If you’re a Minnesotan, you probably spend at least a few weekends each year traveling to your favorite lakeside getaway. Though you may already have favorite restaurants along the way, why not add some new ones to your itinerary? There are many great roadside restaurants along each of Minnesota’s highways and byways. These are just a few that are worth stopping for.
1. Dottie's Hometown Cafe - Grand Rapids
Located just off Highway 169, this Grand Rapids restaurant is known for its delicious breakfast items. It's the perfect place to stop if you're headed south from Ely after an outdoorsy weekend. After all that time in nature, you'll appreciate the woodsy decor and the hometown feel to ease your way back into civilization.
Address: 324 Northeast 4th Street, Grand Rapids.
2. Park Diner - Waite Park
The Park Diner is a central Minnesota staple for travelers along the busy Highway 23. Whether you're headed east or west of St. Cloud, this retro-styled restaurant is a comfortable place to take a break from the road. Among other things, they have some great specialty burgers on their menu.
Address: 1531 Division Street, Waite Park.
3. Granite Grinder Cafe - Granite Falls
This little restaurant is located right off of Highway 212 in Granite Falls. Though it's small, it has a lot of charm. The menu is full of tasty pastries, coffees, and sandwiches. Also on site is a small gift shop full of goodies to remind you of your trip.
Address: 176 Highway 212, Granite Falls.
4. West Side Cafe - Little Falls
North of St. Cloud on Highway 10, the West Side Cafe is another fantastic roadside restaurant. The cute red-trimmed exterior stands out from the nearby buildings. Let that be your reminder to stop in for a hearty breakfast or lunch.
Address: 119 West Broadway Street, Little Falls.
5. Whistle Stop Cafe - Hinckley
The Whistle Stop Cafe is a nice place to stop if you're traveling along I-35 - or if you're taking the scenic route north on Highway 61. It's a charming spot that has great breakfast, burgers, and homemade pies. It may be small, but the food is fantastic.
Address: 305 Old Highway 61 South, Hinckley.
6. Pease Cafe - Pease
Blink and you might miss this tiny town in east central Minnesota. But what they lack in population, Pease makes up for in flavor. The Pease Cafe is the perfect example of this, with homey foods that will satisfy your hunger on a long drive along HIghway 169. Their menu includes classics like burgers, omelettes, and even sloppy joes.
Address: 212 Central Avenue, Pease.
7. Lange's Cafe - Pipestone
Lange's Cafe is a longstanding travelers' tradition in southwestern Minnesota. Since it's been open, it's served up tasty food from its spot just off Highway 75 in Pipestone. The diverse menu is full of diner favorites, from burgers to pie. You won't leave with an empty stomach.
Address: 110 8th Avenue Southeast, Pipestone.
8. Waverly Cafe - Waverly
This roadside restaurant may not look like much from he outside. But don't let that fool you. Among the other great options on their diverse menu are the stuffed hash browns that were voted Best in Minnesota by WCCO viewers. You can try them for yourself when you stop into the restaurant just off Highway 12 between Dassel and Wayzata.
Address: 805 Pacific Avenue, Waverly.
9. Rock Creek Cafe - Rock Creek
The first things you'll notice when you stop in at the Rock Creek Cafe are the gas pumps. It's true this truck stop restaurant comes with a gas station attached, but don't let that stop you from visiting. The Rock Creek Cafe is known for its delicious chicken dumpling soup. If that doesn't interest you, try any of their delicious breakfast items. You'll find the restaurant on Highway 70 just off of I-35.
Address: 5737 Highway 70, Rock Creek.
10. North Pole Restaurant - Newport
North Pole Restaurant has been serving great food for more than 60 years. It started off as a soda fountain in 1961 and later grew to the full-fledged restaurant it is today. From its location on Highway 61, North Pole Restaurant specializes in breakfast, burgers, and other great sandwiches.
Address: 1644 Hastings Avenue, Newport.
11. Carlson's Diner - Hermantown
Here's another diner with a gas station attached. It doesn't have the most impressive facade, but Carlson's is a fantastic place for a roadside bite. The cozy interior will make you feel at home, and the good food will hit the spot far better than any gas station snacks. When you're ready to hit the road, you can fuel up the car only a few feet away. You'll find it just off Highway 2 in Hermantown.
Address: 5691 US-2, Hermantown.
Have you ever eaten at any of these roadside restaurants? Would you add any others to the list? Let us know in the comments below. If you’re interested in more good eats throughout Minnesota, check out our list of
hometown restaurants that will take you back in time.
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