Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Duluth Named One of the Top 10 Best Foodie Cities by Livability.com

This may surprise more than a few locals, but it doesn't surprise me that Duluth has been crowned one of the best "Foodie Cities" in America by Livability.com. For those of us who have experienced the transformation, it's a delicious endorsement and we appreciate the recognition.

Susie and I moved here in 1986 and, to be honest, there just weren't that many places that inspired us as places to go out to eat. We'd lived in the Twin Cities for several years and enjoyed a variety of places that were special to us. Duluth felt constraining when we took up our residence here.

But over time I've observed an ongoing transformation. Maybe it's like watching your own children grow, you just don't notice that much until someone says, "Well my, how your kids have grown!" Evidently others noticed this Duluth transformation as well. In fact, it's been downright impressive. Increasing numbers of establishments, chefs and cooks have demonstrated a commitment to higher standards that include support for local farmers, regional cuisine, appropriate portions and (naturally) delicious food.

Anyone half paying attention has noticed the multiplicity of food shows on television and in Hollywood (eg. Chef and Julie & Julia). How we eat is not only becoming a modern artform but a philosophical approach to life. And I like it.

Here's the press announcement that floated out to the media yestoday:

Duluth Named One of Livability.com’s Top 10 Best Foodie Cities, 2015
Annual list identifies and ranks America’s foodie cities

Foodie culture continues to marinate in U.S. cities, along with its various cousins the farm-to-table and craft-beer movements. Many cities are encouraging restaurant districts and boutique eating, and reaping the benefits. With this in mind, Livability.com has named Duluth a Top 10 Best Foodie City, 2015. Duluth strongly supports local farmers, showcases regional cuisine, and provides residents with an innovative and eclectic mix of restaurants and delicious food to eat.

When choosing the best foodie cities, our editors first analyzed Census data to find cities with high concentrations of restaurants and bars. Using data from Esri and other sources, they looked for cities whose residents choose to eat at independent restaurants rather than chains or fast-food establishments. Our editors also looked at access to healthy food and farmers markets, which provide at-home cooks with fresh ingredients. Finally, just because these cities have great food doesn't mean they should be eating it to excess, so we also factored in the adult obesity rate.

Of course, palates are a subjective thing, so our editors also layered in some other factors like James Beard Award winners, Michelin stars and even Yelp reviews. Finally, we used our experience and judgement to narrow the list into the final Top 10. “You can go on and on about how a strong foodie culture benefits a city economically and leads to more vibrant downtowns,” says Livability editor Matt Carmichael. “But let’s be realistic. It’s really all about having a variety of great food to eat. Who doesn’t want that in their town?”

Duluth restaurants pack pleasant surprises, from small brewpubs churning out full-bodied beers to greasy spoons with vegetarian and even vegan options. Spots such as Duluth Grill, The Portland Malt Shoppe and The Pickwick make up a sophisticated and diverse culinary scene in this lakeside city. In Duluth, show up as you are to most dining halls, and the waiters, cooks and owners treat you as one of the family.

Top 10 Best Foodie Cities, 2015
1. Coral Gables, FL
2. Omaha, NE
3. Pittsburgh, PA
4. Duluth, MN
5. Rockville, MD
6. Bellevue, WA
7. Stamford, CT
8. Tempe, AZ
9. Burlington, VT
10. Walnut Creek, CA

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About Livability.com:
Livability.com explores what makes small to mid-sized cities great places to live, work and visit. We examine issues related to livability such as walkability, cultural amenities, transportation, urban planning, and sustainability through exclusive research and discussions on our blog. We celebrate the accomplishments of these cities through our monthly top 10 lists, our annual ranking of livable cities, our rich photography and conversations with readers in social media. Livability.com is a division of Journal Communications, Inc.

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Fabulous meal featured a tender, delicious bison heart.
A few of our favorite places to visit and re-visit over the years have included Duluth Grill, At Sarah's Table (a.k.a. Chester Park Cafe) and The New Scenic Cafe. But the list is long as regards what Duluth has to offer.

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Naturally food isn't the only reason to make Duluth a destination. This past year Outside Magazine named Duluth the "Best Town Ever." The air is clean, the water fresh and expansive, and the opportunities for hiking, boating, fishing, trail riding and camping are near endless. The view is fabulous for the entirety of its length as it hugs the largest freshwater lake in the world.

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And if you follow this blog you already know we have a thriving arts community. To see more of what Duluth is about, check out Destination Duluth.

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End Notes: The photos here are of dishes prepared by son Micah who has worked in the culinary trade for more than a dozen years, currently a cook at Duluth Grill and At Sarah's Table. The bison heart, lower right, was exquisite, though not yet on any local menus that I am aware of.


Anonymous said...

Portland Malt Shoppe??

Ed Newman said...

I dunno... There may be something special about the place's philosophy? Do they make ice cream from local ingredients? Privately owned alternative to DQ?

Anonymous said...

Really? There's no REAL Chinese, Vietnamese, or Mexican in the area. The Chinese and Vietnamese places have to serve Americanized Chinese food because no one even knows what the real stuff is about up here. The only real Chinese restaurant closed because no one knew they had authenic food. What about Korean, African, and Middle Eastern food? Can't even find a legit taco in town.

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