Evaluating Duluth’s breakfast specialists

November 11, 2014

Thomas Walchuk
Zenith City Weekly

Duluth has its culinary struggles, but breakfast is one area in which she shines, sunny side up, in atmosphere, food, and prices.

With its 360-degree turntable of panoramic wonder, the Radisson Hotel Duluth-Harborview, at 505 West Superior Street, has the premier atmosphere in town. But even after a multi-million dollar facelift, the Radisson continues to disappoint in service, style, and gastronomic capabilities. Just being in the right place does not guarantee greatness; you have to strive for it.

Another entity that commands an opulent view but withholds service is Midi Wine Bar & Restaurant, occupying the envious space vacated by Chef Bob Bennett at 600 East Superior Street. The view is spectacular, particularly in the winter when inclement weather is a perfect reason to stay inside the Fitger’s Complex. The breakfast menu is competent, especially the Eggs Benedict (provided Bennett protégé Will Rindahl is still on-board), but the wait for service can only be described as painful.

Uncle Loui’s Café, at 520 East Fourth Street, tops my list, but it is a shame to send you there unless you are committed to standing in line for a long time, only to be crushed into a booth too small, with a server too smart for her own good. But suffer these indignities you must, because Uncle Loui’s delivers the goods.

Whether dishing up the Green Eggs and Ham Omelette (pesto, don’cha know), Eggs Florentine (spinach and onions, yah), or something off-the-wall like the Tailgate Scrambler, Loui’s knows how to treat you right and send you home with leftovers.

Another fine place to get your morning feed on is Pizza Luce at 11 East Superior Street, though they only offer it on Saturdays and Sundays from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., and their service at those times can be horrific. It’s like they don’t expect to be busy.

With selections like classic and not-so-classic Benedicts, prepared vegan or gluten-free, they should expect to be busy every weekend. Anybody offering a verde sauce in Duluth gets my attention. Top that off with a very reasonably priced Bloody Mary bar and engaging live music.

The Original Coney Island, at 107 East Superior Street, is a hotdog stand that doesn’t know its own limitations, featuring gorgeous wood-stained booths circa 1920 and an attitude to match. Stick with the classic breakfast plate or take your chances with a Shore Breakfast or 1921 Platter. Plus, they pour the strongest coffee in town.


Photo by Thomas Walchuk

West Duluth’s Sun Shine Café rises to the top because of their genuine appreciation of customers.

There is nothing more magical than someone who makes you feel welcome in their restaurant, and Sun Shine Café, at 5719 Grand Avenue in West Duluth, takes top honors in this category.

Despite the Arco brand coffee and processed American cheese, Sun Shine Café rises to the top through their genuine appreciation of your presence. I always get fast and friendly service that’s never pretentious and I love the people I meet there.

Tom Walchuk has worked in the restaurant industry for most of his long life. He is currently a restaurant and event consultant for Tippy Toe Tunes, a collaborative endeavor he co-founded with like-minded long-time restaurant manager/consultants. He believes every restaurant is a journey and it sometimes takes your own creative decision-making for a good experience to materialize wheresoever ye may wander.



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