The New Scenic Cafe Celebrates Art and Food for 20 Years

Northland Uncovered: The New Scenic Cafe turns 20 in April 2019.

DULUTH, Minn.- When many think of art, they think of what’s hanging in museums, but for 20 years the New Scenic Cafe has thought of art in terms of food.

You may have spotted the hole in the wall driving up the North shore.

“We’ve become a water hole of sorts where people enjoy stopping here on their way up the shore,” cafe chef and over Scott Graden said.

For many, the New Scenic Cafe is their reason for making the drive for 20 years.

“I have had the honor and pleasure of being able to eat at many wonderful dining establishments around the world. And I remember some friends saying, ‘you must try this New Scenic Cafe, this new restaurant.,'” long time customer Dolly Schnell said.

The building itself wasn’t new, but when Graden took over in 1999, he envisioned a culinary collaboration of art and food.

“It was an effort to maybe bring some food to the Northland in a way that didn’t exist when we were bringing it up here,” Graden said.

It’s why they added the word new in front of the original name.

“Back then it was an indicator to the world or the community that something was different here,” Graden said.

It wasn’t just the change in name or difference in food that may the location a destination restaurant. And it wasn’t the renovations like adding more space for dining or the new entry way.

“He works with his staff- they’re more like a family. They’re like a perfectly tuned orchestra working to put out a magnificent symphony,” Schnell said.

Schnell has been coming to the New Scenic Cafe all 20 years. To her- it’s the people that make it so great.

“Scott and his whole team, too, they have this intricate, intimate understanding of food,” Schnell said.

Graden says the relationships made since the restaurant reopened have kept the business going. He says it’s art and they family they’ve built that make the last 20 years of change so great.

“I don’t necessarily feel like I’m any different,” Graden said. “But there’s something about that sheer number of data points that go on and on and on, and when you look back, there’s just a phenomenal amount of memories.”

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