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Posts Tagged ‘Minnesota Burger Posse’

Duluth, MN – Grandma’s Saloon (Miller Hill) Review


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.

Grandma's Saloon Duluth Pepper Cheese Burger

Grandma's Saloon & Grill on Urbanspoon


Duluth, MN – Billy’s


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.

Billy's Bar Duluth Minnesota

Pepper Cheeseburger with Buffalo Fries

Billy's Bar Duluth Minnesota

A platter of sides

Billy's Bar Duluth Minnesota


(All photographs @ Kawikamedia).

Billys on Urbanspoon


St. Paul, MN – Smashburger Review


Smashburger St. PaulKawikamedia and the Minnesota Burger Posse stopped into a Smashburger in St. Paul.  They were impressed with the quality and service.

Smashburger has a “localized” special burger at many locations, and Kawika went with the “Twin Cities”, which Smashburger describes as “layers of melted cheddar cheese, aged Swiss cheese and garlic grilled onions with lettuce, tomato and mayo on an onion bun.”  Sounds good to me.

I’ve never been in to a Smashburger, the nearest one is an 8 hour drive.  The chain employs  a “design your own” concept.  I’d  go with a single patty, bacon, blue cheese, onion strings, and Franks Buffalo Sauce.  Nice.

Smashburger Twin Cities Burger

Smashburger (Highland Park) on Urbanspoon


Superior, WI – Amnicon Bar (Review)


Amnicon Bar, Superior WisconsinKawikamedia 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.

 Amnicon Bar Superior Wisconsin


Amnicon Bar on Urbanspoon


Duluth, MN – A & Dubs (Review)


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.

Duluth Minnesota A & Dubs



A & Dubs on Urbanspoon


Superior, WI – The Kitchen


Back in the day, some day, I was working on occasion at an oil refinery in Superior, WI.  Our work was outdoors, and once and awhile, we’d get rained out.  On days requiring “liquid refreshments”, we’d head to a bar called the “Manila”, and thus rain days became known as “the Manila Monsoon.”

Other days we’d head to a little diner called “The Kitchen”, for  ample servings of home cooking at bargain prices.

Kawikamedia and some of the Minnesota burger posse headed to The Kitchen for brunch today, and Kawika’s Hawaiian roots led him to order the Superior version of Loco Moco, which The Kitchen calls “Pupu Kaka”.  (Make of that what you will).

The Wisconsin version was a pile of hash browns, a burger patty, a couple of eggs, and “just for fun” Kawika subsituted sausage gravy in place of the usual brown gravy.

He felt it a tasty bargain at under $7 a plate, says they will return, but next time he’d go with the brown gravy.

A plate of Pupu Kaka

Kitchen on Urbanspoon


Duluth, MN – Dry Dock Bar and Restaurant


In Duluth, we’d say this place was out in the boonies, back in the day, but it’s not anymore. Overlooking the Grand View Golf Course, on a high hill, sitting at the Dry Dock you can see 50 miles to the South.

But why would you want to look at the view, instead of your plate? The Minnesota Burger Posse, led by Kawikamedia, headed out tot he Dry Dock the other day, and Kawika ordered his usual pepper cheeseburger, and for laughs, threw in a few green olives, as the Kawika family is known to do (it’s a genetic thing).

He opted for waffle fries with Cajun seasoning on the side, and loved both the fries and the burger, tho next time around, he’d err on the side of caution and order the burger with a little less flame time.

Here’s the Dry Dock menu.

Here are all the other reasons why you might want to visit Duluth.

Dry Dock Bar & Restaurant on Urbanspoon


Nationwide – Famous Dave’s BBQ


It took a long time for a nationwide chain of BBQ restaurants to hit Duluth, MN, even tho the first location was a mere 50 miles away.   Famous Dave’s was started in Hayward, WI, a regional year-round resort town, home of the World Lumberjack Contests, and also the winter cross country ski fest, the Birkebeiner.  Al Capone had a hideout nearby during the 1920’s and 30’s.

Located in the tourist center of Duluth, Canal Park, Famous Dave’s serves up a vast menu of barbecue specialties, and burgers as well.

Minnesota Burger Reporter Kawikamedia, and his burger posse hit Famous Dave’s the other day, and Kawikamedia went with the Ultimate BBQ burger, which promises a  juicy ground beef patty beneath a pile of Georgia Chopped Pork with two strips of jalapeño bacon, melted sharp American cheese and our signature Beam & Cola BBQ sauce.

Kawikamedia is not usually a fan of BBQ sauce, but reported he loved this one due to it’s complex combination of flavors.

He’ll be back, he says, after all, Famous Dave’s is within staggering distance of his house!



Famous Dave's on Urbanspoon


Superior, WI – Gronks Bar & Grill


Kawikamedia and the Minnesota Burger Posse ventured over the big bridge the other day, and alit at Gronks Bar & Grill way out in the boonies of Superior, Wisconsin.

Gronks has been featured on a number of the food television shows, “famous” for their giant burgers.

While overall, a satisfactory experience was had by all, and they said they would try it again, some of the party attested to a bit of overzealous cooking on the burger and ribs.

They reported the onion rings “had promise”, and the Vienna Beef Chicago dog was served with all the correct Chicago trimmings.

Photos below by Kawikamedia. Menu reprint from Gronks website.

Vienna Beef Hot Dog at Gronks

Vienna Beef Hot Dog at Gronks

Gronks Pepper Cheeseburger & Rings

Gronks Pepper Cheeseburger & Rings

Gronk Burger Menu

Gronk Burger Menu


Duluth, MN – Va Bene


Minnesota Burger Reporter Kawikamedia and his Burger Posse checked out Va Bene during one of Duluth’s Eat Downtown promotions.   Va Bene focuses on Italian home cooking, fresh ingredients, and delicacies imported from Italy; it recently celebrated its 5th annivesary.  In addition to dine in, take-away, they also carry a select line of Italian groceries.

Va Bene Duluth

Va Bene Duluth

The special lunch promotion included a choice of Italian Sausage soup or salad, and Fettuccine Carbonara, and gelato to finish.

His review?  “Out of this world!”

The fettuccine is prepared with pancetta, peas, egg, and parmesan.  He also took home one of their very special burgers, a 6 oz patty with pancetta, portabellas, onions, mozzarella and gorgonzola in a balsamic reduction, which just sounds fascinating, and Kawikamedia says it was to die for.

(In BurgerDogBoy’s playbook, any burger that has pancetta and gorgonzola is going to be cause to walk over broken glass to consume; looks like a trip to Duluth is in order!).

Va Bene is open for lunch and dinner weekdays, and including breakfast on weekends.  They even offer meatballs and red gravy for brekky!

Va Bene, Duluth, Interior

Va Bene, Duluth, Interior

Va Bene Fettucini Carbonara

Va Bene Fettucini Carbonara

Va Bene Burger

Va Bene Burger

Va Bene on Urbanspoon

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