an off the menu dessert that Ilenda proferred, a take-off on s’mores, prepared table side.
Dark wood paneled walls, with a crackling fireplace make for a comfortable experience during the day, and the potential for a romantic tryst in the evenings. Dining available 6:30A – 1oP, the attached lounge serves from 11A-11P. Reservations: 218-336-2705. The Sheraton is located at the corner of 3rd Avenue East and Superior Street, less than 200 steps from Duluth’s scenic Lakewalk.
Restaurant 301 Review