We all know of the best restaurants in the Twin Cities, and even in the major cities located across our state. But what about those small town restaurants, the ones that are tucked a little further out of the way? There are tons of amazing dining options in Minnesota that will get you out of the city and out exploring everything our state has to offer. Grab your map and start planning your next dinner outing at these rural restaurants around Minnesota that are so worth the drive.
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. Jumpin' Jacks - North Branch
Located just outside the small town of North Branch, you’ll find Jumpin’ Jacks bar and restaurant. This little eatery is ideal for folks looking for a night out without all of the hustle-bustle of big town life. The lively bar will have you feeling like you’re down on the farm in no time. Stop in on Thursday for their burger special. No one ever leaves disappointed!
Address: 27796 Jordell Street Northeast, North Branch, MN.
2. The Grumpy Minnow - Stanchfield
Many have never heard of Stanchfield, let alone been there. But it’s time for that to change! This small town is home to a little restaurant with big flavor. Getting to the Grumpy Minnow requires a drive around the lake, but the beautiful scenery helps to make the beautiful drive that much better. From burgers to wraps to their mouthwatering Creole pasta, their food delivers tasty goodness at an affordable price.
Address: 485 Acacia Way, Stanchfield, MN.
3. Bradford Roadhouse - Cambridge
Taking the road less traveled through the small town of Cambridge may just land you at Bradford Roadhouse. This rural, unassuming restaurant is one that you should definitely not pass up. Friendly service couple with a lively atmosphere to make this watering hole a great place to stop on your way through central Minnesota. From burger baskets to shrimp baskets, you can’t go wrong with any choice.
Address: 30539 Highway 47 Northwest, Cambridge, MN.
4. Pedal Pushers Cafe - Lanesboro
If you want great food in one of the most charming towns in Minnesota, head to Pedal Pushers Cafe in Lanesboro. This classic cafe draws in locals and tourists alike, making this darling restaurant frequently packed. With hospitable wait staff and delicious menu items, it’s easy to see why people show up in droves. No matter what you try, from amazing sandwiches to fresh salads - and beyond - you will not be disappointed.
Address: 121 Parkway Avenue North, Lanesboro, MN
5. Trail Center Lodge - Grand Marais
If you crave good food in a beautiful nature setting, make the trek up the picturesque Gunflint Trail in Grand Marais. The Trail Center Lodge awaids! Its charming mix of rustic decor is easy on the eyes, as are the beautiful views of Poplar Lake. The welcoming staff have great recommendations if you aren’t sure what to order. For breakfast, challenge yourself to finish a stack of enormous pancakes. Or if you’re there during their lunch rush, order the Canoe. It comes with a classic burger, fries and a malt flavor of your choice. Trail Center’s delicious food and great prices can’t be beaten!
Address: 7611 Gunflint Trail, Grand Marais, MN.
6. Carl's Corner - Essig
Most of us wouldn’t know where to look for Essig, Minnesota, on the map. But that will change once you’ve discovered the delicious food at Carl’s Corner! Located roughly 100 miles southwest of the Twin Cities, Carl’s Corner is a hidden gem. This homey joint cooks up some amazing food, from a standard burger to their famous chicken. Next time you’re in the area, stop by for a cold brew and a plate of fried chicken.
Address: 100 Center Street, Essig, MN.
7. Rapidan Dam Store - Mankato
At over 100 years old, the Rapidan Dam Store may look like a tiny hole-in-the-wall joint, but one foot inside will have you falling in love. The burgers are amazing and the menu is jam-packed with comfort food items. But what keeps folks coming back year after year is the Dam Pie. Available in 12 extraordinary flavors, the pie alone is enough reason to stop. Next time you’re on your way through Mankato, be sure to make a pitstop at this unforgettable rural restaurant.
Address: 54116 Glory Road, Mankato, MN.
8. Tutti Fruitti Kitchen and Market Farm - Sauk Centre
Sinclair Lewis isn’t the only famous thing to come out of the tiny town of Sauk Centre. Tutti Fruitti Kitchen and Market Farm serves up incredible food right on a family-owned farm. That’s about as rural as you can get! This restaurant is known for its phenomenal breakfast cuisine and downright delicious bakery items. While you can’t go wrong with any menu item, we suggest you try the Hoe-Down Skillet. And don’t forget to bring hom an ooey-gooey caramel roll fresh from the oven.
Address: 38914 County Road 186, Sauk Centre, MN.
9. Hubbell House - Mantorville
Mantorville is a bit out of the wa for most Minnesotans. But for a meal at the Hubbell House, it’s well worth the drive! Before it was a restaurant, the Hubbell House was known by mail carriers and wagon travelers as a place to stop and rest a weary head. Today, the three-story building is home to an amazing restaurant. No matter what you’re craving, the Hubbell House is sure to deliver. Offering options for meat lovers and herbivores alike, you’ll be asking yourself why you’ve never ventured here before.
Address: 502 North Main Street, Mantorville, MN.
10. Henderson Roadhaus - Henderson
No one would expect the tiny town of Henderson to have such tasty food. But thanks to the Henderson Roadhaus, the town is full of great grub. Henderson Roadhaus has been serving up delightful cuisine for years, and it’s no wonder why people come from miles around to grab a bite to eat. The extensive menu is full of all-American meals at a graet price. Whether you want fish, a burger, or a homemade pizza, all your cravings will be satisfied.
Address: 514 Main St, Henderson, MN.
11. Brass Rail - Grandy
Last but certainly not least, Grandy's Brass Rail is a delightful small-town spot that is well worth the visit. Take a break from your travels down Highway 65 by stopping in for some of their famous broasted chicken. It was voted best in the state, and it comes with delicious fries and coleslaw. Top it off with a beer, and it'll be a meal you won't soon forget.
Address: 36868 MN-65, Grandy, MN 55029.
Do you have a favorite rural restaurant you want us to know about? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below.