ELY - Billed as a “pop-up” business for the summer season, the latest addition to Ely’s already-robust dining scene opened this week. Moose Bear Wolf is taking over the former Chocolate Moose …
ELY - Billed as a “pop-up” business for the summer season, the latest addition to Ely’s already-robust dining scene opened this week. Moose Bear Wolf is taking over the former Chocolate Moose location adjacent to Piragis Northwoods Co.
Chef Bryan Morcom, a fifth-generation Iron Ranger (his great-great-great grandfather was the first foreman of the Soudan Mine) and graduate of Tower-Soudan, prepares New American cuisine at the popular location near the city’s west end.
Morcom has worked in the restaurant business for close to 20 years, and his experience includes holding the position of Chef de Cuisine at James Beard’s award-winning Restaurant Alma in Minneapolis.
Sarah Knapp took over the role of project manager to get the new restaurant up and running in the iconic location. She will manage the endeavor this summer as the establishment settles into Ely’s varied food milieu. She said they are approaching the summer as a “try-it-and-see” experiment.
“This gives us a snapshot on how to run a business in four months with minimal investment,” Morcom said. “We would like to see something like this grow in this area.” Morcom is an advocate of relying on locally-grown and even wild-harvested foods as well as a menu that changes to reflect the seasons.
“That means an assortment of entrees and menu items including rhubarb pie, wild rice and things you would pull out of a garden,” said Knapp. That same “local first” approach goes for their Minnesota beer offerings. “We are also excited about our wine list,” she said.
“We offer dishes with seasonal ingredients,” Morcom explained. “For example, this month we have three different dishes featuring asparagus in three different ways.
For meat selections, Morcom will be serving products raised at Bear Creek Acres Farm in Embarrass as well as Minnesota-caught walleye.
What about that name? “Isn’t it obvious?” Knapp asked. “Bryan was driving around and saw the sign for the Bear Center, and then there’s the Wolf Center, and when you drive around here what do you see?”
“Our name gives people a chance to make fun of us,” Morcom said. “If they are laughing at us, they are talking about us. We like to have fun. We are not the Chocolate Moose anymore. We are Moose Bear Wolf. Just like Vertin’s has moved on to Insula. They put out a quality product and established their identity.”
In existence since the 1990s, the Chocolate Moose did not reopen after the 2017 season and sat vacant last summer. The building is owned by the Piragis family and they are leasing the restaurant on a month-to-month basis for the summer. “We hope to be open into October, and we’ll see what happens after that. We are testing the waters this summer and are wide open for any possibilities,” Knapp said.
Moose Bear Wolf is now open for dinner, from 4-9 p.m. Reservations are recommended and accepted for groups up to eight. “Let’s talk about special occasions or larger parties,” Knapp added.
Call 218-365-2300 to make a reservation. Visit their website at www.moosebearwolf.com.
Check out their menu
-Local Simple Green Salad - Sherry vinaigrette, hazelnut, parmesano-reggiano
-Chilled English Pea Soup - Crispy prosciutto, fresh herbs, creme fraiche
-Soft Cooked Farm Eggs - Maple glazed asparagus, grilled bread, chevre
-Wild Rice and Spring Vegetable Salad - Manchego, sofrito, grilled croûtons
PASTAS / GRAINS
-Fresh Tagliatelle - Lamb bolognese, sweet pea, mint
-Native Parched Wild Rice Cakes - Smoked white fish, dill hollandaise, pickled onions
-Finndian - Wild rice meatloaf, Finnish squeaky cheese, Indian fry bread
-Ranger - PBR braised porchetta, soft roll, fennel pollen mayo
-Iron Range Po Boy - crappie, remoulade, iceberg
-Miner - Bologna, mustard, white bread, beer snit
-Ojibwe - Manoomin burger, smoked gouda, Indian fry bread
-Iron Range Porketta 2 Ways - Fennel gratin, rhubarb, pork jus
-Walleye en Papillote - Thyme, butter, spring vegetables
-Lightly Smoked Trout - Wild rice pilaf, grilled asparagus, dijon pan sauce
-Pan Seared Beef Strip - Wilted spinach, new crop potatoes, grilled Vidalia onions
-Rhubarb Soup - Buttermilk panna cotta, mint, lemon oil
-Rhubarb Pasty - Homemade Pistachio ice cream
-Dorthy Molter Root Beer Cake - Homemade Vanilla Bean ice cream