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A & Dubs

Rick Nelson

An honest-to-goodness drive-in (a former A & W, which explains the name), carhops and all. Burgers, hot dogs, deep-fried delights, soft-serve ice cream and fabulous, vanilla-laced housemade root beer, all at family-friendly prices.
3131 W. 3rd St., Duluth, 1-218-624-0198, website

At Sara’s Table Chester Creek Cafe

Rick Nelson

Home of Duluth’s most irresistible pancakes. At lunch and dinner, chef Jillian Forte takes a global approach (paella, bibimbap, Thai-style tofu curry), and baker Diane Bailey fills her counter with memorable pies and other temptations.
1902 E. 8th St., Duluth, 1-218-724-6811, astccc.net

Burrito Union

Carlos Gonzalez

The house specialty is served in two sizes (both enormous) and prices (both affordable). The menu also features other traditional Tex-Mex fare, great beer (from Fitger’s) and an inexpensive weekend brunch.
1332 E. 4th St., Duluth, 1-218-728-4414, burritounion.com

Canal Park Brewing Co.

Rick Nelson

This contemporary brewpub has a great-looking setting — including what is arguably the city’s most pleasant patio — a long list of house-brewed ales, chipper service and an even longer roster of crowd-pleasing, beer-friendly fare.
300 Canal Park Dr., Duluth, 1-218-464-4790, canalparkbrewery.com

Duluth’s Best Bread

Rick Nelson

Co-owner Michael Lillegard is a superb baker, turning out admirable croissants and pain au chocolat and cinnamon rolls and an impressive twist on the Pop-Tart. The utilitarian shop keeps limited hours (6 a.m. to 1 p.m. Thursday through Saturday). Starting July 7, Lillegard and brother/business partner Robert Lillegard will launch a Friday-through-Sunday breakfast pop-up (7:30 to 11 a.m.) at Canal Park’s historic Endion Station (200 Lake Place Dr., Duluth), serving baked goods, coffee drinks and savory items, including a ham-bacon quiche.
2632 W. 3rd St., Duluth, duluthsbestbread.com.

Fitger’s Brewhouse

Kyndell Harkness

The 23-year-old brewpub that arguably launched the city’s craft beer obsession continues to focus on the small-batch ales and lagers that forged its reputation. The beer-battered onion rings and wild rice veggie burgers are as tasty as ever.
600 E. Superior St., Duluth, 1-218-279-2739, fitgersbrewhouse.com

Great Lakes Candy Kitchen

Rick Nelson

Hit the shoreline-hugging highway out of Duluth for the scenery, and this sweet-tooth gem. The caramel apples — and the chocolate-dipped Nutty Ice Cream Bars, finished with roasted peanuts and toasted coconut — are worth the trip.
223 Scenic Dr., Knife River, Minn., 1-218-834-2121, greatlakescandy.com

Hoops Brewing Co.

Rick Nelson

Longtime Fitger’s Brewhouse brewer Dave Hoops has become his own boss, building a beauty of a brewery in a historic, timber-lined industrial warehouse (an infinitely better use than the previous tenant, a chain steakhouse). The taproom’s copper-topped bar is an ideal showcase for Hoops’ meticulously brewed ales, creamy porters and refreshing pilsners.
325 S. Lake Av., Duluth, 1-218-606-1666, hoopsbrewing.com

Lake Avenue Restaurant & Bar

Lake Avenue Restaurant & Bar

A reason to dine in Canal Park, this charmer emphasizes creative, vibrant cooking at lunch, dinner and weekend brunch. The bar showcases Midwestern spirits. Happy hour (3 to 6 p.m. weekdays) is full of delicious $13-and-under options.
394 S. Lake Av., Duluth, 1-218-722-2355, lakeaveduluth.com

Pizza Lucé

Pizza Luce

The pizza — and weekend brunch — is the same as the Twin Cities Lucé locations. Ditto the (rare, for Duluth) late-night hours, which run to 2 a.m. Sunday through Thursday and 2:30 a.m. Friday and Saturday.
11 E. Superior St., Duluth, 1-218-727-7400, pizzaluce.com

PortLand Malt Shoppe

Tom Wallace

Housed in a 1921 gas station, this may be the most adorable walk-up scoop shop in the land, serving cones, sundaes, malts, shakes and floats. Conveniently located next to a Lakewalk staircase.
716 E. Superior St., portlandmaltshoppe.com

Positively 3rd Street Bakery

Rick Nelson

This funky Hillside landmark has been making people happy for 35 years (including those following vegan and gluten-free diets), with a tempting selection of breads, granola, cookies, bars and muffins. Ice cream sandwiches are a must.
1202 E. 3rd St., Duluth, 1-218-724-8619, 3rdstbakery.com

Russ Kendall’s Smokehouse

Rick Nelson

A 110-year-old North Shore tradition, and the place to pack the cooler with pickled herring, sugar-cured smoked lake trout and smoked whitefish.
149 Scenic Dr., Knife River, Minn., 1-218-834-5995

Va Bene Berarducci’s Caffe

Va Bene

Yes, the screen porch is a terrific gaze-at-the-lake perch. But owners Mary Kay and Jim Berarducci run a pleasing, pasta- and panini-focused kitchen and stock their gelato case with a dozen housemade flavors.
734 E. Superior St., Duluth, 1-218-722-1518, vabenecaffe.com

Whole Foods Co-op

Rick Nelson

Anyone looking to picnic in the Zenith City would do well to consider the stores’ well-stocked delis and cheese cases as one-stop picnic-basket destinations. Dessert is a no-brainer: output from that classic North Shore pie maker, the Rustic Inn Cafe in Castle Danger, Minn.
610 E. 4th St. and 4426 Grand Av., Duluth, 1-218-728-0884, wholefoods.coop. Open 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily.

Zeitgeist Cafe

Rick Nelson

Downtown’s continuing renaissance owes a debt to this arts complex, which includes this stylish and lively restaurant and bar, serving lunch, dinner and a terrific weekend brunch.
222 E. Superior St., Duluth, 1-218-722-9100, zeitgeistarts.com