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Critically Acclaimed Duluth Restaurant Falters in First Year of Business

Martha’s Daughter plans to return March 14

The liquor license has been suspended, but plans are in place for a comeback
Joy Summers/Eater Twin Cities

Duluth’s groundbreaking downtown restaurant Martha’s Daughter has had a tough first year, swinging between accolades and finding its footing with its customers. As of today, the restaurant is closed with plans to return after a “spring break,” on March 14. When it does re-open, it will likely be without benefit of a liquor license.

On March 5 chef/owner Nyanyika Banda posted on the restaurant’s Facebook page on about the challenges of running an all-consuming small business. “I am humbled and overwhelmed by the positive feedback and accolades we have received in such a short time! It has also been however the most challenging year of my life. Filled with more tears than laughter and more self-doubt than confidence,” she wrote. Thus the decision to close, “I will be meeting and brainstorming with my current staff, whom I consider not only friends but family as well as a team of supportive, thoughtful and ambitious folks about how we can create a space that is a positive contribution to our community.”

On March 7, the Duluth News Tribune reported that Martha’s Daughter’s liquor license was suspended due to late payments. On March 8, the restaurant’s Facebook page shared that story and promised a nonalcoholic beverage menu was in the works.

Banda has worked at WD-50 and Mission Chinese in New York, but moved to the Twin Ports to attend the University of Wisconsin Superior. Missing cooking, she dipped a toe back into the industry with pop-ups serving tacos and ramen that gained an enthusiastic following. Martha’s Daughter opened on February 14, 2018 in the former Coney Island location on Superior Street in downtown. The restaurant won Eater Twin Cities 2018 Award for New Restaurant Worth the Drive.

“Keep in mind that I’m an artist, and I’m sensitive about my shit.” – Erykah Badu. I came into this world with a strong...

Posted by Martha's Daughter Culinary Arts Space and Restaurant on Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Martha's Daughter

107 East Superior Street, , MN 55802 (218) 481-7887 Visit Website