This next #mnbucketlist stop really needs no introduction. Known affectionately by their popular, eclectic, one-of-a-kind mugs, the Duluth Grill in Duluth has amassed a significant following via word-of-mouth. With it being the best kept secret in town, you would be hard-pressed to find a more iconic symbol for Duluth. Another favorite among Duluthians with lines out the door, it was originally a part of the chain, Highway Host. Established as an Embers in 1991 in an industrial section off Interstate 35, The Duluth Grill was born when Tom and Jaima Hanson purchased it in 2001 and put their own spin on things.
Offering American homestyle comfort food with the majority of the ingredients from a 100-mile radius of Duluth to the gardens in their parking lot. Boasting a menu that has something for everyone. Breakfasts filled with omelets, pancakes and Scotch eggs. They even have something called red flannel hash. An original to the Grill, the hash is a combo of oven roasted sweet potatoes, beets, carrots, onions and bell peppers. Lunches and dinners with meatloaf, pot roast, burgers, sandwiches, Swedish meatballs, and barbecue eggplant. Soups like kale and white bean, and broccoli cheese. Desserts like velvet pumpkin cake, cinnamon chai sorbet, cannoli, and homemade vegan ice cream. What about the beverages? Well, they have you covered with cold press coffee, beet lemonade, iced mocha-nut, hot tea and smoothies like The Green Goddess of Goodness, The Healthy Elvis, and Orange You Glad.
They drew national attention after they were featured on the Food Network’s Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives. The host, Guy Fieri tried the Wild Rice Melt, Homemade Pasty, and Dakota Pot Roast Dinner, each noted on the menu so you can try them all for yourself. He also spray painted his signature on the wall with a stencil. It fits well with the local art work all over the walls. That’s not all… They also have two cookbooks on the shelves of the Blue Heron, Duluth Kitchen Company, Frost River, the Bookstore at Fitger’s, Kitchen Window, the Bibelot Shops, and Cooks of Crocus Hill. They also sell locally-made products, like Duluth’s own specialty recycled-content cutting board line, Epicurean. Remember the mugs? Well, when Tom Hanson stopped in to potter Karin Kraemer’s studio over Christmas a few years ago, a tradition began. Selling each for $22, Karin has now sold between 2,000 and 2,500, so far. Ahem, even I have one in my kitchen.
Fun fact: the owners of the Grill recently opened another restaurant. Located in Lincoln Park, in the building formerly housed in the North Star Pub, the OMC Smokehouse is a deli featuring Southern-style smoked and barbecued meats.