It’s all well and good to visit a trendy restaurant with small portion sizes and a big bill at the end. But sometimes you just want a little taste of home. Dozens of small towns across Minnesota have amazing neighborhood restaurants that both locals and visitors rave about. Though there are many more out there, we’ve come up with a list of 11 of those restaurants with food so good you’ll be back for seconds – and maybe even thirds.
1. Nelson's Ice Cream - Stillwater
Nelson's Ice Cream now has two locations, but the original Stillwater shop has been a local favorite since 1923. It has long been recognized as one of the best ice cream parlors anywhere, and you're sure to realize that pretty quickly when you take one look at your mammoth sized scoop. Next time you're in Stillwater, pop in for hand-scooped ice cream in this cute neighborhood shop.
Address: 920 Olive Street West, Stillwater.
2. Pizza Pub - Pine City
Pizza Pub now has several locations across Minnesota, but we like the Pine City location for two reasons. First, it opened way back in 1976, making it the oldest Pizza Pub location. And second, it's housed in what looks like a castle - complete with a suit of armor to greet you at the door. Homemade sauce and dough, plus fresh Wisconsin cheese, make their pizza a seriously delicious choice.
Address: 500 3rd Avenue Southeast, Pine City.
3. Tobies Restaurant - Hinckley
Tobies is most known for its caramel rolls, but this place has been serving all sorts of homestyle food for decades. It's been a favorite of travelers driving I-35 since its opening in 1947.
Address: 404 Fire Monument Road, Hinckley.
4. Town & Country Cafe - Kellogg
When you step off the porch and into this cafe in tiny Kellogg, Minnesota, you'll feel like you've just stepped into your favorite relative's kitchen. Their no-frills burgers, breakfasts, and desserts are comfort foods that will make you feel right at home.
Address: 320 East Belvidere Avenue, Kellogg.
5. Brigitte's Cafe - St. Cloud
Brigitte's Cafe in St. Cloud does not mess around when it comes to breakfast. Try the potato pancakes for something different. Or, if you're not feeling breakfast, there's a wide array of classic lunchtime options as well. Either way, you can't go wrong at Brigitte's.
Address: 42 32nd Avenue South, St. Cloud.
6. Lakeview Drive Inn - Winona
Winona's oldest restaurant will bring you back to the '50s. This place has been around since 1938, so they know a thing or two about making a great burger. Better yet, it's located on the shore of Lake Winona, so you can enjoy a great view while you eat.
Address: 620 Sarnia Street East, Winona.
7. Lockport Marketplace - Lutsen
Stop in for breakfast or lunch at this repurposed gas station in Lutsen. Serving everything from pasties to burgers, this little cafe is a can't-miss-it stop on any trip up north.
Address: 5362 West Highway 61, Lutsen.
8. Not Justa Cafe - Bayport
This little spot in Bayport lives up to its name. It's not just a cafe - it's an experience. Sandwiches, breakfast skillets, poutine - they've got you covered regardless of what you crave. Stop in for some good old-fashioned comfort food next time you're in the area.
Address: 177 3rd Street North, Bayport.
9. Cup N' Saucer - Sherburn
Cup N' Saucer has a history of over 50 years, but it recently opened under new ownership. The revamped restaurant comes with an all-new menu that now includes classic breakfast and lunch dishes made with fresh, local ingredients. Try it. You won't regret it.
Address: 23 North Main Street, Sherburn.
10. A.T. The Black and White Restaurant - Little Falls
This little restaurant has quite a long history. Open since 1931, the restaurant has had only 8 owners in its 82-year history. A visit here offers a look back in time at the early days of Little Falls. Plus, you can't go wrong with their scrumptious menu offerings.
116 1st Street Southeast, Little Falls.
11. Viking Cafe - Fergus Falls
Fans rave about the breakfast served at the Viking Cafe. And it's no wonder. Classic offerings with generous portions have made this restaurant stand out for generations.
Address: 203 West Lincoln Avenue, Fergus Falls.
Have you ever been to any of these restaurants? Do you have any other small town favorites to add to the list? We’d love to hear about them!