Whether we’re popping up to sell smoked chicken wings at a local watering hole, dropping off a dozen platters of smoked fish, cheese and crackers, or serving cocktails* and several courses alongside table settings and décor, we take pride in our catering at Northern Waters Smokehaus.
Catering is a space in which we are able to refine what we already do well—making delicious, memorable food—and challenge ourselves. While we have plenty of tried and true dishes and hors d’oeuvres at our disposal, we pride ourselves in rising to the occasion for just about any style of food our customers request.
But these words on a screen hardly do our catering department justice. Even sporadic posts on our company’s Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram pages barely hold a flame to the magic and artistry that comes alongside NWS catering.
So we wondered, why not create a space strictly for our catering department?
And when we could find no reason, we set out working on @northernwaterscatering (hereafter NWC) on Instagram. Complete with story highlights outlining everything one should know about NWC, answers to frequently asked questions, contact information, and, of course, high-quality images of dishes and venues that look even better in person, we hope this page is a welcome supplement to our website’s catering page, and ideally a one-stop shop for any catering-curious customers.
If the title seems a bit esoteric, don’t worry too much. You have a couple of options: a.) type “explosive cyclogenesis” into your search engine of choice (step a2.) profit), or b.) wait for me to tell you it’s the technical terminology for the so-called “bomb cyclone” ravaging the Midwest.
If you’re still with me, I must confess that the extremely low barometric pressure is affecting my ability to weave the goings-on around the Smokehaus into an interesting narrative roughly describing the week.
Instead of reaching, I’ve decided to share some suggestions with you, based on my own personal experience and taste. Do with these suggestions what you will.
Have a ginger ale with your Slammin’ Gordon.
The Slammin’ Gordon is a fantastic sandwich as presented on the menu, but I rarely make one for myself without adding some pickled ginger. It is sweet and spicy, and it plays very well with the just about everything else in the sandwich, especially the diced cucumber and the horseradish in the salmon pâté.
However, all of our sandwiches are perfect the way they are, so if you’re a purist, why not try a beverage pairing that hits all the same notes? On the sweeter end, we offer Sprecher’s Ginger Ale in our deli. For something spicier, you could check out the selection down the hall from our deli at Blue Heron Trading Company.
The Italiensk pairs exceedingly well with Lemon LaCroix.
Unless you are vegetarian, vegan, or specifically tell me “anything but pork,” I will recommend the Italiensk to you. It always makes my short list of favorite sandwiches when prompted, and it goes well with just about any of our sides.
However, my preferred way to eat an Italiensk is alongside a lemon bubbly water. The sandwich itself is something of a paradox to me: There is enough food there to constitute a full meal, both in variety of ingredients and total caloric value of those ingredients, but it is so delicious and easy to scarf down quickly that eating it on its own leaves me wanting something. My greedy stomach yells at me to stuff more food into it, which sometimes ends up being the case—original kettle chips are my go-to in those moments—but my wise mind knows the truth: I just want to spend more time with my Italiensk.
Queue lemon bubbly water, which serves as a crisp and refreshing interlude between every bite, singing in tight two-part harmony with the basil near the top of the sandwich, and most importantly, extending the quality time I get to spend with one of my favorite Smokehaus sandwiches.
If you’re feeling bold, ask us for a single extra basil leaf on the side, tear it up with your bare hands, and put the basil confetti in your bubbly water. The benefits are twofold: an extra aromatic zip in your drink, and your hands will smell like basil, which is a great way to smell.
The Pork Lion makes me crave cola.
The Pork Lion is still a relatively young sandwich at NWS. It’s a hero roll with smoked pork loin, tomato, cumin slaw, lettuce, cilantro, mayo and red pepper flakes.
I’m no expert on cola flavoring, but I’m fairly certain at least two of the above flavors are present to some degree in most cola recipes.
Don’t overthink it, just try it. We usually have Coca-Cola and Diet Coke on hand.
The Motherlover deserves some extra love.
Arguably our most basic sandwich—white bread, mayo, lettuce, protein—the Motherlover begs for personal experimentation. It is almost the BYO sandwich we will never put on our menu.
For marginal price increases per ingredient, you can add whatever the heck you want to this sandwich, and it’s probably going to taste good, but my personal favorite addition involves bending the rules of what is considered right and proper by the majority of parents and guardians: You get to play with your food.
Here’s the trick: purchase the sandwich and a bag of kettle chips (whatever your favorite flavor is). When you get them, remove the top piece of bread and move the lettuce to the side. Place whatever amount of the chips you find appealing on top of the protein—I usually use about a third of the bag. Replace the lettuce and the bread and smush the newly reformed sandwich together.
Really enjoy the crunching of the chips under your might. It’s part of the experience. Then continue to enjoy the crunch and flavor enhancement in every bite.
This one comes with a special caveat—don’t enjoy them at the same time.
I’m trying to help you optimize your brain function here. Salmon is brain food. The Northern Bagel is a great way to start your day, a perfect pick-me-up for lunch, and even good in the evening. If you’re trying to kick your brain function into gear, enjoy it with a tall glass of hydrogen-dioxide.
Give your body a half-hour to begin processing all those awesome fatty acids—I am not a nutritionist, so this is more of a loose guideline than any sort of educated instruction—and cleanse your palate of the lingering smoked salmon and scallion taste, then crack open the cold press (which is available all around Duluth, but conveniently in our deli) and sip it slowly.
When the cold press hits you, every light will shine a bit brighter and the words and thoughts and feelings flowing through you may cause an overwhelming urge to finally finish your novel. Do that, or at least channel that exuberance into whatever the rest of your day holds. The fatty acids from the salmon have your back.
If you prefer a gentler caffeine buzz, and a flavor that pairs better with scallion cream cheese and smoked salmon, try one of our Honest Tea options. We carry lemon black tea and green tea.
Don’t forget to drink that glass of water.
One Thing™ that happened this week.
In preparation for our Summer and Fall catering seasons, we’re working with our longtime friend Sue Watt at Hemlock Preserve to market what we believe is a perfect venue for a Smokehaus-catered soirée—the aforementioned Hemlock Preserve.
On Monday morning, Hannah, Flo and I traveled out to Esko to visit Sue, pick through some linens and table settings, absorb some stories about the renovations going on throughout the property (including the new log cabins, the raised-platform yurts, and the eclectic decorations), and scout photo opportunities.
We had a great time, and are looking forward to our upcoming photo shoots. Here are some of my favorite smartphone camera photos in the meantime.
Catering at Northern Waters Smokehaus comes in many forms—as simple as an All-Season Atlantic Salmon Fillet on a platter with an assortment of crackers, a pop-up at your venue slinging an item or two tailored to the theme of your event, or enough pulled pork and slaw to feed a small army; or, depending on your needs, as complex as a fully-staffed overnight company retreats or weddings in conjunction with our partner Hemlock Preserve.
We believe that food has the potential to bring people together and define memories, so our catering service is aimed at those who value delicious, high-quality food and want it to be a part of the collective memory of their event. We use the same thoughtfully-sourced ingredients as you’d find in our deli, and whenever possible we use seasonal and regional produce.
Our service is highly customizable, and from the get-go we will work closely with you, giving you detailed quotes along the way. While we have a number of tried-and-true standard and favorite menus at our fingertips, your input is welcome and encouraged. We love the challenge of crafting an impactful menu based on our customer’s vision.
In 2018, we had the honor of catering the annual gala at the Glensheen mansion. The theme was “Secret Garden: Unlocked,” an allusion to an early 20th-century English children’s novel. The menu—which featured English hand pies with lamb, peas, mint, and potatoes; watercress finger-sandwiches with Devon butter on hausmade pullman white bread; gravlax and scallion cream cheese atop rye crisps; Stilton puffs with pancetta and candied walnuts; cucumber cups with fresh pea soup, crème fraîche, cured herring roe, and pea shoots; a selection of cheese with paired fruits and preserves; and a number of desserts, including lavender macaroons and raspberry trifle pies—was meticulously planned and strategically executed to guarantee that each bite could be enjoyed at peak flavor and freshness.
Sue Watt, from Hemlock Preserve, went above and beyond with gorgeous serviceware and memorable decorations. A favorite unexpected decoration was the moss-covered remains of a swinging-bench frame, found in an eroded section of a friend’s lakefront property. The piece suggested such nostalgia and history, it wove itself right into the fabric of the magical, overgrown English garden theme.
Even if you’re not working with a Glensheen mansion-sized budget, you don’t have to miss out on the variety and quality we can offer.
For smaller events, we have short menu of favorite platters, organized and priced around your estimated headcount, available for delivery or in-store pickup. Within this menu we are able to adjust items to accommodate dietary restrictions and specific preferences. For most catering orders that don’t require staffing or extensive planning, we ask for 24-hours’ notice. The more time we have to plan for it, the better.
For events that require minimal staffing, using our pre-planned menus with minimal deviations, a couple weeks to a month of advance notice should suffice. Think rounding out the food offerings at your company holiday party, or a pop-up bratwurst stand at your show.
For larger events and events with large staff & travel requirements, 6 months to a year is ideal. Typically, we try to meet face-to-face with you as soon as possible to ensure a mutual personal connection, with time for several meetings and correspondences along the way. Don’t limit your thinking to food and service alone, alongside Hemlock Preserve, we can take care of the venue, flowers, decorations, and settings too.
Ultimately, however, the best part about working with us for catering is our staff. We’re an eclectic and eccentric bunch of skilled folks who know that work doesn’t necessarily have to feel like work if you have fun doing it. On on top of all that, we all believe in the importance of the work we do, and we know how to throw a good party. Catering is a chance to show off our skills and abilities that aren’t necessarily apparent in the day-to-day work around the deli.
Catering is nothing new to us, but it is always exciting. Join in on the excitement. See how we can help you make your event a hit.
For catering inquiries, call (218)724-7307 and ask for Hannah, or email us at email@example.com
Northern Waters Smokehaus is teaming up with local breweries and bars to offer their one-of-a-kind sandwiches and catering delivery to foodless businesses throughout the Twin Ports.
Starting with the 250-seat Hoops Brewery in Canal Park, the Smokehaus delivery mobile and fleet of bikes will deliver Cajun Finns, Pastrami Mommys, and Sitka Sushis all over town to feed hungry bar patrons some classic Duluth cuisine. The small deli and sandwich shop can get pretty congested, so customers hoping to avoid lines and the hustle and bustle of “the shop” can simply hop on their phones, scroll through the full menu online, and be eating a Cold Turkey with extra Crayo and a Jean Jacket (that’s cilantro and Sriracha, FYI) in 45 minutes via delivery.
Smokehaus food, painstakingly developed in the basement of the Dewitt Seitz Building for nearly 20 years, is ideal for beer sipping. Rich, slightly smoky, touched with salt, and eminently snackable, Smoked Salmon with Black Pepper and Coriander, Berkshire Pork Loin, Bison Buddies, and Curried Leg of Lamb can all stand up to a generous IPA – both beer and the Smokehaus’s recipes have a rich (mostly) European legacy. With such a delightful crop of talented brewmeisters in the Twin Ports and a delivery department full of energetic Smokehausers, it seems a supreme match for the food-brew-curious and longstanding culinary intelligentsia alike. Smokehaus delivery has been bringing the goods to Duluthians since 2015.
Thinking of holiday food for gatherings? Northern Waters Smokehaus may be able to give you a leg up.
December is a natural month for gatherings – just cold enough to wet the appetite and light the fires, but not yet the prohibitive deep freeze of January. And what is better for a gathering than hand-made smoked fish and meats?
We at the Smokehaus love to roast ourselves and our meals together, defying the dark and the snow, in our garages and backyards. We have a long and passionate history with gatherings – providing them and participating!
Our smoked fish and meats are perfect for entertaining – they are ready to eat, luxurious, local and unique. We provide wooden platters brimming with slices of smoked pork loin, salami, olives, and cheeses for the boardroom or break room; we ship insulated boxes full of carefully packaged and impeccably smoked salmon, whitefish, and lake trout (or anything else your heart desires) straight to the office, the home, or the nearest campfire (if has a physical address, FedEx will find it!).
So, go on – get toasty, eat well, laugh together, and enjoy a little holiday spirit. We all deserve it a little, right?