Northern Waters Smokehaus

Written by K. Hart at
Northern Waters Smokehaus exterior
Northern Waters Smokehaus fish
Northern Waters Smokehaus interior
basket of food


What began as a humble one-man operation providing smoked fish to local restaurants and grocers has exploded into a beloved Twin Ports dining destination. This is the Northern Waters Smokehaus! 

Eric Goerdt established Northern Waters Smokehaus in 1998, becoming a Duluth institution over the past 25 years.

Eric became enamored with the art of smoking fish when he learned the old-world technique of kippering working in Sitka, Alaska. Returning home, Eric felt inspired to start a business that would marry his newfound smoking skills with the bounty from Lake Superior and surrounding North Woods.

Northern Waters Smokehaus now offers an incredible array of over 100 gourmet smoked meats and seafood like salmon, lake trout, jerky, bacon, and sausages. 

Over the years, Northern Waters Smokehaus has garnered national attention. Eric has been featured on the popular show Diner's Drive-Ins and Dives. Despite this fame, Eric and his team stay committed to traditional smoking techniques, updating historic recipes to craft provisions with the finest local ingredients.

Northern Waters Smokehaus has preserved the time-honored smoked fish tradition while expanding the culinary landscape. Such dedication and passion make it one of Duluth's treasured eateries. 


Northern Waters Smokehaus has a cozy wooden interior lined with jars of preserves and bags of smoked salmon. You'll feel like you've entered a friend's cabin up north.

While the restaurant has garnered national recognition, the vibe remains laidback and charmingly local. Regulars banter with the staff while waiting for their favorite sandwiches made fresh to order. Samples of smoked trout and beef sticks tempt your tastebuds. The display cases brim with house-cured salmon, rainbow trout, and whitefish.

Seating inside is limited, but in nice weather, you can dine al fresco on the Lakewalk patio overlooking the shimmering blue expanse of Lake Superior. 

Sinking your teeth into a smoky, tender sandwich while gazing at the rippling water makes for an idyllic Northern Minnesota experience.

The customer service at Northern Waters Smokehaus is always warm and welcoming. The staff offers tastes and suggestions, taking pride in the provisions crafted in-house. 

The rich aroma of applewood-smoked fish transports you to a simpler time in Minnesota's North Woods. You feel restored and connected with nature's bounty from lakes and forests.

Northern Waters Smokehaus: Menu & Drinks

Northern Waters Smokehaus has an extensive menu showcasing its incredible smoked fish, meats, and sandwiches. Here are some must-try foods.

The Smoked Salmon BLT is a perennial favorite! House-smoked wild sockeye salmon is covered with bacon, lettuce, and tomato. Lemon dill aioli is drizzled on top before this mouth-watering concoction is rested on toasted sourdough bread. The salmon is beautifully flaky with a subtle smoky flavor that perfectly matches the crispy bacon.

For a heartier sandwich, go for the Pastrami Reuben with tender house-cured pastrami, sauerkraut, Swiss cheese, and homemade Russian dressing on marbled rye bread. The pastrami melts in your mouth with incredible spice and smokiness.

You can't go wrong with their smoked fish entrees like the Maple Bourbon Smoked Lake Trout or Applewood Smoked Whitefish Spread. The fish boasts incredible flavor from their artisanal smoking process.

Don't miss the Smoked Salmon Chowder. It's a rich, creamy soup chock full of bite-sized smoked salmon chunks. 

Try the Blueberry Maple Smoked Lemonade with muddled blueberries and house-smoked lemonade for drinks. The touch of smoke adds intrigue to the sweet, tangy lemonade.

Coffee lovers will savor the Campfire Coffee with smoked cocoa beans and toasted marshmallows. It tastes like an adult s'more in drinkable form.

When seeking a healthy and unique dining experience in Twin Ports, you can't go wrong dining at Northern Waters Smokehaus.

Local Tips

  • Come early or late to avoid long lunch lines.
  • Snag a seat on the Lakewalk patio for prime people-watching.
  • Northern Waters Smokehaus ships nationally! Perfect for gifts or special celebrations. 
  • Call ahead for large take-out orders.
  • Save room for dessert like their smoked chocolate chip cookies.


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