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Best Burgers in Duluth, Minnesota

Zeitgeist Superior Burger
The Angus Superior Burger with fruit plate, one of three specialty burgers
offered by the Zeitgeist Arts Cafe in Duluth Minnesota

A few years ago we began searching the bars and pubs in Superior Wisconsin for the best burgers and pizza in town (see our articles on Superior, Wisconsin best burgers & pizza and Superior WI best burgers and pizza reviews). We thought Anchor Bar took top honors but found a few other Superior hangouts put out worthy burgers as well.

While we haven't exhausted our search in Superior, we decided it was time to extend our hunt for best burgers from Superior Wisconsin to across the bridge to its twin port neighbor - Duluth Minnesota. We had heard good things about the Zeitgeist Art Café so that was our first stop. Zeitgeist is in the downtown area on east Superior Street and is part of the Zimena movie theater complex.

zeitgeist arts cafe duluth mn

Zeitgeist Art Café - Burger Review

Zeigeist Café offers quite a different atmosphere-ambience than our favorite Superior burger places like Anchor Bar. In Superior you get neighborhood tavern with a touch of funky (or more than a touch in the case of Anchor), whereas this Duluth best burger place is ultra-modern, well lighted, crisp and tastefully appointed. Its top-of-the-line burger is also a few bucks more expensive than across the bridge in Superior. But you get good quality for the price and the service is excellent (a 5 out of 5).

zeitgeist arts cafeJo gave her burger (see picture at the top of this page) four to four 1/2 stars, her main deduction was that the half-pound Angus Superior Burger (w/ Gruyere cheese, carameled onions, and mushroom) was too big for her mouth to handle w/o squirting out the contents. But big eaters with larger mouths would likely give it 5 stars!


Whitefish Sandwich Review

Zeitgeist Arts Cafe Whitefish Sandwich

Jo is our resident "burger expert" so I elected to try a Whitefish Sandwich as it is the house specialty at many places around Lake Superior. My sandwich was very tasty, served on a toasted baquette with roasted red peppers, shallots, argula, and caper tartar sauce. The flavors of the baguette and the complementary toppings tended to dominate the taste of the whitefish. zeeigeist arts cafeSo while I liked the sandwich, because the taste of the whitefish itself was masked I can’t rate it above the Grand Marais Angry Trout whitefish sandwich or the whitefish sandwich I had at Fitzgeralds in Eagle River in the Keweenaw, both of which are 5 stars for Lake Superior Whitefish.

In summary the Zeitgeist offers a quality upscale dining experience for burgers, sandwiches, and dinner with local craft beers on tap and very prompt and friendly service. 4+ stars burger, 5 stars service and atmosphere.

Clyde Iron Works Restaurant & Event Center

Clyde Iron Works - Burger Review

Our next stop on our best burger hunt was Clyde Iron Works, a place others have said they put out a good burger. In the past, we’ve had their wood-fired oven pizza but not their burgers. As the name suggests the restaurant is in an old foundry and machine shop. The interior retains some of the original factory architecture plus has several large murals depicting the place in its heyday. We ate upstairs in the dining area adjacent to the bar.

Clyde Iron Works Restaurant & Bar

One of the things Jo liked right off the bat was the choice she had in her burger toppings. At Zeigeist they offer three different burgers, two Angus with different dressing combos plus a bison burger with a given array of toppings. At Clyde their half-pound burger is offered in a fashion similar to a pizza. You are given about 5 - 8 cheese choices + a choice of numerous veggie amendments to the topping. So you can literally customize your burger. So she selected swiss cheese, lettuce, tomato, and onion as her combo. Clyde Iron Works BurgerJo ordered hers medium well-done and yet it remained quite moist and meaty. She gave it four and half stars, again because the sandwich was a large half-pounder she couldn’t give it five stars. She wished both Zeitgeist and Clyde offered a one-third pound burger - still bigger than MickeyD’s but easier to eat with less mess. The other element that gave the nod over Zeitgeist was price. Clyde’s was about 20% less so on pure food you get a better value. 4 1/2 stars burger, 4 stars service, 4 stars atmosphere.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Comparing the two top rated Duluth Burger places. Clyde Iron Works is more suitable for families as it has some games for kids and lots of space to handle larger groups or larger families. Affordable prices for families too. And several TVs tuned to sporting events. The Zeitgeist Cafe is more upscale - offering top notch service, a “cultured” ambience, and a specialized and somewhat more exotic menu. Great place to impress a date or if you’ve got the money to pay a bit more, you get something more in terms of the complete dining experience.

The Hunt for the Best Burger in Duluth Continues

Dubh Linn Irish PubWe'll be continuing our hunt for best burges in Duluth Minnesota Twin Ports community as we get an opportunity to sample other Duluth and Superior establishments putting out a good burger. On our Duluth short list to try is the Duluth Grill, Sara's Table, and the Dubh Linn Irish Brew Pub. These will be reviewed in subsequent review articles.

  The leader so far - see our Dubh Linn Burger Review

  Dining & Burger Reviews - Duluth Grill and Canal Park Brewery

The competition across the bridge in Superior:

  Best Superior WI Burgers - Gronks and Anchor Bar

  Best Superior WI Burgers - The Shack and Choo-Choo Bar & Grill - Reinhold Development - 2023 Mobile-Friendly Lake Superior Circle Tour Travel Planner

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