No more Tuffy Burgers

Tuffy’s Bar and Grill on First Avenue in Hibbing closed last night, according to reports I’ve heard around town. I called to confirm and there is no answer today during normal hours. I’ve heard the same talk from many different sources, so I’m going to lean toward believing that this subtly iconic Range luke warm-spot is indeed no more. This is sad news.

On one hand, Tuffy’s is a fairly typical main street Iron Range bar. You walk in you see the long bar on one side, a few tall table islands with stools, a few small tables, and a pool table in the back. What made it interesting is that its typical brawler bar decor was accompanied by a fairly awesome short order kitchen in the back. “Tuffy Burgers” were a dietary staple for many in Hibbing, including a lot of downtown workers. When I worked at the Hibbing Daily Tribune a block up First, Tuffy burgers were the office treat of choice.

What’s to say about a good burger? You know what I’m talking about. Juicy, real beef patties served with no bragging and no pretension. The bar looks like a biker dive and, indeed, might have been one at night, but by day it served beer and burgers to a cross section of Iron Range humanity. My favorite memory is when my wife and I went to Tuffy’s for lunch with some old friends from the newspaper. She was very pregnant at the time. I’ll always remember turning around from talking to someone and seeing her smiling at the Tuffy’s bar, in a family way.

Good burgers. Total lack of self-awareness or showmanship. This is a modern rarity. The Iron Range still has plenty of places to get a burger or have a beer. But something about losing Tuffy’s hits home. This is where the locals went.


  1. Sad to hear this! Tuffy’s wasn’t quite a regular bar, it did have 3.2 beer and usually closed by 8 pm. I too used to order many a burger when I worked downtown Hibbing.

    I always loved going into it’s divish atmosphere for lunch, it somehow seemed to transport me back in time to a different era. That and the burgers were some of the best ever. I will miss Tuffy’s!

  2. Shoot, didn’t realize that. I only went there at lunch time and stuck to pop. Still, it looks a lot like most Range bars … I guess that was my point.

  3. Tuffy’s indeed was an Iron Range institution. When I was a kid my dad always used to pick up Tuffy burgers for lunch when my mom was out of town. As an adult it was a great place to unwind and grab a quick lunch. Makes me sad to think that I won’t be able to get a Tuffy burger next time I’m in Hibbing.

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