Eat. Drink. Connect.
Our owner, Bryan Flaherty grew up on Arrowhead Road. Just a stone's throw away from this restaurant. Back then, this hill was just a hill with some huge and very comfortable Bluestone rocks. It became a favorite pastime for kids to skip stones, swap stories, enjoy long summer days, and on rare occasion, sneak a cig.
The rock on the hill (aka Kissing Rock) was also where Bryan experienced his first kiss. A special place indeed!
We believe this restaurant is more than just a business: it's a way to connect to our local roots and give back to the community. In a world dominated by social media, we believe that real connections-like sharing a great meal with family or laughing with friends over a few drinks-are the foundations of long-lasting relationships.
And at Tavern on the Hill, we encourage our guests to "Eat. Drink. Connect" –face to face, in real time.
Welcome to Tavern on the Hill. We love it here, and think you will, too.
Tavern on the Hill and the other Black Woods Group properties (Black Woods Grill & Bar – Duluth, Proctor, Two Harbors, Black Water Lounge, Greysolon Ballroom, Black Woods Event Center and Black Woods Catering) do as much as possible to help stimulate our local economy by purchasing ingredients, supplies and equipment from local markets. We supply over 400 jobs in our community, many offering our local students the ability of living and creating a career here in Duluth.
Menu – Ingredients with integrity.
We work with our local partners to source the freshest, healthiest and most ethically raised products. Tavern on the Hill supports our local businesses in every product and directly impacts our local community's growth.
Born and raised in Duluth, Minnesota, Travis Thoreson has always worked in the restaurant business. Starting at a very young age, Travis's first job was a coat check attendant at Black Woods Event Center. Thoreson worked at Black Woods Grill & Bar in Proctor, MN, for a total of 11 years working from dishwashing to bartending then to Restaurant Manager. Initially going to school to become a Chemical Engineer, Travis' love for the hospitality industry pushed him to stay with a career with Black Woods Restaurants. In 2008, he accepted the position of Assistant General Manager at Black Woods Grill & Bar in Two Harbors, MN. After a year, Travis became the General Manager of Black Woods Grill & Bar in Duluth, MN. When Tavern on the Hill was developed four years later, Travis was chosen as the General Manager from his long Black Woods Group history. He has assisted in every project from menu items, drink recipes, design, staff training and service.
With a caring and loving family, Travis is married to his beautiful wife, Annie. They have 2 children, Jemma and baby, Keiran, born just before the Tavern Opening in August 2014.
Ben Thoen grew up in Washburn, WI and after graduating from Washburn High School attended Le Cordon Bleu. Classically trained during school, Chef Thoen had the opportunity to work under very accomplished chefs his entire career, beginning at a young age. His first job at the age of 13 was with Good Thyme Bistro in Washburn working with Chef Chris Basnia and launched him into everything hospitality. His fondest memories of his early career are of working with French Chef Germain Palledeau learning the in's and outs of the business of food and honing in his catering and banquet skills in Chicago, IL for Lettuce Entertain You and Wolfgang Puck Catering. Chef most recently had the opportunity to train in Miami Beach, FL and earn his Vegan & Raw Chef Certification with Vegan Fusion ™. Chef Thoen is very happy once again back home in the Midwest after having lived across the country and could not be more proud than to work with the Black Woods Group. As Executive Chef he leads the restaurant location kitchens and works side by side with the creative sales teams, skilled general managers and the powerful support teams that make up the Black Woods Group.
I grew up in Eveleth, MN and after graduating High School moved to Duluth to attend the College of St. Scholastica. I worked full time briefly for an assisted living facility, before shifting into retail management with three companies over a 7-year span in the Miller Hill Mall. I had worked part time for Black Water Lounge since 2009, as an additional job during my retail career. In June of 2014, I stopped fighting the inevitable, and came home to the restaurant business with the Black Woods Group. I have always felt this is where I belong. In April of 2015 I accepted the management position with Tavern on the Hill and have never looked back.
Restaurants are in my blood. My Grandparents, Ron and Jule Erjavec owned and operated the R&J Drive-In, a hamburger and root beer stand, for 25 years just south of Eveleth. My aunt and uncle, Kim and Jeff Mattson are third generation owners of Vi's Pizza in Biwabik MN and are in a new location, partnering with their sons in the T'N'T Bar. My wife, Molly, is a huge fan of Tavern on the Hill, as are my kiddos, Finley and Lucy. When I'm not working, I can be found on one of the many area lakes, or, sometimes can't be found at all wandering Minnesota's north woods. I Chair the Duluth Area chapter of Whitetails Unlimited, and find Duluth to be a perfect mix of "big-enough city" but close enough to the outdoors!
I graduated from Denfeld High School in 2008 and began my career in the hospitality industry at the age of 16. I initially had an interest in the car business but my first job was as a dishwasher for the Black Woods Group really peaked my interest. Family time is important to me and working with my older brother, Travis, the General Manager of Tavern, as well as working with my mother, Julie Thoreson, Director of Operations/Owner - gives me plenty of that!
For the past eleven years I have worked a variety of positions but the majority of my time has been spent in the HOH [Heart-of-House, aka, kitchen]. Once I turned 25, I decided that my love of the business was growing and I began training in the Front of the House learning to bartend, serve, greet, and bus tables, then Management training. I truly believe I have found my calling and for many years believed it was something else when in fact it was right there in front of me.
In my free time I love to spend time with my brothers, my hilarious niece and adorable nephew, friends and family cabin time, and am active playing football [SKOL VIKINGS!] and basketball.
I was born and raised in Duluth and have found my passion in the restaurant industry. I started this journey at the age of 15 as a bus boy and quickly moved my way through the restaurant. I was able to learn all areas of the restaurant, bussing, hosting, serving, cooking, bartending, and managing, becoming a manager at the age of 18. I attended UMD in pursuit of a Mechanical Engineering degree but 3 years into it I came to the realization that I love the restaurant industry and put that aside to focus on my job. I found that I loved bartending and teaching people about all the different beers and cocktails and bartended several styles of restaurants.
In 2014 I was honored to be a part of the opening team for Tavern and was hired as one of the head bartenders and a shift manager. During the opening process of Tavern, I had the privilege of overseeing the set up of the bar and training of our bar-staff. After a couple of years behind the bar, I accepted the position in 2017 as one of the Assistant Managers with my focus being on the bar.