Fresh/local/seasonal is fine, nose-to-tail cooking is delightful, and no one can argue with the Bacon Everywhere movement. But sometimes, it’s good to leave the trends to the trendsetters. Not every diner is looking for a meal of locally-grown heritage micro greens with half an ounce of free-range pork kidneys. Sometimes, you just want a beer and a burger. And for that, there’s 7 West Taphouse. Rick Lampton, who co-owns Grizzly’s locations in Duluth, Hermantown, and Superior, Wis., opened 7 West with a partner towards the end of 2012. He says the idea was to keep it simple. “It’s a simple concept,” Lampton says. “We’re specializing. It’s not a full menu, which really increases your times and your operational efficiency.”
At the Northern Waters Smokehaus, a Duluth entrepreneur reflects on both worlds.
Northern Waters Smokehaus might not be a household name, but it’s on its way there. The retail shop/restaurant/wholesaler sells smoked fish and meats, along with sandwiches, specialty cheeses, and other gourmet items out of a storefront in Duluth’s Canal Park. They supply product to a handful of select restaurants in the city and do a brisk mail order business throughout the United States. They’ve even been featured on the Food Network. Owner Eric Goerdt says his focus is on quality, craftsmanship, and staying true to form. “Everything’s hand crafted and we completely make it with love,” Goerdt says. “We don’t make things unless they taste good with great raw ingredients.”
Garden Fresh Farms is growing fresh, sustainable food for the foodservice industry. But those aren’t the central products.
“Our goal is to never have a garbage can in the place,” said Dave Roeser, the founder and owner of Garden Fresh Farms.
Not the declaration one expects from a farmer, but it makes sense in this particular case.
Garden Fresh Farms sounds like it’s a place that we’ve seen plastered in foodie magazines for the last decade or so since the locavore craze took hold. And, yes, when you drive to the Maplewood-based business, located off a frontage road just north of Highway 36, there is a terraced garden growing raspberries and mint. But that’s not the destination. Through that garden and up some steps is a non-descript warehouse.
“We’ll see if we can get fellow Minnesotans close to each other,” joked Jeff Bornmann, owner of the New Bohemia (pictured above, at left), a restaurant that opened last month in Northeast Minneapolis, taking over the space once occupied by a Panera Bread.
It’s like that chain restaurant never existed. The space was gutted out, and in its place, something completely different from the now ubiquitous paninis and salads. “It’s a modern beer hall,” said Noel Bowman, the restaurants managing partner (pictured above, at right).
That it is.
One might think that Manning’s Restaurant & Bar’s longevity was earned because the family-owned business has within its walls the third generation owner and the fourth in the kitchen and at the bar. But Larry Manning, who owns and runs the restaurant, has a different theory. He said that his grandfather and founder, Ralph, mainly insisted on two things: clean draft lines and cold beer, “and the rest will take care of itself.” His rules have held 80 years later. Manning’s is still known for their icy cold draft beers, and the beer lines are cleaned every night.
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