Good things come to those who wait, and Minnesotans usually wait a long time for one very important thing: good weather. When the sun is shining, some of the tastiest restaurants across the state open for the season. These seasonal restaurants draw visitors for their great food and nostalgic charm. If you’re up for a road trip this season, these will help you get into the summer spirit.
1. Dairyland - Fergus Falls
This adorable restaurant in Fergus Falls opened up in 1955. Since then, it's been serving up tasty treats every summer. Stop in to get diner classics such as burgers, fries, and shakes.
Address: 1220 North Union Avenue, Fergus Falls.
2. Happy's Drive-In - Onamia
Happy's is another long-standing favorite with a great menu. Handmade sloppy joes, cole slaw, and more make this a crowd-pleasing stop for any road trip. And if you need to cool down, grab a scoop of ice cream to enjoy on an outdoor picnic table.
Address: 11373 Stevens Road, Onamia.
3. JJ's Drive In - Luverne
Luverne is a beautiful town right on the edge of Blue Mounds State Park. After you're done taking in the natural beauty of this corner of Minnesota, pop in to JJ's for a great meal.
Address: 804 South Kniss Avenue, Luverne.
4. Alpha Cafe - Walker
This cute cafe is known for two things: outstanding breakfasts and incredible hot dogs. The menu includes an extensive selection of breakfast options as well as eleven different hot dogs. No matter what you order, it's going to be fresh, delicious, and likely homemade.
Address: 609 Michigan Avenue, Walker.
5. Burger Hut - Mahnomen
Burger Hut is a roadside stand with an intriguing secret: their burgers are really tasty. If you're ever in the area, it's worth stepping up to the counter to try a bite.
Address: 1439 MN-100, Mahnomen.
6. Dari-ette Drive In - St. Paul
Dari-ette has been a St. Paul favorite for more than 50 years. But if you're expecting typical drive-in fare, you'll be pleasantly surprised at what you'll find instead: authentic Italian. The place is known for its outstanding meatballs, but just about everything you can order is bound to impress.
Address: 1440 Minnehaha Avenue East, St. Paul.
7. Sea Salt Eatery - Minneapolis
You know summer is kicking off when Minnehaha Falls starts to thaw. And when it does, you can bet Sea Salt Eatery will open up shortly after. This restaurant offers up fresh seafood in one of the most beautiful places in Minneapolis. See the falls, grab a bite, and enjoy the weather in the outdoor seating area.
Address: 4825 Minnehaha Avenue, Minneapolis.
8. Peppermint Twist Drive-In - Delano
The Peppermint Twist Drive-In/Facebook
Peppermint Twist is a drive-in restaurant known for its handmade food. It's so good, in fact, that the restaurant was voted best drive-in in Minnesota by WCCO viewers.
Address: 115 Babcock Boulevard, Delano.
9. Gordy's Hi-Hat - Cloquet
Gordy's Hi-Hat is a much loved restaurant that many visit each summer while passing through northern Minnesota. And it's not hard to understand why. The nostalgic charm mixed with classic burger-and-fry combos adds up to a memorable experience.
10. The Drive In - Taylors Falls
The Drive In also has a location in Grantsburg, Wisconsin, but the Taylors Falls restaurant is notable for its scenic location. After you're done hiking at Interstate State Park or taking a boat tour along the St. Croix, sidle on over to Drive In. There, you'll find nostalgic charm including as '50s music and poodle skirts to accompany your tasty meal.
Address: 572 Bench Street, Taylors Falls.
11. The Stand - Chisholm
This little restaurant has been around since 1964. Over the years, it has become known to locals as a great place to spend a summer evening. Grab a bite to eat, choose a picnic table, and enjoy your meal as the sun sets. What could be better?
Address: 700 6th Street Southwest, Chisholm.
Do you have any other favorite seasonal restaurants? Let us know in the comments! If you’re looking for more summertime dining options, check out this list of
11 Minnesota restaurants with outdoor dining areas.