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.
Mike was born in Tachikawa, Japan. With a mother and father in the Air Force, he spent a lot of his childhood moving around, but Mike spent most of his youth years right outside of St. Cloud in Richmond, MN.
Mike's first job was at the age of 13 where he was a dishwasher at the Kandi Entertainment Center in Willmar, MN. Since then, he has worked in every restaurant position from dishwasher, to host, to bartender, to kitchen manager, to general manager. Mike held the position of Corporate Kitchen Manger for Grizzly's and helped open the Duluth location in Canal Park in 2012 as the General Manager. Two years later, he began his career with our company. He was first hired as a bartender at Black Woods on the Lake and was quickly promoted to Assistant General Manager at Tavern on the Hill in March 2014. Three years later, on St. Patrick's Day weekend in 2017, thanks to a little luck and a lot of hard work, Mike was promoted to General Manager. Mike's favorite part about his job is working with his staff. He believes a happy staff is visible to a guest, and he goes out of his way to make sure their needs and wants are met not only in the restaurant, but in their personal lives as well. He believes it is his responsibility to mold these people into great workers and great people for the world, no matter what the future may hold for them.
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.
Blaine was born in Grand Rapids, MN. His first job was at McDonalds when he was 14 years old, although he did not know that he would go on to a lifelong career in the restaurant industry at that time. After graduating from Grand Rapids high school, Blaine made an unexpected decision to attend Le Cordon Bleu college in Mendota Heights, MN. While pursuing an Associate's Science degree in Kitchen Management, he started his first cooking position at Chianti Grill in Burnsville. Soon after, he began an internship in Tower, MN at the Fortune Bay Casino. After a period of time working here and at the Whistling Bird in Gilbert, MN, Blaine was offered a kitchen management job at the Fortune Bay Casino.
After a few years of working at Fortune Bay and many other restaurants around the range, Blaine decided he needed a change of scenery. Duluth presented an opportunity for a bigger city while still maintaining a small-town feel, and it also included a much larger restaurant clientele than he was seeing on the range. This lead to Blaine accepting the job as the Kitchen Manger of Tavern in 2015, and he has been with us ever since. His job as Kitchen Manger is to control all kitchen operations including hiring, training, and managing staff as well as all overseeing our food from the back door to the plate.
When he has the time to step away from the restaurant, Blaine likes to fish and he enjoys all the wonderful benefits that come from living in the beautiful city of Duluth.
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.