The “BoomTown” Food Scene

“A Taste of the Caribbean on the Iron Range.” That phrase really says it all. It’s the first thing you’ll see on the official website of The Whistling Bird, and you’ll really believe it when you taste your first mouth-watering bite at the Gilbert, Minnesota restaurant.

Of course, eat-out options on the Iron Range include a variety of traditional outlets with  meat-and-potatoes type fare guaranteed to elicit a satisfied “Ah!” at the end of each meal. Thanks in part to Whistling Bird owners Erik and Jessica Lietz, there are a few new exciting and even exotic options to choose from, as well.

The Whistling Bird in Gilbert is a one-stop for Jamaican dishes, authentic Cajun cooking, and island favorites like Jerk Chicken and Mahi Mahi. Toast the spicy goodness with handcrafted, specialty cocktails, to boot.

In Eveleth, BoomTown is another Lietz enterprise that’s attracted a dedicated following. The woodfire grill, which opened in 2015, boasts a full bar and hearty meal options.

The venue shares a sister brewery, also called BoomTown, in Hibbing where the former Zimmy’s Bob Dylan tribute restaurant and tourist hotspot used to be.

“These restaurants were all closed down for years prior to re-opening and in BoomTown’s case re-concepting,” explain the Lietzes.

All three venues are highly cognizant of the legacy they share with the region. “We pay homage to our rich mining heritage and the hardworking men and women who carved out small towns with big dreams along Minnesota’s Iron Range,” states the BoomTown menu.

And the Lietzes see their three businesses as just the beginning for a new wave of restauranteurs in the region.

“The opportunity on the Iron Range is what keeps us in the area more than anything,” add the Lietzes. “We also enjoy the smalltown life and the outdoors.”

The Whistling Bird and BoomTown are indicators that the northeast Minnesota food and beverage economy is growing in exciting and unpredictable ways. Along with great food, they bring catalyzing energy to the real American boomtowns where they are situated.

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