Minnesotans know that our state has some of the tastiest restaurants around. We also have our fair share of fascinating historical attractions. But what if we’re looking for a place to eat that also has historical charm? We created this list of Minnesota restaurants to help you find the perfect place next time you’re in that situation. Each of these 11 restaurants has delicious food and local history that will make your dining experience truly unique.
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. Jax Cafe - Minneapolis
Jax Cafe was opened by Stanley Kozlak way back in 1910. The restaurant expanded into liquor sales after Prohibition ended, and it has never turned back. This Minneapolis institution has passed hands over the years, but it has been in the same family for three generations. Today, they are still busy providing amazing service to those who stop in to enjoy the delicious food and hospitality.
Address: 1928 University Avenue Northeast, Minneapolis.
2. Mickey's Diner - St. Paul
Mickey's Diner is such a Minnesota landmark that it is listed on the National Registry of Historic Places. The restaurant was designed to look like a 1930s railroad dining car. It has been featured in many movies and television shows, making it a truly iconic part of Minnesota history. The diner is still family-owned to this day and has been open day and night since 1939.
Address: 36 7th Street, St. Paul.
3. The Hubbell House - Mantorville
Mantorville is a river town that was incorporated in 1854 - the same year the Hubbell House opened. Originally a small log hotel, the building eventually became the three-story it is today. Over the years, many presidents, athletes, and actors have crossed the building's threshold. Today, the restaurant serves up delicious American staples. A visit will take you back through local history to Minnesota's early days.
Address: 502 North Main Street, Mantorville.
4. Forepaugh's Restaurant - St. Paul
Forepaugh's is a landmark St. Paul restaurant located in a breathtaking Victorian mansion. The home was built in 1870 by the wealthy Joseph Forepaugh, who sold it in 1886. After that, the house and the area it is in experienced some decline. It operated as a boarding house for a while before it became a restaurant in 1976. Today, guests go there to gawk at the historic furnishings and savor the meals prepared by the restaurant's talented chef.
Address: 276 Exchange Street South, St. Paul.
5. Pickwick Restaurant & Pub - Duluth
Duluth's landmark Pickwick Restaurant originally opened in another location in 1888. But it has been operating out of its current Canal Park location since 1914, making it one of the oldest restaurants in the area. The restaurant's old fixtures and antique look bring visitors back to a different time. All of that, plus Pickwick happens to be an award-winning restaurant serving mouthwatering modern cuisine.
Address: 508 East Superior Street, Duluth.
6. Yarusso Bros. Italian Restaurant - St. Paul
Yarusso's is St. Paul's oldest family-owned Italian restaurant. Opened in 1933, it is steeped in local history. The restaurant was built by an Italian immigrant who arrived in the United States in 1899. Since its opening, Yarusso's has become a landmark restaurant. The current owners still cook with recipes that were in use when the restaurant first opened. Stop in to enjoy this little piece of local history - and to slurp up some amazing pasta.
Address: 635 Payne Avenue, St. Paul.
7. Band Box Diner - Minneapolis
Band Box Diner is one of the oldest restaurants in Minneapolis. This charming restaurant was opened by Harry and Bert Wyman in 1939. It eventually expanded into a chain of 15 stores, but the current location is the only one left. This type of small restaurant - modeled after White Castle - became popular during Prohibition when people needed a place to gather other than the local watering hole. Locals have been using Band Box as a gathering place ever since it opened. The restaurant was designated as a local landmark in 2000.
Address: 729 South 10th Street, Minneapolis.
8. Naniboujou Lodge - Grand Marais
Naniboujou Lodge began in the 1920s as an exclusive club that only allowed 1,000 members. But a few years after it opened, it fell on financial hard times. Ownership has changed hands many times over the years, but nothing has taken away the Lodge's amazing location and food. It is located far off the beaten track - about 14 miles from Grand Marais - but those who make the trek enjoy learning about local history.
Address: 20 Nanijoubou Trail, Grand Marais.
9. Bev's Cave - Red Wing
Bev's Cafe is Red Wing's oldest restaurant. As such, it offers up local history along with its classic diner fare. Locals go for the small town atmosphere but stay for the delicious food. This neighborhood staple has plenty of regulars who have been around for years. It's the place to go if you want to experience local history, straight from those who have lived it.
Address: 221 Bush Street, Red Wing.
10. Sawmill Inn - Brainerd
The Sawmill Inn in Brainerd is the town's oldest restaurant. It opened as an office building for a local sawmill before being converted into a restaurant in 1908. The restaurant reopened as Val's Cafe under different owners in 1927, but it became the Sawmill Inn after a new buyer studied local history and gave it a historical name. Today, people still gather there for great food and service with an old-time atmosphere.
601 Washington Street, Brainerd.
11. Gluek's Restaurant & Bar - Minneapolis
Gluek's has been serving downtown Minneapolis tasty food since 1934. But this impressive building wasn't always used for food. It was originally built as a warehouse in 1855. Visitors today get a sense of local history each time they walk across the threshold of this classic brick building. Go there for great food, strong drinks, and live music.
16 North 6th Street, Minneapolis.
Have you ever experienced the local history of these restaurants? Let us know where you went and what you thought! If you’re interested in more unique restaurants in Minnesota, check out this list of
restaurants that will give you an unforgettable dining experience.