Big Daddy’s Burgers in Duluth

Jena Modin / Heavy Table
Jena Modin / Heavy Table

Polaroids of over-stuffed customers hang proudly below a hand-written sign that reads “Belly Buster Hall of Fame” on the wall of Big Daddy’s Burgers in Duluth. Big Daddy’s doesn’t have the national recognition of In-N-Out Burger, but the ideals of owner Doug Gonhue are the same — fresh, not frozen, patties of beef.

Since opening in March of 2001, Big Daddy’s has been independently owned; the Culver’s franchise, which uses fresh not frozen meat, has yet to move into Big Daddy territory. (The closest Culver’s are in Superior, WI and Two Harbors.)

The Belly Buster ($15), Big Daddy’s largest burger, weighs in at over a pound. It sports two half-pound patties topped with bacon, ham, pepper jack cheese, cheddar cheese, BBQ sauce, and sautéed onions. It isn’t as epic as the double patty Supreme Burger at The Nook in St. Paul, but in Duluth the closest rival is the Gallybuster at the Anchor Bar in Superior.

If you are not in the mood for busting your belly, there is the signature Big Daddy Burger ($9) — it’s a half-pound patty served on an oversize English muffin with sautéed mushrooms and onions, pepper jack cheese, and guacamole. The pepper jack adds a mild spice that is balanced with the guacamole. The burger is cooked to a medium temperature with a slight char on the outside. The freshness of the meat is noticed in the size and shape of the patty. Unlike frozen patties which are typically uniform in shape for saving space in a freezer, the Big Daddy’s patties come in all different shapes. The result is a burger that is always different with a homemade feel and texture.

Jena Modin / Heavy Table
Jena Modin / Heavy Table

BBQ sauce made in house has contributed to the reputation of the BBQ Bacon Burger ($7.49). The ⅓-pound burger comes with two slices of bacon and cheddar cheese on a burger bun. The BBQ sauce has a molasses like sweetness a subtle savory balance.

Big Daddy’s Burgers isn’t in the heart of downtown and the atmosphere can’t compete with the antique-laden walls of the Anchor Bar. It is a stark, cold, and quiet restaurant that brings you back because the burgers are always fresh.

Big Daddy’s Burgers

2828 Piedmont Ave
Duluth, MN 55811
Doug Gonhue

Mon-Sat 6am-8pm


  1. G-Dawg

    I had a 1/3 pound burger at Big Daddy’s last June – and have been counting down the days until I come back into the Duluth area! Great Food, HUGE portions!

  2. CHER

    Had the hot turkey sandwich-what a mistake!! Had a few pieces of turkey breast on top of bread and huge plate of mashed potatoes and i mean huge. Paid 8.99 for basically a plate of mashed potatoes. Ridiculous.

  3. Donovan

    Finished the belly buster burger meal and I have to say that was the best burger I have had in my life-delicious.

  4. Penny Sue

    Our family went to Duluth for a vacation not long ago. One night we searched online for great places to eat in the area and Big Daddy’s came up with rave reviews. What an outstanding dinner!

    When we first pulled up I was a little skeptical… typical “hole in the wall”. Normally we don’t judge too harshly on appearance but we had ate at Guadalajara’s in Superior the night before and it was TERRIBLE on top of looking like a dump. Just a heads up… DON’T GO THERE!

    Anyway…. I had a bacon burger (I can’t have cheese), wife had the cream cheese burger, and kids had cheese burgers. We all loved the food! Even with out cheese mine was excellent. Had a big batch of fries and they were great too. Other things that stood out to me was the honey mustard and pickles. Honey mustard is very hit or miss but this was great; not too “mustardy”. Pickles were very fresh tasting, crisp, salty, and sweet.

    Service was great too! We were like their last customers for the night which can sometimes mean you get what’s left and the service is rushed. They were nothing like this. Waitress was all smiles, very attentive, and prompt. Chef was happy and made everything fresh. Nobody was “waiting for us to leave so they can close”.

    What a great place to eat… you HAVE to stop by if you are in the area!

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