I have vivid memories of watching people smelting at the Lester River, just wall to wall people in the river on both sides of the bridge, seemed there was plenty for everyone.

Then it seemed like every restaurant in town did a smelt fry. My uncle used to smelt and he would drop off what seemed like pounds of smelt for us. We would still visit places that had a smelt fry. Now, it's hard to find.

As we approach spring, the time of year when the smelt run and you can take advantage of a good smelt fry. I wondered who still does them. After a few phone calls, searching on the internet, and talking to some fisher people that I know, I found out who still does it and what places that used to do it don't anymore.

Twin Ports Area Restaurants That Still Do, Or Used To Do Smelt Fry Events

attachment-Tappa Keg Inn
Google Street View
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Tappa Keg Inn

The Tappa Keg Inn does a smelt fry every year in the spring, approximately April. (So, don't call them now). They said they have a lot of smelt brought in because it's such a popular event.


Google Street View
Google Street View
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Mr. D's

Mr. D's had the same answer for me. Yes, they hold a huge smelt fry, but not until the spring, so don't call them now either. They said it's a very popular event with their patrons.


Google Street View
Google Street View
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Pickwick

The Pickwick said yes they used to do it, so far the answer is no for this year, but they said they reserve the right to change their mind. They told me to tell people to check in because they may still do it this year. It depends on whether they can get a large amount to keep up with demand, and where the COVID rules are.


Nick Stoltman
Nick Stoltman
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Wobegon

Not at this time. The Breeze Inn clued me in on this place. I asked if they were going to have a smelt fry in the future, they said not planning on one yet.


Google Street View
Google Street View
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The Breeze Inn

When I talked to Kate, one of the owners of The Breeze Inn, she said they used to do a smelt fry but stopped recently and haven't started it back up, and she also said she didn't have any plans to restart at this time.


Google Street View
Google Street View
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Aces on 29th in Superior

Aces said they used to do a smelt fry but it had been some time that they did one. When asked if there were plans to do another one, they said no, right now they are happy doing what they do.


Vanilla Bean Duluth Google Street view
Vanilla Bean Duluth Google Street view
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Vanilla Bean

They said they used to do one, but both Two Harbors and Duluth locations were not going to do a smelt fry now or in the immediate future.


Phone Reactions

When I called each of these businesses, some of them were surprised I was asking already. The Tappa Keg said, "You do know this is a Spring thing?" Yes, I said, just trying to find some places.

Each of the businesses that used to have memories, and when I told them mine, it was nice to share old times over the phone. Thank you for all the kindness of all the staff that answered the phone and talked with me.

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