Taconite Canteen in Ironton is a museum to Cuyuna’s mining legacy and a prime example of the Cuyuna can-do spirit and grit.
Owner Carrie Hofman, a born-and-raised Cuyuna resident with more than 20 years in the hospitality industry, saw the possibilities in an empty building and transformed it into a uniquely Cuyuna dining experience. Even the name honors the region’s mining roots; taconite is a low-grade ore that was once mined here. But the transformation wasn’t overnight and it wasn’t easy.
She began work on Taconite Canteen just as COVID-19 put a pause on in-person dining—a setback from which many restaurants never recovered. She used the time to plan, renovate, and create the space we see today—completing most of the renovations herself to bring an old space back to life.
Step inside and it feels just as much like a museum as it does a restaurant, with some of the mining and sawmill décor dating back more than 100 years! Patrons have been known to spend 20 minutes exploring the Cuyuna treasures on display. We recommend checking out the Scorpion snowmobile display (Crosby is the birthplace of Scorpion snowmobiles). And see if you can spot the original 1940s Gone with the Wind flyer from the old movie theater. Many of the artifacts, light fixtures, and décor were hand curated by Carrie.
Let’s talk menu! Taconite Canteen serves up some unique dishes—homemade chicken pot pie, pork ribeye, street corn shrimp (shrimp breaded with Mexican street corn), and their Cuyuna-famous bone-in wings! There are gluten-free options too—the caprese cauliflower flatbread is a must-try!
Taconite Canteen’s full bar is well stocked with Minnesota-distilled liquors (including those from Brainerd’s 5Rocks Distilling Co.), freshly squeezed fruit juices, and homemade simple syrups to create your favorite cocktails. Or, try one of Taconite Canteen’s specialties like the Bonnie Bell Porch Pounder—a pineapple-infused Tito’s delight named after the former Bonnie Bell Mine located only two blocks away. On tap, you’ll find ten brews, many from local breweries like Cuyuna Brewing Company.
In the spring, summer, and fall, grab a spot outside on one of two patios and enjoy the Cuyuna sunshine (or shade under the gazebo). The bar patio is dog-friendly, with water bowls so your furry friends can quench their thirst, too.
Host an event
Need a larger space to host your wedding reception, class reunion, a celebration of life, retirement, or anniversary party? Taconite Canteen Event Center is your place. The event center seats up to 280 people. Events include set-up/take-down, linen service, and in-house catering. For smaller events such as monthly club meetings, lunch-and-learns, or more modest get-togethers, book Taconite Canteen’s Manganese Meeting Room—a smaller space that can accommodate up to 30 people.
For delicious food and a little bit of history, grab a bite at Taconite Canteen—the only canteen in Cuyuna!!