As iconic dining establishments in Duluth, Grandma’s restaurants have been serving up tasty fare since 1976. When I found myself with an unexpected open lunch hour, it was an easy choice selecting the original Grandma’s Saloon in Canal Park – now celebrating their 40th birthday. For this meal, I was interested in continuing the traditional theme by ordering one of Grandma’s most talked about item: The Wild Rice Burger.
[The Bread 8/10] The burger was served open – one half of the bun was hidden by delicious cheese-covered wild rice patty, the other bun half was upside down and covered by a hefty mountain of toppings, leaving the reveal of the bun to feel almost suspenseful. Would it live up to the standards of this famous meal? Yes, yes it does. Thoughtfully placed atop a wheat pub bun, the vegetarian-friendly burger felt right at home. The top was sprinkled with a light dusting of oats(?), which added unique texture and added flavor.
[The Meat 8/10]
— Or in this case, wild rice. This meatless burger was a great change of pace from a standard beef patty. My first bite was surprise; clearly I was accustomed to a big juicy bite of a beef burger. This was earthy. Wild. Clean. As I continued eating, that longing for beef subsides completely and I realized I had fully embraced
the dark side the wild rice. The patty was bound with loads of sharp cheddar cheese and super secret spices, providing fat and full flavor to enjoy your (shhh, it’s not beef) burger.
[The Toppings 9/10] The toppings make the burger. The first item noticed as the plate was set in front of my hungry self, was a gigantic slice of cheddar cheese, melty, smothering the wild rice burger. On the other half of the bun was a mountain of perfectly selected vegetables to provide a punch of flavor and crunch. The lettuce and tomato included were paled in comparison to the unusual yet flavorful pile of shredded carrots, sprouts, and raw white onion. So, so good.
[The Accoutrements 7/10] The Wild Rice Burger is served with a side salad, in what I would imagine to be a natural choice for the health-conscious foodies ordering a meatless burger. I do love salad, so I went with the suggested side. Bleu cheese, please. What I did love was this salad was topped with a healthy sprinkle of parmesan cheese, and big crunchy croutons. However, the large amount of vegetables on the burger left me craving more variety, only solved by a big pile of fries. The salad was good, but my recommendation would be to substitute it for fries (oooh, maybe sweet potato fries?) instead.
[Conclusion] Traditions are built from new, exciting, unique events. Grandma’s Saloon has grown to be a Duluth tradition for a reason: it’s just that good. They offer a great variety of meals and are always happy to suggest one of their specialty menu items. Plus, you can’t beat the view; this restaurant is seated at the edge of the Aerial Lift Bridge. Next time you find yourself hungry in Canal Park, I recommend you brave the unknown and try the Wild Rice Burger. When in Rome — er, Duluth.