HellBurgers in Duluth, MN

Jena Modin / Heavy Table

Editor’s Note: HellBurgers is closed.

Damn Good Food may be the title of the Hell’s Kitchen cookbook, but damn good food is missing at the new HellBurgers in Duluth’s Canal Park. The former Hell’s Kitchen closed at the turn of the year, as part of an effort to transform the high-end breakfast spot into a burger-focused lunch destination. It reopened on Jan. 14 with the menu painted on the door and bright green painted on the walls. The renovation has led to large improvements in the marketing and aesthetics of the restaurant, but the quality of the food could use an overhaul of its own.

The menu says that the burgers are “award-winning,” but there’s not much to back up the assertion on the plate. The Inferno Burger ($10), one of the restaurant’s most popular burgers, is cooked medium with melted pepper jack cheese and comes with raw red onions, raw jalapeños, tomato, and lettuce. The bun is slathered in “honey-chipotle sauce” that is more reminiscent of Arby’s sauce —  it’s one-dimensional, sweet at the expense of deep flavor. All the burger’s heat comes from the raw jalapeños that overpower the underripe tomato, raw onions, and whitish / yellow lettuce.

Jena Modin / Heavy Table

The Devil Dog ($8) is a “Chicago-style Kosher foot long,” but after the the relish-soaked bun falls apart and shrivels up in the basket, you are left with two six-inch hot dogs that call to mind the warm water bath at a service station more readily than they do a Chicago foodcart.

Jena Modin / Heavy Table

You can avoid a relish-soaked bun if you order a corn dog ($7), but if you are looking for the sweet, salty, and balanced taste that you get at the Minnesota State Fair, you are better off waiting until August. The corn dog is made with a homemade batter that turns into a crusty, oily shell that protects a foot-long hot dog on a shish kebab skewer. The tiny bit of stick poking out of the end is nearly impossible to hold onto — leaving you to pick the whole thing up with your hand, thus defeating the stick’s purpose entirely.

The bright green wall and projection screen have given the restaurant a new allure, but the food is far from award-winning or satisfying. With the legendary cashew burger at the Anchor Bar in Superior, or the wild rice burger at the Brewhouse, or the Big Daddy Burger, or even one of the new Five Guys, it is worth going somewhere else.

HellBurgers

310 Lake Ave S
Duluth, MN 55802
218.727.1620
HOURS:
11am-midnight daily
OWNER:
Mitch Omer
AVERAGE ENTREE:
$9-$11
BAR:
Full

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15 Comments

  1. Ouch. Not the review one would expect with Mitch at the helm.

  2. I really think you nailed this one. We were up there this last weekend and stopped in. I ended up throwing out 3/4 of my food, it just was plain bad.

  3. It just opened, hopefully they’ll turn it around.

  4. Chef's Wife 01/28/2010 Reply

    I have to disagree with Chase – it’s not like this is their first day.

  5. No suprised. I was at the Hell’s Kitchen location before it closed and they had a serious consistency/quality control issue. I suspect the same staff is working the new joint.

    That said, the Duluth crowd that wants “good food” is going to go to Bellisio’s or someplace similar and a place like Hells Burgers will appeal to the high school crowd.

    So HB will probably still do well.

  6. Also not surprised. The quality between the Mpls. Hell’s Kitchen and the Duluth Hell’s Kitchen were world’s apart. We’ve had breakfast at the one in Duluth that was inedible. The problems at the Duluth location run much deeper than the concept of the food being served.

  7. Amen to noticing (&even protesting) slathered grease and under-ripe tomatoes! It is kind-of funny how restaurants give themselves awards.
    Pretty sure you could have figured a way to handle that short wooden stick though. = j

  8. Andy P. 01/29/2010 Reply

    Nice to see a critical review on Heavy Table. It seems like most reviews here are glowing (probably because the reviewers pick good resturants). This review was well done and contained the substance that a chef would need to rethink his/her menu. Well done Mr. Faust!

  9. morchella 01/29/2010 Reply

    Here I am again, Fan of Hellburger. I had a walleye BLT a few wks ago that was a great sandwich. The food and atmosphere are very kid-friendly- which would steer those looking for fine dining elsewhere (to David’s comment, I see the quotes on ‘good food’- Bellisio’s is Grandma’s Bar food with spaghetti sauce on it.)

  10. young's 05/03/2010 Reply

    food was ok a bit over priced service was just ok would not go back any time soon

  11. Recently ate at Hell Bergers in Canal Park. Food was very good but the piped in music was sooo loud that we couldn’t carry on a conversation and noticed at a lot of tables that people were almost shouting at one another which only adds to the noise. Unfortunately, too many restaurants are playing what should be background music far too loud, forgetting that mealtime conversation is often the only time friends and/or family can catch up with one another.

  12. I’m a published author with four books to my credit. My stories all take place in Duluth and along the North Shore. I’m starting another murder mystery centered in Duluth and want to use Hell Burgers as a backdrop. I also want to mention the owner, Mitch Omer as a character. I promise it will all be positive. Okay?

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