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5 Things That Happened This Week

While Fall is not technically here, we at Northern Waters Smokehaus have decided that it is for us, which seems like a good enough place to begin—

  1. Our first pop-up of the season is tonight! Eric and the gang whipped up some tacos that are so dang good we just have to share them with the world—chicken and smoked pork shoulder, slow cooked for six hours with poblano chiles, onion, and juiced whole limes, which are then pulled and “roached” (a NWS neologism for flash roasting) the day of the event (aka today). We’ll be slinging them with fresh salsas at Hoops Brewing from 5-10pm.
  2. We have begun storyboarding our Fall product catalog! In our 20th year, we have decided it is high-time to display our fabulous food in a beautiful booklet. Our dutiful design team has really done number on this project, which is nigh complete, and should be hitting the shelves soon, since it’s, y’know, our Fall product catalog. We’ll keep you updated, but here’s a preview.
  3. Eric spoke with the Duluth News Tribune! Jana Hollingsworth from the DNT came by and observed Eric in his natural habitat—elbows deep* in the process of preparing tacos—for an upcoming profile in the paper. From what I have heard, it was an boisterous and enlightening conversation, full of colorful language which will probably not make it to print, that will offer readers a first-hand account of the beginnings, trials, tribulations, and ultimately, enduring success of our humble deli. Since they gave me the keys to the blog-Corvette, I’ll speak on behalf of the company and express how honored and humbled we are to be given this opportunity to share a bit of ourselves with the community.
  4. We’re hiring again! Seasons come and go, people come and go, but business remains the same. To match demand for our product, we’re hiring in all departments. If you have a commitment to good food, fast-paced teamwork, and inside jokes ranging from absolutely dumb to sidesplittingly hilarious, you’re almost entirely the profile of a Smokehaus employee. Benefits of the job include a free meal each shift, competitive pay rates, healthcare options, friendship, and the opportunity to make loud airhorn noises with your coworkers whenever you happen to congregate in large groups. Bring your resume!
  5. We got rid of the standing desk! It just didn’t work out. Who even really likes standing anyway? #couchlife
    As always, it has been a pleasure writing at you. Catch you again this time next week.
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5 Things That Are Happening At Or Around NWS

Welcome back, dear reader. August has been an exciting month for us here at Northern Waters Smokehaus. We have added fresh faces to our team, said goodbye (see you later? During mail order season? Please, help) to some old friends, sold a whole bunch of tote bags, and generally embraced the end-of-Summer fatigue as a way of life. Here’s some insights into what’s on our minds this week:

  1. Option 1 has commenced!
    For the month of September, Bunchanan St. will be closed to vehicle traffic and used as a public seating area. This is part of Imagine Duluth 2035‘s Imagine Canal Park initiative. This initiative also includes a pop-up park at the Lighthouse Lot at the end of Canal Park Drive, and has been implemented to reinvest in Canal Park and it’s ability to host “uniquely crafted community-oriented spaces.” For more information, check out the press release.
     
  2. Nighttime delivery is coming to a temporary end.
    The season is coming to a close: Days are getting shorter, the lunch rush is getting (marginally) slower, and the students—most of our delivery team—are heading back to school. As a result, we’ll be cutting our delivery hours back to 10am-5pm, with a cutoff for new orders at 4:30pm daily. We look forward to seeing you down in our deli during the Autumn evenings, and our evening delivery drivers will see you again next Summer.
  3. We signed up for Best of the Wurst!
    We’re pleased to be taking part in this year’s Best of the Wurst at Sociable Ciderworks. The event promises “all the sausage you can eat” and benefits non-profit Fair Vote MN. We’ll be serving up some NWS charcuterie classics, as well as some new, exciting recipes currently in development. Tickets are available here.
  4. We announced our 20th Anniversary party and afterparty.
    This just in: NWS’s 20th anniversary celebration will be taking place on September 29th at Hoops Brewing. The afterparty, featuring a roster of NWS employee bands, will happen at the Rex Bar in Fitger’s. Our community has done so much for our business, and we are very excited to give back with what should be a very memorable day of proper NWS revelry. We’ll be closing our deli early that day so everyone can get in on the fun. More information can be found on the Facebook event page.
  5. NWS got their first standing desk.
    This one speaks for itself. A signature NWS innovation.
    Thanks for tuning in, friends. See you next week.
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5 Things That Happened At NWS (Since The Last 5 Things Post)

It’s been a spicy week at NWS—so spicy, in fact, that I need to immediately soothe it with some cool and smooth Smokehaus anecdotes.

  1. We had the best time at the Glensheen Gala! Although prep for the event began early in the week leading up to it, there was still plenty left for the day of the event. Beginning around noon, a small group of the catering team went to Glensheen to set up a beautiful array of tables, decorations, and serveware—shoutout Sue from Hemlock Preserve for bringing her A-game with props and decorations—while the rest of us set ourselves to finishing all the food preparation. I personally spackled about five-hundred squares of pumpernickel with scallion cream cheese for gravlax smørbrød, and shared the tremendous duty of piping boursin into the same number of endives, which we then garnished with sweet peppers. During this process we feasted like royalty on the dismembered crusts of watercress and butter sandwiches. Big bonus for me: This week I encountered endives and watercress for the first time, and I am not sure how I lived so long in the dark.
    Once we arrived with the food and catering gear, we operated at full-speed to set everything up and basically never slowed down the rest of the night. Hundreds of guests poured through our little alcoves loaded with thoughtful questions and kind praise, as we worked like bees, pollinating plates with aromatic cheeses, jams, and fruits; replenishing trays of stilton-pancetta puffs and lamb hand pies; creating delicious desserts in real-time to keep the people well-fed.
    At the end of the night, we were fortunate enough to have some time for individual wandering about the grounds, and got to take in the full spectacle of the Secret Garden Party. Lit paths guiding us along creeks, to courtyard fountains, and gorgeous Lake Superior in the moonlight. It was a full day, and a lovely night of work that at times felt like play.
     
  2. Our design team did a photoshoot at Hemlock Preserve! In addition to a number of future print projects to showcase our product and our business, we are steadily piecing together a product catalog for release in early Autumn. Sue, a wonderful friend and collaborator of our business, and proprietor of the amazing Hemlock Preserve barn-palace-wonderland gave us the perfect location for an epic photoshoot. Thanks, Sue!
  3. The youths have left us to return to their schooling! Some things that happen at NWS are not so savory, and perhaps a tad bittersweet. During the summertime, we take on a swath of young folk to fill in the gaps in our staff. Then the Summer days dwindle and they return to their sedentary lives of learning and self-improvement, while our prep and delivery department doubles down to keep on top of the orders that continue to come in. Perhaps somewhere in here is a desperate plea—if you’re a highly motivated team-player who would like a hand in the back-end of bringing our particular variety of food joy; if you find your daily zen in washing dishes; or if you would enjoy spending time driving, walking, or biking our food around town and otherwise hanging around our fun and talented staff, consider dropping off a résumé or filling out an application.
  4. Blush celebrated their 1st birthday! Prep legend Amy Hazel may spend a lot of time working the grind in our basement, but she and her friends/colleagues also own a wonderful bar/art gallery/music venue called Blush, located downtown on 1st Avenue West. To celebrate their anniversary, they have thrown a weeklong music festival (aptly named Blushfest) which has featured the talents of several NWS staffers and alumni bands, including Moon Dogs, àlamode, RAW SPACE, and Low Forms. The festival continues through Saturday night. Here’s to another year of Blush!
  5. Mayu the corgi visited our office! Designer extraordinaire Zac shared his dog-friend with us for the day. What a squeezable little pup-nugget. Zac should definitely bring her back, or there will be consequences.

That’s all for this week. Thanks for tuning in!

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5 Things (And A Bonus Thing) That Happened This Week At Northern Waters Smokehaus

First off: sorry, reader. Last week a little too much life and a little too much Blues Fest hit yours truly and I wasn’t able to churn out five things that happened. Additionally, a lot of the excitement around the Smokehaus has been ongoing and pinning down five things that weren’t just a continuation of a previous post or a too-early preview of something upcoming was a tall order. “Excuses, excuses,” you are surely thinking, and you wouldn’t be far from the truth. So, without further ado, here’s some exciting news for y’all.

  1. We have a new mail order director! And gosh is she great. Olivia’s first shift was this previous Monday, down in ye olde sandwich shoppe, just to put her through the wringer and familiarize her with our product and customers right off the bat. She comes to us from a management position at Va Bene, and also spent some time working for Northern Waters Restaurant. The mail order director is a big position to fill and she has had a strong start thus far—infectiously enthusiastic and highly credentialed, you’ll certainly be hearing more about her soon (perhaps a profile blog, perhaps written by me). We’re glad to have Olivia on the team.
  2. We have a new floor! Our third-floor office renovation is complete. I have been filling space writing about the new floors, wall, and sink, and I am ready to quit doing that, but expanding our food-prep capabilities is huge for us. For those of you who remember our deli being half the size it currently is—I will never forget bumping shoulders and stepping on toes every thirty seconds for a seven-hour shift—that is kind of how balancing our standard food production, daily prep, mail order packaging, and catering prep has felt. The lack of carpet should also improve our spontaneous company broom ball games.
  3. Blues Festival happened! Those of us who work the grind in our deli and on the sandwich line frequently field the question, “is it always this busy?” Yes and no. Here at NWS, we don’t really have off-days or off-seasons—maybe halfway through October through halfway through November, then again in February and March, but that hardly constitutes a season—but some Summer weekends are just crazy. Blues Festival happened to fall on a very beautiful Duluth weekend, and Canal Park was popping from Thursday night all the way through Sunday (and a few hundred hangers-around on Monday who kept us on our toes). Fortunately, Blues Fest attendees are quite the amiable crowd, and these dog days went by mostly without a hitch. Thanks for your enduring patience with us.
  4. We have added more haus-made bread to our menu! This one caught me by surprise. While slinging sandwiches on the line, I noticed our white bread was no longer pre-sliced, so I checked in with our diligent baker, Jerry. As it turns out, we are now fully-stocked with his fantastic white bread, and he is baking more every Wednesday. It’s available as a substitution for any sandwich, but is perfectly suited for the Motherlover (our “kids” sandwich) or a grilled cheese—which we have long improvised, but have now officially added to our menu.
  5. We finalized the line-up for our 20th Anniversary Party Afterparty! And all of the bands are NWS-affiliated. For those of you who weren’t aware, there is a lot of talent outside of the culinary arts among our staff. We have visual artists, writers, and musicians among us, and it’s definitely a point of pride for the company. More details about the party and the afterparty are forthcoming, and we’re pleased to have a Smokehaus star-studded lineup in place. Both events will be free and open to the public. Stay tuned for an official announcement in the next couple of weeks.

There you have it. Plenty more things have been going on around NWS this week, but I’ll leave you with that. Oh, and since I missed last week, here’s a bonus thing that happened:

Bonus thing 1. Dino Force Five narrowly escapes the Yakfolk Village at Ironslag! At the weekly meeting of our unofficial company D&D campaign, our adventurers had taken on a reconnaissance mission for the dwarves at Citadel Fellbar. In exchange for a lot of gold pieces for successful gathering of information about the return of fire giants to the forge at Ironslag, and a tower built for us if we returned with the head of a fire giant, we headed toward the mountain. In our typically unsubtle fashion, we landed our airship near a thatched village near the summit, and were quickly greeted by several yakfolk who insisted we meet their leader. Long story short, we fell for a trap of hospitality and were nearly drugged into a comatose state. One among us succeeded a constitution saving throw, and quickly consumed a potion of detect thoughts to discover the true intentions of the yakfolk leader. A heated battle ensued which temporarily banished our archer to the astral plane and nearly killed us all, but through clever strategy, very good dice rolls, and again polymorphing our halfling rogue into a Tyrannosaurus Rex, we were able to overcome our foes and escape on our airship. Next week we will collect our gold pieces, and perhaps return more surreptitiously to face the fire giants. (Photo included not from most recent session.)

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5 Things That Happened This Week

As Summer pushes onward toward its inevitable end, Northern Waters Smokehaus finds itself embroiled in growing pains and the joy of new beginnings. A lot has been happening around here in the past week—continuations of capital improvements, commencements of new bargains, and the laying of plans for special occasions.

Before my preamble becomes too amble-y, let’s get to our five things:

  1. We have a sink upstairs! This may not sound as exciting as I have made it out to be, but it’s a significant step in the renovation of our third-floor office. For some time we have wanted to expand our food prep capabilities, and that dream is well on its way to being a reality. Next week we’re tearing out the carpet, and then it’s Food Safe City in this joint! Aside from the chaos of remodeling a jam-packed office—who can’t enjoy a little chaos from time to time?—the only drawback is that we’re taking a brief pause on mail orders. Mail order will be on hiatus August 6th-9th due to temporary lack of space.
  2. Totes! We have new tote bags for sale and a special deal running throughout the month of August. It totes slipped our minds to let you know earlier, but here it is:
    When you buy a tote, at time of purchase you get 20% off every item you can fit in that tote. Sandwiches, smoked fish, cheese, tube meats, posters, crackers, beverages, olives, slaws—I could go on,but I believe you get the gist—are all 20% off, so long as you can fit them in your tote bag. Please note, you’ll be buying the tote itself at full price, and the sale is limited to one full tote of discounted goods per customer.
  3. Last pop-up of the Summer! Tonight (Friday) we’ll be at Hoops Brewing slinging tacos from 5pm until they’re gone. The tacos will be tasty and the salsas will be fresh.
  4. Business is good…sometimes too good. Thanks to you, our awesome customers, we have been regularly selling out of a bunch of our inventory. This is a double-edged sword, of course, as our business is thriving, sometimes at the expense of our customers being able to get their favorite items. A frozen Berkshire ham that arrives at our store takes two weeks to become the delicious smoked ham in our deli case, and our salumi cures for up to a month.  Ciscos are fantastic when we have them, but I still haven’t quite figured out when they’re in-season. Production doesn’t really ever slow down for us, and we do our best to keep our little deli fully stocked. So shoutout to you, dear customers, for keeping us on our feet, but please bear with us if you ever catch us without your favorite item. If you’re curious, you can check in with us to see if and when we’ll have a particular item in stock.
  5. Bread joys and woes. Our beloved baker, Jerry, has been steadily honing his craft in our kitchen. All of our rye bread is now made in-haus, as well as the rosemary potato rolls upon which we serve our Monday smokers’ choice special. White bread and stiratos are in the works, but not quite ready for mass-production. Baking bread is truly an art-form, and one we are glad to be adding to our establishment. We recently purchased a new (much larger) oven to bake said bread, though it hasn’t been a perfectly smooth ride thus far. There have been a few technical issues with the oven over the past week that have put a hitch in our production. Fortunately, Jerry is a gosh-darn workhorse, and has us stocked on rye and potato rolls for weeks to come.So there you have it. It’s been a pretty exciting ride around these parts. Thanks for bearing with us in the long lines, and for your patience with us during our growth spurt. You, and our love of good food, are the reason we’re here.

    Stay tuned for exciting updates in the near future. Planning for our 20th Anniversary party is ongoing and we’ll be making announcements soon. Unless I decide to write another blog post in the meantime, I’ll see you next week.

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5 Things That Happened (Or That We Are Choosing To Acknowledge) This Week!

Welcome, dear reader, to the first edition of me, Ned, telling you about things that happened this week at the Smokehaus. You are in for a treat!
Let’s get to it.

 

 

  1. Upgrading our facilities. The breadth of our business is expanding quickly and our workspace is bursting at the seams. To maximize our ability to produce and supply you with our food, we are in the process of remodeling our third-floor office with Fiberglass Reinforced Plastic walls, which will make the space food safe. That means food prep and production will begin happening on every level of the Smokehaus.

 

 

 

 

2. A successful new promotion. The first Great Cajun Finn Scavenger Hunt wraps up this week! What initially began as a collaborative project between several of us finally fell solely into my very capable hands. After chatting with several very happy winners/scavengers, I am pleased to call this promotion a great success. It tapped into the inherent sense of adventure that many of our customers share, and hiding the magnets/writing the clues was a blast for me. Every magnet* has been found, the quickest of which in a measly twelve minutes, and the slowest of which several days after the fact. Do you think we should make this an annual event? I’m already brainstorming ways to increase the challenge level and make the hunt more adventure-intensive for next season.
*Okay, I’m writing this on Thursday, so that might not be strictly true at the time of publishing. I’m doing my best.

 

 

3. An exciting pop-up and new booze. Vikre Distillery is releasing their brand-new Bent Paddle Black Malt Whiskey today, and we are taking part in the celebration with a pop-up in their space. This is the first time a NW Smokehaus pop-up will have taken place in Vikre’s awesome location, and we’re capitalizing on this momentous step in our ongoing relationship by serving sandwiches with gravlax cured in the new whiskey, in addition to tasty pork loin sandwiches. This party will also feature music by Emily Haavik & the 35s. You won’t want to miss this epic event two years in the making.

 

 

4.Hats! We finally have hats! Our design team went H.A.M. on comfortable and stylish camp caps featuring our Yin-Yang fish logo. They’re available for $20 in our shop and you’ll be sure to see them on the heads of many members of our staff. For those of you trying to stay warm, don’t fret: Smokehaus beanies are coming this Fall!

 

 

 

5. Umbrellas (-ellas, -ellas). We have been working doggedly this Summer to beautify and improve our patio space, and some of you have definitely experienced the woes of our first attempt at setting up sun umbrellas. Basically, it was absolute chaos. The first umbrellas we ordered were quite counter-intuitive and loved to catch wind, which led to epic struggles and slapstick-caliber hijinks for our staff and customers alike. Fortunately, the heroes at San Pellegrino came to our rescue and hooked us up with some awesome umbrellas to mount on our tables. Not only do they look slick, but they are also highly functional. As something of a nod to them, as well as to our numerous customers who thirst for unflavored soda water and San Pellegrino options beyond our standard Blood Orange, we’re going to be adding classy glass San Pellegrino bottles to our lineup in the near future. Stay tuned.

So, there you have it. Wasn’t that fun? Tune in next week, same-ish time for more updates on life at Northern Waters Smokehaus, as interpreted by your old pal, Ned.

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5 Things- Partners in Crime

We don’t actually commit crimes, so cool it! Unless you consider the delicious products that we produce out of our tiny space here in Canal Park’s Dewitt Seitz building to be criminally good? Understandable! But I would posit that it would be a crime NOT to enjoy our amazing, hand-made delicacies and to nourish your loved ones with them. Perhaps it is YOU who is skirting legality? Don’t worry. Your secret is safe with us. If you can live with what you’ve done, so be it.

So, now that we’ve established that it’s completely legal for us to delight your palate with smoky and savory treats. But what happens when we partner with other fantastic businesses to bring you new ways to enjoy our products? Could this possibly be legal? Is it even ethical to bring this much pleasure and happiness to people in our community? Do we have any sense of propriety at all? We don’t know. But if you want to dive into this ethical quandary yourself, here’s a list of a few of our partners in the community who are not only doing wonderful things on their own, but also doing wonderful things with our products. We’re incredibly lucky to live in a community in which people take immense pride in the work that they do, and we feel honored that they think highly enough of us to include us in their schemes.

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The New Scenic Cafe– Owner and Executive Chef Scott Graden took over operations at this by now legendary North Shore restaurant in 1999. Graden and crew quickly garnered a reputation for doing upscale food that was approachable, but undeniably elevated. The region really had never really seen a restaurant that combined The New Scenic’s funky and bohemian space with food that was far-thinking and forward-reaching. Nestled just North of Duluth on Highway 61, the Scenic offers breathtaking views of Lake Superior, as well as carefully appointed outdoor spaces for special events or just to relax with a drink. They even have a yurt! Graden and our own Eric Goerdt have been friends for years, and their mutual admiration/friendly rivalry have taken food at both of our establishments to new heights. The New Scenic has featured several of the Smokehaus’ production items, from our German-style bratwurst to smoked whitefish- and whatever Graden does with our outstanding products elevates them considerably. The menu at The New Scenic is ever changing and seasonally geared, but there are some items so good that they make the menu year-round. One of my personal favorites, the Tuna Sashimi Taco, has been on the menu for several years, but still seems fresh and innovative. The New Scenic is at the head of the pack for a Duluth fine dining experience, and is not to be missed.

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Lake Superior Beach Club– This is the newest venture dreamed up by the staff at Duluth’s Glensheen Mansion. Lake Superior Beach Club will be just east of the existing pier, and this area will have lawn games, board games on picnic tables, menus for food delivery (hint hint) and a cash bar with beer and wine. Glensheen is partnering with Northern Waters Smokehaus for a special event this summer (can’t reveal too many details just yet) and hopefully continuing on into the infinite future. Whether you are meeting new friends at the long community table, enjoying a bonfire (the only place that you can have a fire on the beach in Duluth), or walking the estate to take in the gardens- this pristine spot right on the shores of Lake Superior is not to be missed. If the spectacular sunset that I saw there last night is any indication, this spot will soon be jumpin’ for the rest of the summer.

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Zeitgeist Arts Cafe– Here’s an insider tip: Chef Taylor Peterson, Head Chef at Zeitgeist, used to be the chef at the Smokehaus’ short-lived Northern Waters Restaurant. Taylor also spent several years in the heart of the Smokehaus’ production crew, cranking out the delicious sundries that fuel our sandwich empire. Chef Taylor specializes in classic fare with a twist, but never denigrates his menus into the played-out ‘modern comfort food’ trap. Taylor is a master at execution who demands top-quality ingredients, and his time here at the Smokehaus is credited with informing his palate, along with bringing his culinary creativity to new heights.  You can find a smattering of Smokehaus products throughout Zeitgeist’s menu (a few of which may have migrated from Northern Waters Restaurant’s menu), but the place that they really shine is in their weekend brunch menu. Smokehaus Mexican Chorizo really sings in the sublime Chorizo and Eggs; with pickled red onion, cilantro, crispy tortilla and beans & rice. With a full and carefully appointed bar at your disposal and a menu of  forward-thinking yet classic dishes, you can really make brunch a worthy occasion. But, no matter the time of day you dine at  Zeitgeist, the order of the day is always great ingredients prepared simply.

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Grassroots Gourmet- Located in Minneapolis’ Midtown Neighborhood (and right inside of the Midtown Global Market (!), a deep discussion topic for another time), Grassroots Gourmet has the distinction of being the first place in the Twin Cities Metro area that offered Smokehaus products to our rabid (and rapidly growing) fan base there. Grassroots Gourmet is a locally sourced grocery store and deli with grab and go lunch items, ranging from fresh produce to preserved items. I can tell you from experience that the selection in their cases is a revelation in local cheese- and what a locality to draw from!  The quantity (and quality) of Minnesotan, Wisconsin and Iowan cheese in the last 5 years has absolutely exploded, and Grass Roots patrons definitely benefit from this. We have been humbled by the amount of people in the Twin Cities that have let us know how happy they are to buy our smoked salmon so close to their home. It feels great to know that people a couple of hours south can enjoy a taste of the North Shore whenever they want to. Even if you’re not getting Smokehaus salmon at the market, you will be sure to find something locally sourced and loved with which to make any meal truly special.

Brew Dogs– Is there anyplace in the US that is experiencing a bigger explosion of local breweries than Minnesota? Not only is there a new place opening up seemingly every month, but the quality of the beer being produced is really second to none. Duluth is no exception, with the amazing Hoops and Earth Rider (technically across the bridge in WI, but whatever) opening just within the last year, along with market powerhouses Bent Paddle and Castle Danger, the niche-and-loving-it Blacklist Brewing downtown and the far flung Lake Superior Brewing simultaneously holding court in West End while also holding down the distinction of being Minnesota’s oldest microbrewery. I’m a beer loving man through and through, tried and true, so you can imagine what a paradise this is for someone like me. But what could make sucking down cold suds even better? Snacks! NWS is at the forefront of delivering smoked fish, charcuterie, cheese, sandwiches… whatever you would like, to select breweries. The only criteria is that they have to be close enough to make delivery feasible AND they have to make delicious beer. All of these breweries currently make delicious beer, but proximity-wise Lake Superior Brewing, Hoops Brewing, Bent Paddle, Earth Rider and Blacklist make the cut. Beer heads from all over are raving about these breweries, so if you’re in Duluth and are hungry and thirsty, you could be completely dialed with a one stop shop.

 

 

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5 Things- Summer lives in Duluth!

Orange is the new “AAAACK”! 

This past week was a pretty interesting one- we survived Grandma’s marathon and then our city was visited  by a man known as Commander-in-Chief. We also managed to smoke meat and fish, dry-cure salumi and make sandwiches for the hungry masses, so we had that going for us, which is nice. I could tell you the tales of about a million things from this week, but I will just start with 5 things.

1.The President of the United States of America was in Duluth.  That’s right, the POTUS was in town to hold a rally. Someone from Rolling Stone Magazine wrote a rather infamous (at least by Duluth standards) article about the rally, which was beautifully rebutted by our Mayor Emily Larson here. 

 

2. All the Hoopla that you can handle. Our pals over at Hoops Brewing here in Canal Park are already celebrating their 1 year Anniversary! It’s hard to believe, but it is not hard to believe that Hoops has become a brewing institution in our fair city, because Head Brewer and proprieter Dave Hoops is truly at the top of his game. Beer fans from around the region are flocking to Hoops not only because of  the quality of their product, but also the sheer variety that they offer. Hoops has done a great job showing dedication to the classic styles that can be so tricky to nail, but also lots of fun and innovative brews that keep rabid Beerheads coming back for more. Hoop-La is the aptly named event this weekend to celebrate this momentous anniversary. Look for great food, music,  games, and also just a lot of fun to be had. Hoops has been a great partner to Northern Waters Smokehaus for even longer than Hoops Brewing has existed, and we couldn’t be happier for their success. We also really like drinking Keller Pils there after work. Get there!

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3. Lake Avenue Live features tons of Smokehausers. Our neighbors across the hall here in the Dewitt Seitz building, Lake Avenue Cafe, hold a really fun event each year during Grandma’s Marathon known as Lake Avenue Live. They rent a tent, get great live music, and throw a party for those revelers that are not particularly interested in seeing Smashmouth, Sugar Ray or any of the other  improbable acts that grace the multitude of other events that happen here in Canal Park over the course of Marathon Weekend. Ned, Jeremy, Brian and Amy from the Smokehaus were all part of musical acts featured at the event. Even former Smokehaus employee from a million years ago and current ingenue Haley was in on the action with her band Gramma’s Boyfriend. It was fun as hell, and everyone enjoyed a few drinks and some great music. Hopefully this event continues on into infinity.

 

 

4. Smokehaus got Pride. June is National Pride Month, and we at the Smokehaus wanted to do something in recognition of this special yearly event. NWS has decided to launch a fundraising program starting the first week of July and continuing on until Duluth’s Pride event in August. We contacted our friends at Lutheran Social Services to help us decide where this money could be best utilized. LSS clued us in to the excellent Together for Youth program. The purpose of Together for Youth is to affirm the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning, allied  and intersectional youth, and to assist them in navigating their way through a world in which their lives are often negated or denigrated. This program really speaks to a growing need in our community, and we are so happy to be contributing to the solution. Our mode of fundraising for this is selling a really cool sticker (see below), designed in-house by our creative team. We love the sticker (we have plans to make a poster of it for our shop as well), and many of us here at the Smokehaus are going to buy one for not only the great cause, but just because it looks so cool. NWS has been an official partner to our local Pride event for many years, but since this year is our 20th anniversary, we thought it would be neat to throw even more support to the GLBTQAI community. We know it’s the right thing to do, and it feels really good to do it.

5. “Now I will believe that there are unicorns…” Remember how we were talking up our new hippie leanings a few weeks ago? We began smoking tempeh and tofu in earnest, changing up recipes, figuring out the best holding methods, and so on. It’s been a really important journey for us in terms of being able to serve a previously under served demographic here at the Smokehaus- Vegans. We had a few fits and starts, ended up scrapping the smoked tempeh idea, but ultimately came out with a smoked tofu product that we are excited about. And what’s more, exciting products lead us to the inspiration for exciting new sandwiches! In the spirit of that, let me introduce to you The Tempest: an absolutely delicious vegan sandwich that features our smoked tofu, house made romesco, tomato, cucumber, basil and cilantro; all housed on a stirato roll. This sandwich has a really nice cheesy texture and flavor from the tofu, and a delicious savory quality from the romesco, while the fresh herbs and veg really punch up the flavor on this instant classic of a sandwich. Vegans, vegetarians and omnivores alike are losing their fool minds about The Tempest. I personally think that it’s one of the best sandwiches we’ve invented in quite some time.

 

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HOLD ON!!!! BONUS THING!!!!!! That’s right! This is technically a 6th Thing! Free of charge!  I would be remiss if I did not add that The Smokehaus’ Cajun Finn Scavenger Hunt is starting next week on Monday, July 2nd. Find the secret magnet location, grab the magnet, and win a sandwich! Since it’s our 20th anniversary this year, we’re giving away 20 sandwiches in 20 different locations all throughout the month of July. It will be a rollicking good time, and you might get fed FOR FREE.

Learn more about this really fun event here. 

 

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5 Things- Summer Madness!

Summer officially begins on June 21st, but here at the Smokehaus, it effectively starts Memorial Day Weekend. As the weather warms up, tourists and locals alike naturally gravitate towards Lake Superior, Canal Park and Park Point (along with all of the other incredibly beautiful outdoor spaces in Duluth) to soak up that precious surf and sun.  Memorial day weekend is usually when we start to notice that the lines extend a little further down the hallway at our lunch rush, the summertime SECONDARY lunch rush starts in earnest, and that we have a generally hard time getting in and out of our beloved workplace. Right about now you’ll start to notice that our 5 Things blogs will get away from talking about plans, product development and visioning our business, and will probably shift more towards the nuts and bolts of what we will do in earnest for the next 4 months; sling sandwiches.  We have a minute, though, to talk about some other stuff. Let’s get into it!

 

 

What’s ‘On Deck’?  Great question! The answer is more creature comforts. We’ve had a really nice deck right outside our door for the entire time we’ve existed here at The Dewitt Seitz building, and through the years we’ve added more tables and chairs to accommodate our growing number of patrons. Since we don’t have a ton of space in our actual deli, the deck really becomes our dining room for a lot of people. We’ve had it in our minds for a while to put a some of our personality outside of our shop, and the deck offers the perfect canvas. Our amazing team here at The Smokehaus brought the vision to life by buying umbrellas, planters, flowers and furniture, along with creating custom decals to decorate some of the furniture. Our customers have absolutely loved the small but cozy touches that we’ve added, and we’ve even heard rave reviews from our staff. Having a beautiful outdoor space that matches what we do inside the building is just another small step along the way for us in crafting a customer experience that is both memorable and comfortable.

 

 

The Smokehaus just keeps popping up! The businesses that we partner with are extremely important to us. We are so incredibly lucky to have a business partner right here in Canal Park that we not only respect as a business, but is also comprised of our good friends.  Our old pal Dave Hoops has a pretty great (and important in the world of Duluth beer) brewery just about a block away from our Deli. Hoops Brewing also loves great partnerships, which is why they are allowing Northern Waters Smokehaus to curate a pop up restaurant in their taproom on the first Friday of each and every month. We love to draw inspiration for these pop ups from the incredible beers brewed at Hoops, and we’ve done everything from ribs and kimchi to Bison Buddies snack sticks to good old fashioned bratwurst and polish sausage. One thing that we haven’t done much (until the last couple Fridays) was tacos… which seems crazy, right? Our homie TK brought the prerequisite brawursts and accouterments to the party, along with our famous Smokehaus Canrne Adovada tacos. Lo and behold, the tacos were were a huge hit and the first thing to sell out ( pairing brilliantly with Hoops’ Keller Pils ). Catch us each and every month at Hoops for more exciting snacks and, probably, tacos. Speaking of…

Taco Tuesday is maaaaaybe just a little played out. As a concept! Not as a way of life, obviously. But, we recognize that many many places do a riff on Taco Tuesday (including us) and that many of them ripped the concept off from a rather large taco corporation with an inexplicably Anglo-Saxon name purported as their leader (including us). But that doesn’t mean that Taco Tuesday can’t be special, and here at The Smokehaus we do our utmost to make it the best of the best. The aforementioned Carne Adovada tacos from the Hoops popup have always been a staple of our Tuesday special, but we’ve recently really expanded our taco horizons even further. This past Tuesday brought Gringo Tacos. More John than Juan, the Gringo Taco is just like Mom used to make: ground beef (except we grind the beef ourselves), cheddar cheese, iceburg lettuce, tomatoes and salsa (house made). We know that most people get the crispy taco shells that  you toast in the oven, but we weren’t prepared to go quite that far in the name of kitsch, so we decided to offer house-made corn tortillas and soft flour tortillas. Other awesome and even fusion-like flavors of tacos we’ve slung have included Green Curry (a nod to the cuisine of Indian food guru Madhur Jaffrey) and just a plain old (not at all plain OR old) pulled pork taco with simple accompaniments of onion, cilantro and salsa. Got a hankering for a Tuesday taco flavor? Hit us up! We’re trying to change the taco game each week, and we will take any help or suggestions that you have to offer. We feel as though there is always room for collaboration. And tacos. Always tacos.

So Fresh, So Clean- In the past few years, we’ve taken a lot of care in sprucing up and ramping up the functionality of our tiny deli and storefront. Think about it; we had the television show Diners, Drive Ins and Dives show up 8 long years ago, and ever since have been reacting to the astounding amount of business that it has brought our way. Our deli was definitely going through some growing pains trying to accommodate the droves of hungry food tourists beating down our door, but we did it. And we think that we did it pretty well. With all of the big changes that have happened, you often don’t have a moment to contemplate the significance of the small changes. This week, our property manager decided that we were next on the list for a refresh of paint, so we jumped at it! It’s still a work in progress, but we feel that the color scheme that we picked really goes a long way in making the space inviting and calming for not only patrons but our staff as well.  Check out the beginnings here, and come see the final result in person. We think you’ll approve!

Scavenger Hunt- 2018 is the year that we celebrate 20 years of Northern Waters Smokehaus. Knowing what a milestone this is for any business, we decided that we should take the time leading up to our actual anniversary (September) to do some fun stuff for the community that we live in, which coincidentally is the community that supports us so beautifully. Maybe it’s not such a coincidence, but one thing is for certain; we wanted to let Duluth know how much it means to us. More is in the works in the next few months (I won’t get into it here), but we figured we’d start hyping what we think will be a really fun part of our summer- A Scavenger Hunt! In the month of July, we’ll be releasing clues via our social media outlets for a giveaway of 20 (see what we did?) Cajun Finn sandwiches. We chose the Finn because it is not only our most popular sandwich, but we feel our most iconic. Check us out on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for clues starting July 2nd and win some lunch! Why wouldn’t you?

 

 

Get here in the Summer! Also, get here in the rest of the year. Duluth is beautiful, and it makes us really happy to share it with the people who appreciate it. See you soon!

 

 

 

 

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5 Things- Word to your mom

It’s been yet another crazy week here at the Smokehaus.

We’re a bit beside ourselves trying to figure out what the weather is going to do, and what our place within that ultimately is, but no matter what, the big Smokehaus wheel keeps turning and churning out great products. In this edition of 5 Things, we talk about what we’re doing, how we’re doing it, and how we let everyone know.

Hippie Takeover!!! Ok, so there’s this thing where your company is so immersed in their own world and culture that they forget about the world at large, right? Well, we at The Smokehaus are no different. Our main focus since inception was to make quality products that no one else in our region, and very few in the United States, could match. Upon our start, we were really in a league of our own- largely because literally no one else was producing fine charcuterie and smoked fish to the high standard that we were. Our founder, Eric, has a real and palpable passion for food, and he is able to not only convey that to others, but find the people who have that same very real feeling to work beside him. So, love of food informs all that we do, and one thing we now know is that there are a lot of people out there who have this same love of food, but cannot or will not eat gluten or animal products. Which is why we have taken on the task of producing a delicious substitute for meat, so that anyone with any dietary needs can enjoy one of our signature sandwiches. We started off by trying to smoke both firm tofu and tempeh. We’re still learning! Our staff had mixed opinions, but we agreed that we were on to something! Everyone who works for us brings a wealth of food knowledge to the table, and so by our constant collaboration we feel as though we will eventually produce something that is really special. So, we will update you with our progress in the weeks to come, and until we nail it we will just keep trying these delicious experiments.

 

hippie takeover 5 things

Word to ya Mother! We know that you love your Momma. We love our own Mommas as well, and have our own traditions in which we celebrate them each year. True to form, our owner Eric has a pretty unique food tradition with his Mom (with whom he credits kindling his love of all things culinary). Spring in Northern MN/WI/MI has always meant the annual running of the smelt. If you’re not familiar, smelt are a little sardine-like fish that are actually an invasive species to the Great Lakes, but one that those in the know really love. The tradition for fishing these little guys is to go to one of the many large tributary rivers of the Great Lakes and wade out near the mouth. There is a specialized net called a seine that kind of looks like a volleyball net which two people stretch out beneath the water. In a carefully orchestrated maneuver they will haul the net up on to shore, hopefully full of these little fish-stick fishes. The smelt are de-headed and gutted (usually with a pair of scissors and your thumb) and then lightly dredged in flour or battered and then deep-fried. The big smelt you can easily peel the backbone and little bones out and eat it like a fish stick (avoid the very end tail fin). The smaller smelt you can just crunch down bones and all (I kind of like the bones). They’re something that you can really only get fresh in parts of the Great Lakes region and definitely something that is not available in Iowa where Eric is from and where his Mother still lives. Eric’s Mom loves these little morsels, and every year Eric either cooks her some or ships them to her door. It’s such a cool and uniquely Northern thing to do that we have others considering this type of celebratory feast. The timing is perfect and the fish is suprisingly good, so why not give it a shot?

smelt 5 things

Beer And Food Are Great Partners! So, we know that craft beer has been absolutely exploding in our home state of Minnesota in the last 5 years (Not literally. Overcarbonated?), and we feel like one of the champions and great contributors to that would be The Growler Magazine. If you haven’t seen copies of this mag lying around your finer liquor stores it could mean that they have all been swooped up by those in the know who want to be even more in the know about the world of beer and it’s culture. The Growler has great contributing artists and writers who all share the common goal of educating and celebrating Minnesota (and beyond) beer, along with anything (food, culture, lifestyle) that goes with it. Luckily, The Growler has given our business great ink over the years, and it is readily apparent that the folks that work there truly love our food. In the spirit of that, The Growler came to our Canal Park offices to talk to our owner Eric and our General Manager Mary. Everyone sat down with some sandwiches and had a great lunchtime discussion about the history of The Smokehaus from inception to the present-day, with heavy emphasis on the thing at the heart of our success- our culture. The mutual admiration of our two entities was apparent, and our bond has been irrevocably established. We hope to collaborate in the future, at least on eating great food and drinking great beer, but who knows? The sky is the limit with two businesses that feel such great passion for what they do.

 

growler 5 things

Save your bottles in the 218! Since our business is directly dependent on the pristine waters of Lake Superior, we consider ourselves stewards of the environment maybe more than others normally would. We also are a business comprised of people who love the outdoors and love all of the satisfaction and serenity that our favorite body of water provides us. We try to make small and large decisions that impact how we interact with the environment around us, and we always try to make as little of a footprint as possible. To that end, we decided to splurge and get a bottle filling station in our deli. Any one of our customers and really anyone in the building can fill up for free in a reusable container, thus saving on plastic water bottles. The station even counts how many bottles you have saved! One of our deli superstars Ned snapped this most opportune photo in celebration of not only what we’re saving on plastic, but also the area code in which we reside. It’s the little things that you do every day that make a difference, and we are ever on the hunt for that next little thing that we can do to preserve not only our pristine environment, but the lifestyle that we live within it.

 

water station 5 things

Smokehaus Walk With Me. Our creative team has been on their grind lately! We have started to realize that our reach as a business is getting further and further, and that we need to respond and evolve along with the needs of our customers and in turn our own needs. Our first foray into a filmed commercial came at the hands of Jacob, a rising superstar in our Creative Department. You may notice that this commercial pays homage to one of those cult-classic weirdo television shows that is loved by only a few, but with a rabid devotion. This commercial is currently running at the local art house movie theater Zinema 2, and on our YouTube channel. We absolutely love it, and we think that you will too.

PICKUP & DELIVERY / TWIN PORTS

Did you know the Smokehaus does pickup & delivery? With beach season fast approaching, nobody has time for lines!

Posted by Northern Waters Smokehaus on Wednesday, May 9, 2018