It only took 12 years but we’ve finally gone further north in Minnesota than Minneapolis. Quite a bit further north, actually—all the way past Duluth, almost to Grand Marais, to a cabin right on Lake Superior. I usually take listing descriptions such as “a cabin right on Lake Superior” with a huge pinch of salt but when we got here we were pleased to discover that if this cabin were any more on Lake Superior it would be in Lake Superior. It was a four and half hour drive in total to the cabin from our little hamlet in southern Minnesota. Easily manageable as a straight shot but with our kids, our dogs and also my parents in the van, we decided to stop in Duluth for lunch at the three hour mark and do a short hop up to the cabin after that. A recommendation from Joe (who often comments on the blog) put us in OMC Smokehouse. And, on the whole, it was a successful family-friendly meal. Herewith the details.
But first, a conversation in the car:
The missus: “Where are we going to eat lunch?”
Me: “At a place called OMC Smokehouse in Duluth.”
The missus: “What does OMC stand for?”
Me to the boys (who had been told earlier): “Who remembers?”
The younger brat: “Oh my cock?”
It’s actually “Oink, Moo, Cluck” (and yes, that’s what I’d told him). These are the true pleasures of parenthood. Anyway, on to the restaurant and the food.
I have no sense of Duluth’s geography and so will not say anything about the neighbourhood OMC Smokehouse is in. I will note that from the small bits of it we saw driving through/to/from lunch it did not strike us as the town we’d want to retire in. But who knows, maybe there’s a lot more to it. There’s a good brewery at least—we drove past Bent Paddle, looking for parking before realizing there is a parking lot behind OMC. Having parked and having confirmed that dogs are welcome on the patio (they even have treats and a water bowl put out, as it happens), we grabbed a large bench. If you’re sitting outside you have to order and pay at the bar and they bring the food out. At the end of the meal you dispose of plates etc. (they’re all compostable) in the bins outside.
If you do sit inside—and if you’re sans dogs you’ll want to do that on all but really warm days probably (it was a little nippy today)—it’s a large, pleasant and casual dining room. I can’t speak to the service indoors but the gent who took our order and brought our food etc. out could not have been friendlier and more helpful. The menu encompasses salads, sandwiches and a number of smoked meat plates. Most things come with a choice of side of one kind or the other; the smoked meat plates come with a choice of two sides. What did we eat?
My father got their BBQ Ranch Salad. Greens, tortilla chips, pico de gallo etc. with pulled smoked chicken. I did not taste it but he liked it. My mother got the Georgia Gold Chicken, a fried chicken sandwich. She liked it very much as well. The brats and we shared half a Smoked Chicken, a half-rack of St. Louis Style Ribs, and a 5 oz plate of Sliced Beef Brisket. All were good but we thought the chicken and the brisket were superior to the ribs. Each came with two sides. We got the cole slaw (good), the mac and cheese (the boys said it was okay), the jalapeno cheese grits (very good), the peas and pancette (very good), baked beans (very good) and shucked elote-style corn (very good). Nothing was outstanding but everything hit the spot. Most importantly, it was very easy to find things that all three generations would happily eat.
For pictures of the restaurant and the food launch the slideshow below. Scroll down to see how much it all cost and to see what’s coming next.
All of this plus tip came to just over $100 or roughly $17/head; more like $21/head if you count our kids as one adult (though the bastards ate more of the ribs than I was counting on them to eat). Probably a bit much for lunch on the run but plausible for what it was.
As our cabin has a fully equipped kitchen we’re only going to be eating one meal out every day. Tomorrow/today (when this post is published) lunch is probably going to be at The Angry Trout in Grand Marais. But before I report on that or any other North Shore meals I’ll have a report on our recent meal at Young Joni in Minneapolis.
And oh, if you’re thinking I’m wasting my time on the North Shore by being on my computer, you can fuck right off. It’s nice to read on the deck with the lake lapping at the rocks a 100 odd feet away and it’s also nice to be on the computer on the deck with the lake lapping at the rocks a 100 odd feet away. Until the mosquitoes come out, that is.