Monday, May 20, 2013 - 06:15

Minnesota’s Duluth Grill Receives $5,000 Grant From the Hobart Center for Foodservice Sustainability

The Hobart Center for Foodservice Sustainability (HCFS) has awarded a $5,000 grant to the Duluth Grill in Duluth, Minn., in recognition of the restaurant’s foodservice sustainability initiatives that include reducing energy and water use, reducing wastewater and solid waste, and implementing Farm-to-Fork programs. This marks the sixth year for the HCFS grant, which is awarded to a business or organization judged to have the best-executed foodservice sustainability project.

“The Duluth Grill is dedicated to top-quality ingredients, investing in its people and community, and minimizing its environmental footprint,” said Rick Cartwright, vice president, ITW Food Equipment Group and HCFS Fellow. “The business stood out not only for supporting localized economy, but for its commitment to pursuing sustainable practices. Together, these have a positive impact on the restaurant’s operations and on the community at large.”

During the last few years, the restaurant has ne from serving pre-made franchise fare to a menu that is entirely built from scratch with fresh, organic and local ingredients. In fact, the Duluth Grill sources 32% of its food from local suppliers. It runs an urban farming operation with a full-time employee who tends the gardens located in the owner’s backyard, on the restaurant’s roof and in the parking lot. In the last few years, the Duluth Grill has consistently grown in revenue but has, at the same time, reduced utilities by 51.6% after replacing older equipment with ENERGY STAR® rated models. The restaurant has also implemented other energy-saving measures such as replacing incandescent bulbs with LED bulbs, recycling, composting and mitigating storm-water runoff.

“The Duluth Grill is honored to receive this award, which acknowledges the extensive sustainability steps we’ve taken to put our business ahead of the curve locally,” said owner Tom Hanson. “We are part of a trend that has national and international appeal, and that will be an unavoidable fact for a viable economic future.”

Francois Medion, Duluth Grill farm manager, is slated to serve as an HCFS Fellow for 2013 and assist in selecting next year’s HCFS grant recipient.

About Duluth Grill

The Duluth Grill of Duluth, Minn., is a family-owned restaurant that in recent years has gained recognition for its support of a localized economy and for its commitment to pursuing sustainable practices. The restaurant opened as a Highway Host in 1970 and was renamed the Duluth Grill in 1991. Tom and Jaima Hanson purchased it in 2001, running it as an Embers franchise until 2008, and as an independent family business since then. The menu is full of delicious choices, from basic comfort foods to more contemporary dishes. It also offers a large variety of vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free dishes. The Duluth Grill has been featured on The Food Network’s “Diners, Drive-ins and Dives.” For more information, call (218) 726-1150 or visit

About Hobart Center for Foodservice Sustainability

The Hobart Center for Foodservice Sustainability serves as a forum for foodservice directors, and their builders, designers and contractors to share new ideas and accomplishments in foodservice sustainability. The leadership of the HCFS includes professionals with expertise and experience in the foodservice industry’s move toward sustainable design. To promote new thinking in sustainable design, the HCFS has established a $5,000 grant for the most innovative and impactful new concept and execution of a sustainable design project.