Rob Abrahamson's vibe for his new twice-a-week, pop-up restaurant can be summed up in a memory: You're a kid who has been hanging out at the pool, and you dash back to your hotel room for snacks — Cheetos, maybe, or pickle rollups.
But elevate it.
"I just want everyone to be happy again," said Abrahamson, a Duluth native who has worked in restaurants ranging from Coney Island to Pizzaman to Billy's Bar.
HotBox Duluth, which is scheduled to open the last week of January in the Zeitgeist Arts Building, 222 E. Superior St., is Abrahamson's throw-back restaurant. It joins Gumbo Boi, Louisiana-themed takeout served on Mondays and Fridays, as a part-time keeper of the space's kitchen. HotBox will be available on Wednesdays and Saturdays.
Abrahamson is still working on the menu, but he's developing ideas around comfort foods like cheesy hash browns, Swedish meatballs and noodle dishes. He's pulling, he said, from his late mother's recipes for the project. Abrahamson's dinners, to-go for now, will come in a take outbox that resembles the McDonald's Happy Meal, he said.
Gumbo Boi, Robert Lee's homage to his Louisiana roots, has been serving Cajun to-go alongside Laura Kirwin, AKA Bayou Baker, since October. It's among a handful of local spaces that have offered unconventional dining options.
Zeitgeist's kitchen is still available for more tenants, but they have to work around the schedules of Gumbo Boi and HotBox, according to Sara Rolfson, Zeitgeist's business director.