With a bar hewn in Hibblng and a picture of Bob Dylan by the back, Iron Ranger is now open for business at 1085 Grand Avenue with a heavy dose of Hibbing pride. The new bar is the work of Tom Forti, who put the entire restaurant together with the help of just a few friends.
Forti grew up, and played a little high school hockey, in the Iron Range city. This new restaurant gives several nods to his hometown with a few mining supplies hung from the wall, a framed photo of his grandfather, and a tin replicate of the Minnesota State Flag. It lends the fresh room a light touch of nostalgia.
There is seating along a bar, stocked with local beer and Hamm’s, and a seating area in the back. Behind the restaurant is a coveted parking lot and an area that will soon be converted into a patio.
On the menu are dishes that Rangers would expect: porketta, pizza, and pasties. Minnesota porketta is a dry spice rubbing pork shoulder, cooked long and slow. The meat can be found in sandwich, pizza and nacho form. Pasties are a pie crust wrapped around slow-braised beef, potatoes, onions and rutabaga. It’s a dish that was popular among taconite miners because it was an easy lunch to take down to work.
There are also pizzas, salads and for dessert, a poticia coffeecake straight from Hibbing’s Sunrise Bakery, which Forti’s cousin’s own. There’s a little Ranger section with snacks for kids.
The Iron Ranger is open from lunch through dinner.