The New Scenic Cafe belongs on any Duluth dining itinerary. These restaurants do, too.
The “Brady Bunch”-era truck stop that is now the Duluth Grill is off — way off — Canal Park’s tourist track, but for those in search of an affordable and easygoing breakfast, lunch or dinner, this is definitely the place. Rather than relying upon a can opener or a microwave oven’s defrost function, the kitchen casts a wide net in its search for farm-fresh ingredients, even transforming a portion of its parking lot into a vegetable and herb garden. Next up: an on-site orchard.
118 S. 27th Av. W., Duluth, 1-218-726-1150, www.duluthgrill.com
Northern Waters Smokehaus owner Eric Goerdt is one of the state’s culinary giants, and a single meal from his cramped shop in the DeWitt-Seitz Marketplace reveals why. The deli case’s exquisite smoked Lake Superior trout is a good place to start, followed by the whitefish sausage and smoked-paprika chorizo. Then work your way down the sandwich menu, taking care not to miss the locally baked bagel stuffed with velvety smoked Atlantic salmon and a schmear of green onion-packed cream cheese, or the smoked, curry-rubbed lamb, sliced thin and served on naan with a spiced yogurt.
394 Lake Av. S., Duluth, 1-218-724-7307, www.northernwaterssmokehaus.com
A driving force behind the welcome revival of downtown’s E. Superior Street is the loft-like Zeitgeist Arts Cafe, one component of a lively gallery-cinema-theater complex. Chef Jeff Niceswanger’s lunch menu offers a range of breath-of-fresh-air options: a brown basmati rice bowl filled with grilled vegetables and perfumed by a coconut-curry broth, a massive burger of lean grass-fed bison topped with Stilton and grilled romaine dressed with crumbles of blue cheese and pecan-smoked bacon.
222 E. Superior St., Duluth, 1-218-722-9100, www.zeitgeistarts.com