When Ben suggested stopping at Gordy's Hi Hat on the way back from our trip to Ely, it sounded like a great way to break up the drive. Gordy's is a fairly spacious diner in Cloquet - it all looked kind of new, so it seems they might have recently remodeled or expanded their space.
Gordy's is an excellent place to stop if you are in or near Cloquet - I wouldn't say it is worth making a special trip up there. We were there on a Wednesday at about 11:45 and it was packed with people, odd for a weekday.
We decided to get onion rings because they were mentioned specifically in the Minnesota Monthly article, and I'm very glad we did. They were MUCH better than the onion rings we had one week earlier at Snuffy's (which weren't bad by any means) - the onion slices were huge and fresh, and you could take a bite of the ring without the whole onion coming out. The fries were also great.
The burgers were nothing fancy, no-nonsense, but were awesome. Everything tasted very fresh - the meat, bun, and veggies.
My only regret is not getting a milkshake - oh well, just a reason to go back if I'm in the area!
In June my co-worker Scott gave me a copy of Minnesota Monthly that had a feature article on the best burgers in Minnesota. There were a couple places on the list that were far away but we made a note of them in case we were ever in the area. Fast forward to late July, our family had a trip planned to go to Ely on Farm Lake. After looking at the route to Ely, I realized we could stop in Cloquet at Gordy's Hi Hat, so we planned to grab lunch on the way home.
We ate a small breakfast on our last day at the cabin so we would be hungry for lunch when we arrived in Cloquet about two hours later. The article in Minnesota Monthly must have really put Gordy's Hi Hat on the map, because there were several laminated copies of the article in the front area of the restaurant, they seemed very proud of their #15 ranking (as they should be).
When you walk into Gordy's you are immediately in the ordering area that has a large raised counter top where the employees stand and take people's orders. There didn't seem to be much organization to the whole ordering process; there weren't really lines to speak of, the employees would just kind of look around and if you caught their attention you would get helped. So there ends up being a lot of people standing right by the door trying to decide what to get and some people trying to actually order their food. When you order, you also don't pay until the food is ready, which I thought was a little weird. I would think they could save some time and hassle if you just paid up front, but they've been doing this for twenty years longer than I've been alive, so who am I to say?
The current menu at Gordy's has ten burgers and an assortment of fish and chicken sandwiches, salads, etc. Given that they are known for the burgers, however, I don't see why anyone wouldn't get a burger here. In spite of all the choices of burgers, we both chose the California burger with cheese. Erin had also heard that they had good onion rings so we got a side of onion rings and a side of fries, 'cause they looked good too.
While we waited for our food we sat at our table and watched the people. Gordy's is an interesting place to watch people, especially on a weekday because you have a decent mix of age groups, tourists, and locals on lunch break.
Our food was ready in about ten minutes, and I went up to the counter and got the food and paid, the total being $15. All the food looked really good and the burgers were fantastic, as promised. The burgers themselves are perfectly sized for the bun, I hate it when the burger is tiny compared to the bun and you get a bite of just bread. The onion rings were good, but I thought the fries were even better. We had obviously gotten a fresh batch of fries as they were hot, which just puts a meal over the top, in my opinion.
I don't think we finished all the food, the onion rings and fries were a little too much for two people to handle, but we left satisfied for the rest of the drive back to Saint Paul.
- Service: The people were friendly, but there isn't much service really. You pick up your own food at the same counter where you ordered it.
- Food: Great burgers, and our fries were fresh. The onion rings were good, but I'm partial to fries.
- Drinks: No alcohol at Gordy's, but they do have buttermilk for $1.29 :)
- Ambiance: Gordy's is a family diner style of place, there were lots of children and babies when we were there. I think there are a lot of people from out of town on vacation, so people are generally in a good mood.
- Price: Prices are great, it was $15 for all of our food.
- Convenience: I'm guessing that most people reading this are NOT near Cloquet, so it's a little out of the way. Gordy's is also only open in the summertime, so if you happen to be in the area you should definitely stop by.
Gordy's Hi Hat
415 Sunnyside Dr.