Favorite Food Stops: Duluth-Two Harbors
By Elizabeth Dehn, Tim Gihring, Dara Moskowitz Grumdahl, Joel Hoekstra, and Andrew Putz, Minnesota Monthly
If you're heading through Duluth and up the North Shore, here are stop great food stops.
WHERE TO EAT
Burrito Union in Duluth has done for burritos what Minneapolis-based Pizza Lucé has done for pizza—that is, made them hip, hearty, fun, and above all, user friendly. Hip and fun? Opulent chandeliers, colorful chalkboards, and a regular entertainment roster featuring local bands attract a cute-rugged population. User friendly? Most everything is under $8, and there's a selection of local microbrews that would be destination-worthy no matter what kind of food Burrito Union had. Oh, and the food: In addition to burritos filled with things like red chile beef, the place is known to feature specials like a turkey-dinner burrito, served with a side of salsa made from cranberries. Best of all, they serve it with Surly beer. 1332 E. Fourth St., Duluth, 218-728-4414, burritounion.com
New Scenic Café
A modest proposal: the New Scenic Café should think about dropping the "new" from its name. It's not because the place isn't new, though it's not—it's been around for 10 years. Nor is it because the cozy restaurant, with its focus on seasonal, refined-but-unfussy offerings (roasted beets, pork tenderloin, goat-cheese cake), has, over that time, become the go-to dining option for many North Shore visitors. It's just that it's beginning to seem a little odd to keep calling a place "new" long after it's become, well, a tradition. It's located on old Highway 61 between Duluth and Two Harbors. 218-525-6274, sceniccafe.com
Rustic Inn Café
Pies get all the attention when it comes to North Shore eats, but a big breakfast is the region's true culinary signature. And no place does it bigger or better than Rustic Inn Cafe in Castle Danger, along Highway 61 north of Two Harbors. With its fluffy omelets, perfect home fries, skillet breakfasts stacked as high as nearby Gooseberry Falls, Rustic offers the perfect fare to fuel a day of hiking, biking, kayaking, or doing nothing at all. And if the eggs, sausage, and potatoes don't fill you up, there's always another option (besides gastric bypass surgery). Pie, it turns out, is an excellent way to start the day. 218-834-2488
Amazing Grace Bakery and Café
Fair-trade brew, biodegradable cups, folk singers on weekends, fresh bread daily, and cinnamon rolls that are way better than Tobie's. An easy stop, located in Canal Park. 394 S. Lake Ave., Duluth, 218-723-0075, amazinggraceduluth.com
NORTH SHORE HALL OF FAME
For more than 50 years, Betty's has been as synonymous with the North Shore as pine trees and plaid. And despite its time-warp feel—imagine the diner in Happy Days set a stone's throw from the shores of Lake Superior—it remains a dessert-lover's mecca, a place to find, among other things, the world's greatest five-layer chocolate pie. Find in on Highway 61 just northeast of Two Harbors.