Truly appreciating food means understanding where it comes from and how it arrived at the restaurant. As a boy growing up in Paris, Chef Remy Kerba learned to value the origin stories behind ingredients. Chef Kerba grew accustomed to joining his father—an impassioned gourmand himself—on trips throughout the city’s open-air markets and the vibrant countryside of Normandy of Provence. These childhood memories of meeting farmers and vintners from across France stuck with Chef Kerba and he developed a culinary style that combines a deep respect for tradition with a contemporary spirit of experimentation. This signature style flavors the menu at Le Giverny Bistro, which resides in the Emory Inn and tempts diners with updated, bistro-style French cuisine. Chef Kerba values the pedigrees of his ingredients above all else, and the kitchen seeks out seasonal produce and sustainably raised meats from local farmers and producers whenever possible. The dishes can include subtle New World influences, as in the case of the baked brie with local honey alongside its fresh mint and grilled flatbread. However, entrees such as the Southern-fried chicken breast with mashed potatoes and a lemon-caper butter sauce take an inverted approach and use Old-World flavors to elevate regional American classics. Wireframe models of the Eiffel Tower and the Cliffs of Dover are the only distinctive French accents in Le Giverny Bistro's dining room, which embraces a refined, yet welcoming, aesthetic. Crisp white linens adorn the tables, which are flanked by simple, straight-backed wooden chairs. Cinched drapes allow plenty of light to stream through the wall of windows, and a separate dining area warms guests beside the glow of a stone fireplace. To help contribute to the casual-and-romantic vibe, the bistro hosts live acoustic music on Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday evenings.
Carrying the praises of OpenTable diners as the winner of Best Overall restaurant, Best Ambiance, and Best Food, Park Café's executive chef Michael Ganley is no stranger to success. He has honed his skills in the kitchen for more than 17 years, most recently as Executive Chef of The Ritz Carlton in Dearborn, Michigan. Arriving in Duluth in 2004, Ganley brought with him his years of experience perfecting European culinary techniques, crafting a menu of elegant twists on Southern favorites such as fried green tomatoes layered with slabs of warm, creamy brie.
Nestled inside the Knox House—originally erected in 1899 for the first Mayor of Duluth, John Knox—Park Café's refurbished interior remains true to the home's 19th-century character. Largely original hardwood floors and paneled walls lend a quaint charm to the romantic simplicity of the dining rooms, where tables draped in crisp linen glow beneath flickering candles and diners’ recently whitened teeth.
Sprawling through a series of rooms, 3 Amigos Mexican Bar & Grill is anything but small. Yet, the interior and its ambiance is almost cozy. Stone accents pop up throughout the eatery, complimenting walls in the bright hues of hot peppers, turmeric, and payment invoices from clowns. Dressed colorfully, waitresses and waiters bob and weave through the main dining room's expanse of tables and booths to deliver fresh Mexican entrees, such as shrimp fajitas, quesadillas layered with cheese and shredded chicken, and enchiladas verde. Meanwhile, of-age patrons perch at the bar and sip draft beer and margaritas from jumbo glasses.
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Chef Edward Knipe studied at the Art of Charcuterie along side a Master butcher and has cooked at the PGA Masters for the last seven years. But his European delicacies are available year-round at Brat So Stop, where he serves up zesty sausages that are grilled and loaded with fixings. In lieu of MSG and preservatives, Knipe uses only quality meats and spices for his brats. Sandwiches include the Polish boy brat with barbecue sauce and coleslaw, and the Reuben dog with sauerkraut, Thousand Island dressing, swiss, and mustard. But diners can embellish their sandwiches as they wish; toppings such as pulled pork, pepperoncini, and grilled onions and peppers are free and allow diners to tailor their dogs and brats to their own preferences.
The owners of Café 33 get their inspiration as well as many of their recipes from their mother, and chose to name they restaurant after the year she was born. For breakfast, guests can dig into biscuits and country gravy or homemade doughnuts, or just build their own omelets from a spread of fixings such as grilled chicken, mushrooms, and goat cheese. At lunch, chefs create homemade hummus and assemble signature paninis with smoked turkey and pepper-jack cheese. Orange or apple juice is available to cleanse palates, and frothy lattes and cappuccinos give diners the energy they need to spend another day repainting their collection of classic pogs.