Welcome back to 5 Things™. This week we have a very important announcement: December 16th-18th are the final days of mail order shipping until next year. January 6th, to be precise, is when mail order shipping resumes. The last day to place an order to be shipped is Tuesday, the 17th.
Between writing a company newsletter and continuing to work on the cookbook, I’ve become a bit exhausted of words this week. The rest of this week’s Things™ will be mostly photographs. If there are words describing them, it is because I couldn’t help myself.
Duluth Winter Village.
Participating in the Duluth Winter Village at Glensheen is always a joy.
I got to work at my favorite desk this week. Here’s the view right up against the glass.
And from a few feet back.
Deli Life: Cheesy.
Our deli is stocked to the brim with amazing cheeses, like this trio from Jasper Hill Farms. I eagerly await the next shipment, since setting out a sample of the newly-arrived cheeses for employees to sample is common practice at the Smokehaus.
Carrot Cake Cookies are back!
In case you hadn’t noticed in that last photo—I get it: I’m not a great photographer and there’s a lot of glare/reflection—Patricia’s amazing cookie sandwiches are back in-stock.
Thanks for stopping by 5 Things™! See you next week!
Over the past year, we at Northern Waters Smokehaus have taken a serious look at our history and our present business model, as a way to plan for our future success.
At the beginning, we were just a small smoked fish shop somewhere in Superior, WI. After a great deal of hand-wringing, Eric gave in and came up with a few new options to satiate the customers who craved something more. Eventually the demand for something new built up again and Eric yielded, as he did again and again, and finally arrived at something beginning to look like the diverse lineup of products we offer. Frankly, it has gotten out of hand.
Before I get too far ahead of myself, we will still be offering a wide assortment of smoked fish & meats, cheese, olives, etc.
Sandwiches were originally just a marketing ploy. A chunk of baguette, cut and butter-spackled, is a perfect vessel upon which to sample out a few slices of saucisson sec. But, as the old saying goes, if you give a customer a sample sandwich, they’re going to want a sandwich menu.
And just like the smoked meats, the demand grew and grew, and so did the menu.
Offering a dazzlingly wide variety of options on our sandwich menu eventually became a point of pride. Silly protein-related puns turned into top-down designs of new sandwiches. Sometimes an employee would slap together a few random ingredients, obsess about it, start calling it a particular name over and over until it forcibly caught on. Sandwiches even came to folks in dreams, which is a sentence I never imagined I’d be able to write in a professional setting.
So we put them on the menu, gave them glorious painstakingly crafted signage, memorized how to make them, recommended them and observed people’s reactions to the clever names…then sighed as they ordered—yet again—the Cajun Finn sandwich.
The Cajun Finn: Scallion cream cheese, cajun-seasoned smoked Atlantic salmon, pepperoncinis, roasted red peppers, and lettuce on a ciabatta roll. Sure, it’s good. It may even be great. Heck, it’s probably exceptional. But every time?
In its nearly two decades of existence, the Cajun Finn has earned a cult-like following, and has become nearly synonymous with the name Northern Waters Smokehaus.
We’ve listened to the people, and are giving them what they want. So, without further ado, effective today, we are truncating our sandwich menu, and only offering the Cajun Finn. In the wise words of one employee, “choice is really just a burden.”
Gone are the days of struggling to find a spot on the sandwich line to make a Hedonist, a Sitka Sushi, or a Northern Bagel. Gone are the days of the right-hand sandwich maker joking, “time to ride ‘the Finn Train,'” because, from here on out, it’s all Finn Train all day.
We hope to see you soon for a sandwich. Try the Cajun Finn! It’s the only option.
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.
Word to ya Mother! Weknow 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?
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.
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.
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.