Pandemic-related construction woes have delayed the opening of a few anticipated hot spots in Duluth, but the wait is coming to an end. Tacos galore, must-have pastries and a brewery that serves ramen are now within reach. Here's a sampling of what's on the horizon.
Lake Superior Brewery Co.
In a city overflowing with craft beer and cider, is there room for another entry? You bet. Especially when it's a reimagining of the departed Lake Superior Brewing Co. New brewery owners Seth and Sarah Maxim bought an old fitness center and tanning salon in Duluth's Lakeside neighborhood on a pandemic whim, and are turning it into a brewpub with a full restaurant and bar and (already operating) adjacent lodging, dubbed a "brewtel." It's set to open in early July, serving its own beer a few weeks later.
"During the shutdown we looked at ourselves and thought, we're crazy enough, we can do this," Sarah said.
Both are hospitality industry veterans, and Seth learned the brewing biz at Duluth's Dubh Linn Irish Brew Pub. They've retained key Lake Superior Brewing recipes — rejoice at the return of Kayak Kolsch and Sir Duluth Oatmeal Stout — and plan a few of their own. Food will be a style mash-up, with a mix of noodle bowls, smash burgers and wood-fired pizza.
5324 E. Superior St., facebook.com/lakesuperiorbrewingco
Hungry Hippie Tacos
Duluth has gone from taco-deprived to taco-rich. A second outpost of Grand Marais' popular Hungry Hippie Tacos opened in Duluth's Lincoln Park neighborhood in late May.
Its signature build-your-own fry bread tacos are on the menu, along with burritos, chimichangas, Nashville hot cheese curds and plenty of local tap beer. Owner Kate Keeble has said she doesn't claim authentic Mexican food, but the Hungry Hippie fan base doesn't seem to care.
The bright, airy counter-service space has lots of indoor and outdoor seating.
1810 W. Superior St., hungryhippie.com/the-tacos
Duluth's Best Bread
Since 2015, brothers Robert Lillegard and Michael Lillegard have operated out of a shoebox-sized bakery in Lincoln Park, amassing a following for their almond croissants, macarons, fruit tarts and challah loaves. The bakery has branched into subscription boxes and a slate of retail locations in the region, and struggle to meet demand. Next month they'll add a second location with seating and coffee, downtown in the former space of Blacklist Brewery, which moved a block down the road. The bakery expects to double its staff and triple production.
Michael taught himself how to bake, practicing San Francisco bakery Tartine's methods.
"We don't use special flour or butter," said Robert, who wrote the Duluth Grill and OMC Smokehouse cookbooks. "We make French and German baked goods with Sam's Club flour and Land O'Lakes butter, and we have a $3,000 van that's always on the verge of breaking. Because it's all in the technique."
120 E. Superior St., duluthsbestbread.com
Tacos Tacos Tacos
A planned summer opening of a relocated downtown Duluth restaurant has been moved to fall, but Robert Giuliani has a backup plan: a food truck.
Giuliani closed his first Superior Street taqueria last October when the lease ended. As construction of his new space is completed, a food truck is now typically parked outside of it, offering street tacos, tortas and "dogos."
What's a dogo, you ask?
It's a "cheap" hot dog swaddled in bacon, grilled on a flat-top until crispy and topped with cheese, mayo, ketchup and pickled jalapeños.
"You'll crush two of them they're so good," Giuliani said.
The taco boom in Duluth is "exciting," said Giuliani, who has traveled Mexico extensively to learn the art of street tacos. Duluthians are looking for a more authentic taco experience, he said, and "everyone got in on the craze."
Giuliani's nephew, Alex Giuliani, owns the just-opened Chachos Taqueria in Canal Park.
A St. Paul location of Tacos Tacos Tacos is also set to open.
202 E. Superior St., taqueriamn.com