We’ve all been told not to judge a book by its cover, but that’s easier said than done. It’s hard to resist the pull of bright colors and flashing lights – especially when trying to decide where we’d like to eat. But sometimes if you look just a little closer at something, you’ll see that it has something truly great to offer. These 11 Minnesota restaurants prove just that. They’re a little plain on the outside, but you’ll be singing a different tune after just one bite of food. Here are 11 of our favorite unassuming restaurants in Minnesota to add to your bucket list.
1. Earl's Drive-In, Roseau
Driving down the road, you just might miss this place if you don't know where to look. But the good news is that you don't even need to get out of your car when you stop at this classic drive-in. You'll go back to the '50s when you pull up, but one bite of a mouth-watering burger will bring you back to the present.
2. Kaffe Stuga, Harris
Harris may be a tiny town, but its most popular restaurant has been around for years. It looks humble on the outside, but anyone who's taken a chance on Kaffe Stuga knows how special it is. The restaurant is known for its beef dinners and homemade pies. You'll feel right at home.
3. Gordy's Hi-Hat, Cloquet
Here's another roadside burger joint that has become a can't-miss stop for anyone heading up north. Their hand-pattied burgers are piled high with flavor.
4. Duluth Grill, Duluth
Judging by the building's small signage and plain brick facade, you might not go out of your way to stop at Duluth Grill. You'd be wrong. This restaurant prides itself on serving up creative new dishes alongside old favorites.
5. Trieu Chau, St. Paul
If you've ever driven by Trieu Chau, you might have noticed that they are almost always busy. People line up for this unassuming restaurant's tasty spring rolls and flavorful pho.
6. Uncle Franky's, Minneapolis
On a busy day, you might completely miss Uncle Franky's on a drive down Broadway Street in Minneapolis. But try to pay attention next time you're in the area. Uncle Franky's serves up burgers and sandwiches, but they're best known for their delectable hot dogs. Stop in for a Chicago-style dog. You won't regret it.
7. Rock Creek Cafe, Rock Creek
This little cafe is actually a truck stop right off the interstate in Rock Creek. But don't let the rough appearance fool you. The restaurant's chicken dumpling soup is something to write home about. You can't go wrong with the Haystack breakfast either.
8. On's Thai Kitchen, St. Paul
With all of the hustle and bustle of the area, On's Thai Kitchen is easy to miss. But missing it would be a mistake. On makes some of the tastiest Thai food in the Twin Cities.
9. El Taco Riendo, Minneapolis
If you like tacos, you won't be put off by this restaurant's less-than-remarkable exterior. The best tacos are almost always found in these places. El Taco Riendo - translated to "The Laughing Taco" - is a step above your average Mexican restaurant. If your appetite is especially big, try their footlong burrito.
10. Matt's Bar, Minneapolis
You wouldn't know it by looking at it, but Matt's Bar is famous around these parts for its Jucy Lucy burgers. One bite into this famous cheese-filled burger will convince you that Matt's Bar is more than what it appears.
11. Big Daddy's Old Fashioned Barbecue, St. Paul
Tucked away in St. Paul, this unassuming spot doesn't reveal much at first look. But one step inside and your senses will be awoken by the smell of delicious barbecue. Try not to drool while you wait for your food.
Have you been to any of these restaurants? Do you have any other local favorites to share? Let us know!