Duluth's burgeoning dining scene is dealt a blow

The Northern Waters Restaurant is closing at the end of the year.

Duluth is losing one of its top dining experiences when the Northern Waters Restaurant closes for good on Dec. 31.

Owners Eric and Lynn Goerdt made the announcement on the restaurant Facebook page, saying they had made a "difficult decision given that our staff and you all are like family to us."

The eatery opened less than two years ago in the Mount Royal Shopping Center, offering a smattering of modern, Nordic-inspired dishes on a menu that also featured Mexican, European and Midwestern influences.

The restaurant was an extension of the Goerdts' Northern Waters Smokehouse deli in the Canal Park neighborhood, popular for its selection of artisanal smoked meats and gourmet sandwiches.

It's the success of the Smokehouse that has caused the restaurant's demise. The Goerdts says because they're expanding delivery service, catering and mail order at their deli shop, "it became clear it needed our full attention."

"Spreading ourselves out too thinly would just lead to disappointment all around," they added.

While the Smokehouse's growth is a positive for the city, the Star Tribune's Table Talk column nonetheless describes the closure of the restaurant as a "huge loss to Duluth's expanding culinary scene."

The Northland's foodie scene recently had another blow with the closure of the critically-acclaimed, fine-dining experience Wild Rice in Bayfield this past October.

There's still a chance to try out Northern Waters though, with the Goerdts saying they and their staff are determined it will go out with a bang between now and the end of the year.

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