ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

The Vanilla Bean keeps springtime smelt tradition

Operations have been moved from the Two Harbors location to Duluth.

smelt web.jpg
A fresh smelt basket from the Vanilla Bean Restaurant in Duluth includes coleslaw and french fries. (Submitted photo)

During a spring where many traditions are taking a new turn, the Vanilla Bean Restaurant in Duluth is keeping the smelt running.

"We've been serving smelt and fries since we took over in 2014," owner Jason Vincent said. "Typically, we do them at our Two Harbors restaurant, but that's closed now."

A basket of fresh, fried smelt, fries, coleslaw and homemade tartar sauce is $11.

"It's become a North Shore tradition to get that smelt at the beginning of spring," Vincent said. "People mark their calendars."

The smelt season tends to run from mid-April to mid-May, so it's a bit of a guess when the smelt will run out. Vincent said he expects to continue filling orders this weekend and next. Last weekend, the first of the season, the restaurant sold out of 60 pounds of smelt in two days. Orders will start up again this Thursday.

ADVERTISEMENT

Smelt is provided by Bayfield's Bodin Fisheries. The commercial fishery also supplies Lake Superior whitefish, trout and herring to Vincent's Boat Club Restaurant in Duluth and the Vanilla Bean in Two Harbors, which both have been closed during the COVID-19 pandemic. But Vincent said his focused efforts on the Vanilla Bean in Duluth have been fruitful.

"It's been staying steady," he said. "Weekends have been fantastic with weekend brunch. That's been really getting us through."

Customers can call 218-249-1957 to order a curbside pickup order. Visit thevanillabean.com for more information.

Related Topics: FOODRESTAURANTS AND BARS
What To Read Next
At the start of each New Year, I do some thinking about what’s coming next in the beer world. I do this to stay ahead on trends, mull over new ideas I like, and plan what I want to focus on.
This week Sarah Nasello modifies a summer favorite into a warm and comforting winter meal.
First of all, it's impossible to organize your entire life all at once. It's too enormous an undertaking for anybody. You’ll just give up.
Kathy Ruberg always wanted to own a fabric store. When the perfect space opened up, she dove in and now has 1,300 bolts of fabric to sell at One Old Loon in Two Harbors.