Posts Tagged ‘Duluth Hamburgers’
The Fitger’s Brewing Company of Duluth, Minnesota, operated continuously from 1881 to 1972, making it Duluth’s oldest continuously operating business. Through astute business acumen, Fitger’s was one of the few breweries in the country that operated through the entire period of prohibition, manufacturing soft drinks, candy, and other products.
Times change, and owners did too.
Today the 10 building complex operates as a posh hotel, microbrewery, banquets facility with attached shops and restaurants, one of which is the Fitger’s Brewhouse.
Owned by local fitness guru and restaurateur Rod Raymond, the brewhouse cooks up microbrews and does the whole locavore thing to the point where they have purchased a small cattle operation to have a steady supply of premium beef.
Kawika and the Minnesota Burger Posse, along with their musician pal extraordinaire Todd Eckart, and sampled the Drunken Brewhouse Burger with Cowboy Sauce, a third pound of freshly ground beef, topped with bacon and onion straws. The sauce resembles a light BBQ.
They liked it, and in an age of ‘we’ll prepare it the way WE want’, the posse was impressed that the burgers were prepared exactly as ordered.
Here’s the Brewhouse menu.
Duluth’s devastating floods of a few months ago were put behind Grandma’s with their reopening at the Miller Hill Mall location.
Here’s what the restaurant looked like that fateful day in June.
But today, it’s bright and shiny once again (see pic below), and serving its full menu of old and new favorites.
Kawika and the Minnesota Burger Posse continued their search for Minnesota’s best pepper cheeseburger. For those of you not familiar with the term, the “pepper cheeseburger” (which really should be written out “pepper cheese” burger) is a seasoned meat patty, deep-fried, and topped with Pepper Jack cheese. (A derivative of Monterey Jack, tho seasoned with spices and herbs to provide “heat’).
Grandma’s version includes Italian seasonings, and it’s one of Kawika’s favorites.
More on Grandma’s, a Minnesota institution, here.
Grandma’s menu is online.
Once upon a time, in rural Duluth, there was the Idle Hour Inn. My family used to hit it up in the winter, with some of my parent’s friends, usually after skiing or hayrides. The building is still there, a gaggle of owners since, in its current incantation, it’s “Billy’s.” I don’t have a clear memory of whether or not the Idle Hour had a full bar back in the day, or was, what we call in Minnesota, a “tavern”, selling only 3.2 beer. 3.2 is a reduced alcohol beer (less alcohol than most “lite” beers), and several states allow its sale in limited serve establishments and groceries. In those states, liquor and “strong beer” are sold in regulated retail outlets.
Today, the bar is fully-stocked, and the menus include bar favorites, including specialty burgers and a wide-variety of fried sides. Billy’s special burger choices include the Western (bacon, cheese, bbq sauce, onion ring); a cashew Swiss burger; a deep-fried pepper cheese burger; and a chili cheese burger. Monday nites, burgers are half price.
Prices run from 6.50 – 8.95, served with a side of chips. Side upgrades for an additional cost include fries, rings, tots, buffalo or steak fries.
Kawika and the Minnesota Burger posse checked out Billy’s, they reported the burgers and sides freshly prepared, tasty, with affable service.
Also on the menu? Steaks, chops, seafood, ribs.
You’ll note on the exterior sign a reference to “On/Off Sale”. Another Minnesota quirk. It means you can drink there or purchase bottles to go.
(All photographs @ Kawikamedia).
What do hot dogs, steamed dumplings, curry, poutine, cous cous, burgers, penne with meatballs have in common? Not a thing. But you can enjoy all of these “world foods” and much more at Pak’s Green Corner at 40th and Grand in Duluth.
Open only a couple of weeks, for lunch and dinner six days, and later on Friday and Saturday, Pak’s hopes to have something to satisfy nearly everyone, and serve it fresh and fast.
Kawikamedia and his burger posse were some of the first customers, and Kawikamedia went with the burger (“Hot dish sandwich”), ground beef, corn, bacon, taters, gravy, open face……..and an order of the poutine, Canada’s traditional snack food (Canada is practically next to Duluth, it’s a wonder you can’t get this everywhere!). Poutine is fries with cheese curds and brown gravy, and Pak’s gets it right.
Kawikamedia and the Minnesota Burger Posse have embarked on a mission of checking out “dive” bars in the area. This week, it was the Amnicon Bar s on the Corner of Tri Lake Road and County A out by Pattison Park. About 10 miles South of Superior, Wisconsin, on Amnicon Lake.
There are a number of lakes in the immediate area, Amnicon is reputed to be a hot bed for crappie, perch and muskie fishing. According to the DNR website, the muskies range from 30-50″.
But fish wasn’t on the Posse’s menu, they enjoyed the burgers and coney island style hot dogs.
The coneys were Hormel natural casings, and were reported to be excellent.
The Amnicon burger came topped with ham and cheese and a side of curly fries.
If you’re as old as dirt, as I am, you’ll remember Duluth prior to the major fast food franchises coming in. We had a select number of local burger houses, most noticeably, The London Inn, at 17th Avenue East and London Road, a beloved high school hangout and purveyor of most excellent onion rings, and then there was a couple of (I don’t remember the name) root beer stands that featured “Richardsons” brand of root beer, and had iconic signs , and a rotating root beer barrel as a road side sign.
At some point, A&W came to down, but there aren’t any of those left, and of course, today, the city has the whole spectrum of the national chains.
In one of the former A&W locations, you’ll find a local favorite “A & Dubs”, which features a variety of fast-food sandwiches and traditional drinks.
The owners decided to abandon the A&W franchise decades ago, when the chain insisted on standardized menus, and the soft drink itself started to be sold in stores.
The cafe featured car-hop ordering, was open only seasonally, and developed a following for their own food recipes.
Our intrepid Minnesota burger reporter, Kawikamedia, and his posse, hit A & Dubs the other day, and came away more than satisfied.
They ordered the “Powerhouse” a jumbo cheeseburger with lettuce, mayo, pickle, and the combo version includes fries.
With a dozen locations in the Upper Midwest, Grizzly’s has opened their 3rd location in the Duluth Superior area, in the Canal Park tourist zone by the lake front. The former location of Hell’s Burgers has been completely remodeled, enlarged, with a new bar and sound-deadening dividers to make for a more pleasant dining experience.
Featuring a full range of wood-fired entrees and sandwiches, Grizzly’s menu probably has something for everyone.
Minnesota burger reporter Kawikamedia and his posse checked out the opening, and ordered the Kodiak Burger, and the ribs and chicken. All were met with applause, and their taste buds were teased by the smoky aroma that fills the ‘hood.
The Kodiak is described on the menu as “for those who dare,” a full pound of fresh ground beef, thick slab bacon, fried onions, aged cheddar, lettuce and tomato. For their choice of sides, they went with the seasoned fries.
When I was a sprout, the Canal Park area was home to heavy industry. Now it’s home to any manner of places for heavy eating. A good change. (Photos Copyright 2012 Kawikamedia, all rights reserved).
Minnesota Burger Reporter Kawikamedia checked out the Zeitgast Arts Cafe in, part of Zeitgeist Arts, a combination cafe, arts cinema and theater in the downtown neighborhood that is rapidly becoming Duluth’s “Art Sector”. He and his pals took in “The Skin I Live In” which he pronounced to be the strangest movie he had seen in a long time, and then popped into the cafe for a bite.
The cafe has a large bar, with windows overlooking Superior Street, with the splendor of the ediface of the former Hotel Duluth in view.
Kawikamedia had the grilled Angus burger, with melted cheddar, dressed with lettuce, tomato, onions, and mayo, plopped on toasted bun and accompanied by pommes frites. (I never knew there was anything “French” about Duluth, except for the founding father).
He pronounced the burger and fries as A-OK!
Zeitgeist Arts Cafe Review – Duluth, MN
He started with the smoked fish appetizer, and said the whitefish was grand.
On to the burger. “The best burger I have had in a restaurant ever!” That’s pretty high praise.
They start with a 1/2 pound of local grind, sprinkle their own magic seasoning on it, and chargrill it to your order. Kawika went with the “Pacific Style”, which adds avocado, lettuce, tomato, shaved onion, and garlic mayo.
Photographs copyright 2012 Kawikamedia.
(Short link to full story for mobile readers) From time to time, someone writes an article about “oddball” last meal requests by condemned prisoners. It was in the news again recently because Texas has now banned last meal requests – unless it is something normally offered or fixed in the prison’s kitchen.
Some examples of final meals include:
- Lawrence Russell Brower: two chicken-fried steaks, a bacon cheeseburger, an omelet, barbecued meat, fried okra, fajitas, pizza, ice cream, and peanut butter fudge
- Teresa Lewis: fried chicken, sweet peas, Dr. Pepper, and German chocolate cake
- John Wayne Gacy: deep fried shrimp, a bucket of KFC, French fries, and a pound of strawberries
- James Edwards Smith, who was executed in Texas in June 1990, takes the prize for one of the strangest last meal requests: a lump of dirt.
- Victor Feguer: a single, unpitted olive
- Timothy McVeigh: two pints of mint chocolate chip ice cream
So here’s this week’s thought provoker: since most people are very passionate about their favorite hamburgers, hot dogs, and pizza, if you, for any reason, where able to have a last meal consisting of one of these three favorites, what would your choice be, from where, and why?
My own? Pizza, definitely from my home-town favorite: Sammy’s, a local chain in the Upper Midwest. I’d order a sausage and pepperoni pie with green olives.
Hot dogs? Also day with my hometown favorite, Original Coney Island. My last hamburger? That would pose a dilemma for me, there are so many great ones in the country these days. If I had to choose one from the burgers I have had in the past year, it would definitely be the Bobcat Bite in Santa Fe!
How about you? If you had to choose one final hamburger, hot dog, or pizza, let us know what it is, and where from?