Every once in a while, it’s nice to go out and have a fancy meal at the most notable, up-and-coming restaurant around. But there are also times when all you want is a comfortable meal without all the fuss of the fanciest restaurants. Luckily for Minnesota, there re plenty of restaurants across the state that prove you don’t need glitz and glamor to get a good meal. These spots are humble, but they are well worth the visit. Take a look:
We’re aware that these uncertain times are limiting many aspects of life as we all practice social and physical distancing. While we’re continuing to feature destinations that make our state wonderful, we don’t expect or encourage you to go check them out immediately. We believe that supporting local attractions is important now more than ever and we hope our articles inspire your future adventures! And on that note, please nominate your favorite local business that could use some love right now:
1. Tendermaid - Austin
Though the small storefront is humble, this restaurant is full of charm. It's been around for 70 years, and its age shows both in its retro interior and in its menu. Simple loose meat sandwiches are on the menu here. Top with your favorite condiments, and enjoy the view from the counter. This humble little restaurant is a retro experience that you don't want to miss.
Address: 217 4th Ave. NE, Austin, MN 55912.
2. Rapidan Dam Store - Mankato
This is a little roadside stop that will delight guests of all ages. Older patrons will feel nostalgic because of its old-school charm, and younger guests will delight in the novelty of it all. You can't miss with a Rapidan Dam Store breakfast, but don't forget to try a slice of pie on your way out. They're homemade, and very delicious!
Address: 54116 Glory Ln., Mankato, MN 56001.
3. Gator's Grilled Cheese Emporium - Ely
Inside the walls of this humble log cabin restaurant is a cheese lover's paradise. Many different grilled cheese sandwiches are on the menu here. The classic Gator includes your choice of cheese, and the Bacon Mac & Cheese adds special flavor. But if you're feeling adventurous, you might want to try the Mutt. This insane sandwich is filled with pulled ham, pulled chicken, shaved turkey, shaved prime rib, crumbled bacon, mac & cheese, and a fried egg. But that's not all: the bread is actually two grilled cheese sandwiches! No matter what you get, though, you'll be walking away full.
Address: 955 East Sheridan St., Ely, MN 55731.
4. Stumpy's Restaurant and Bar - Rushford
This little restaurant may not look like much, but their food is fantastic. It draws many guests from the tiny town of Rushford and the surrounding communities. Why? Hearty portions, great service, and fabulous flavors. The breakfast is especially good, so be sure to get an early start on your day if you'd like to stop at Stumpy's.
Address: 122 West Jessie St., Rushford, MN 55971.
5. Stacy's Kitchen - Wabasha
Stacy's Kitchen does have curb appeal, but its location in the small town of Wabasha means it gets overlooked in favor some of Minnesota's better known restaurants. But this little spot has fantastic food, including one of the best breakfasts you can get at a restaurant. Whether you order eggs Benedict or an omelet, you will not go home hungry from Stacy's Kitchen.
Address: 116 Main St. East, Wabasha, MN 55981.
6. Herman's Bakery and Deli - Cambridge
This bakery and deli may be in a small town, but it gets a
lot of business. Walk in any morning of the week, and you'll be greeted with crowds trying to get a morning donut and a cup of coffee. But it's not just baked goods that are great at Herman's. The deli sandwiches and soups are perfect for lunch! Address: 130 Main St. South, Cambridge, MN 55008.
7. Charlie's Cafe - Freeport
Have you ever heard of Charlie's Cafe? We sure hadn't. But this humble little spot in small-town Minnesota is well worth visiting. Homestyle classics like sandwiches, salads, and breakfast await anyone willing to make the trek to Freeport in north-central Minnesota.
Address: 115 Main St. East, Freeport, MN 56331.
8. Roadside Restaurant - Aitkin
This restaurant may be right next to a gas station, but don't let that stop you from visiting. This underrated spot has wonderful service, a menu full of crowd pleasers, and a comfortable atmosphere. Not only that, but the portion sizes are huge. Make sure you arrive hungry!
Address: 306 2nd St. Northeast, Aitkin, MN 56431.
9. Pease Cafe - Pease
Here is a restaurant that any town would be lucky to have. Its exterior doesn't give away much, but the food at Pease Cafe is absolutely wonderful. You'll be especially happy if you stop in for breakfast. The friendly staff will serve up a huge breakfast at a fraction of the big city prices you may be used to. Stop in at this comfortable cafe for a truly great dining experience.
Address: 212 Central Ave., Pease, MN 56363..
10. Brass Rail - Grandy
Due to its low-key exterior, you it's easy to drive right past Brass Rail without noticing it. In fact, you could say that about the entire town of Grandy. So be sure to keep your eyes peeled as you approach this delightful restaurant. Why? Because you don't want to miss what has been called the best broasted chicken in the entire state. Served with plentiful sides in a comfortable dining atmosphere, this is one meal you are not going to forget.
Address: 36868 MN-65, Grandy, MN 55029.
Which of these spots have you visited? What would you add? And if you’d like to try even more little-known restaurants in Minnesota, check out our list of
the 9 most underrated restaurants in Minnesota.