Walk along the Lake Superior waterfront in Duluth and you’ll inevitably find yourself glancing up at the hills to the north. You can’t help but notice, at the very top of one of the hills, silhouetted against the bright sky, what looks to be some sort of stone tower. What is that? What’s the story behind it? And therein lies half the makings of a perfect Duluth afternoon.

Their smoked salmon with dill is smoked over maple wood.

First things first: it’s time to load up with provisions for the journey ahead. You want to head to the DeWitt-Seitz Marketplace, a 1985 renovation of a 1909 warehouse and manufacturing site. The tenants are now an assortment of restaurants, retail shops, and offices. You are interested in one business in particular, the market/deli known as Northern Waters Smokehaus. But to call it a market/deli is really unfair, because this is unlike any other deli we’ve ever been to.

Smoked Lake Superior trout, cured in browned sugar before its session in the smoker, is sweet, salty, and smoky, like the fish candy of our dreams.

See, Northern Waters’ claim to fame is that they smoke fish, meats, and artisan salumi in-house, and they do it extremely well. Eric Goerdt, the master craftsman behind the whole operation, will be happy to sell you a section of smoked salmon or whitefish, or a length of his cured and smoked sausages for which he is justly proud, but he has also put together an expansive menu of well-thought-out sandwiches using the products from his smokehouse.

Bison Buddies, made with Berkshire pork and bison, are like the world’s best Slim Jim’s. This is real food, though, not mystery meat gas station grub.

Cedar’s Secret starts with their own smoked sage maple turkey breast and combines it with Swiss, lettuce, tomato, and onion, dresses it with Craisin walnut mayo and Sriracha, and wraps it all up in fresh naan. Buffalo ’06 combines house-made corned beef or pastrami with house-made kraut, Russian dressing, and Swiss cheese, and inserts it all between slices of toasted rye. They sell single serving cups of their excellent homemade potato salad, slaw, fragrant kimchi, or an olive mix to go with your sandwich.

Even the house-made potato salad is several notches above standard issue.

You can bring your lunch to their pleasant little outside deck overlooking the parking lot or you can do as we suggest, which is to set your GPS for Enger Tower. Yes, that’s the name of the stone building on the hill, and it is the centerpiece of Enger Park, atop Enger Hill, where you’ll also find a Japanese garden with a peace bell from Japan, spectacular lookout points to view Duluth and the lake from high above, and scattered picnic tables beneath the shade of poplar and white birch trees. Enger Tower’s five stories can be climbed, if you wish, as well.

No picnic in your immediate future? There’s a nice deck with picnic tables right outside Northern Waters’ door.

Find a suitable picnic table, unwrap your lunch, take in the view, and celebrate life.

Note: Northern Waters Smokehaus will be happy to ship to you the fine products that emerge from their smokers. Check their website for details or give them a call.

Enger Tower was built in 1939 as a tribute to a successful local citizen and immigrant from Norway. The tower was personally dedicated by Norwegian royalty.

394 Lake Avenue South
Duluth MN 55802
Northern Waters Smokehaus’ Website
Northern Waters Smokehaus on Facebook

The view from atop Enger Hill



BEST THING TO EAT: Smoked Lake Superior whitefish