Eating at the same run-of-the-mill restaurants can get dull. It’s not that they don’t have great food, but every once in a while, it’s nice to add a little excitement to the dining out experience. Here in Minnesota, there are many fantastic restaurants that serve mouthwatering food in a fun atmosphere. These 10 themed restaurants will add some spark back to eating out, all while serving incredible food.
1. The Whistling Bird — Gilbert
The Iron Range is not known for its restaurants, but the Whistling Bird may surprise you. In the small town of Gilbert, Minnesota, this spot has an unassuming facade that opens into a tropical wonderland. The interior decor is an explosion of color that will make you feel like you've stepped onto your own private island.
The tropical theme at the Whistling Bird continues into the menu. Fish tacos and jerk chicken add are just a couple of the many flavorful options up for grabs. Round out your meal with a fruity drink. This spot is the perfect Caribbean getaway.
Address: 101 North Broadway Avenue, Gilbert.
2. Psycho Suzi's Motor Lounge — Minneapolis
Psycho Suzi's is a well-known Minneapolis establishment with a tiki theme. The decor is just what you'd expect from a tiki bar: grass accents, tiki heads, and string lights. On a warm night, the outdoor patio is downright magical.
Like you'd expect from a tiki-themed restaurant, the tropical drinks flow freely at Psycho Suzi's. Whether you get a classic or a super-special mix you can only get there, you're going to have a good time. Pair your drink with any of the tiki-themed appetizers or entrees to complete your meal.
Address: 1900 Marshall Street Northeast, Minneapolis.
3. Galactic Pizza — Minneapolis
What's the theme at Galactic Pizza? Superheroes, of course. From the front sign to the delivery drivers, every aspect of this pizza place is a win. Beyond the wild and crazy exterior, the restaurant is decked out in bright colors and vivid patterns.
The superhero theme continues into Galactic Pizza's food. The restaurant has a mission of sustainability. They use electric vehicles when possible, power the restaurant with wind energy, and support local agriculture. All of that adds up to some delicious pizzas. A menu of specialties with names like Pizza a la Vodka and the Paul Bunyan are as enticing as sticking with a classic pepperoni.
Address: 2917 Lyndale Avenue South, Minneapolis.
4. Gasthof Zur Gemutlichkeit —
If it isn't obvious from the name, this Minneapolis spot is a German restaurant that spares no detail in being the one of the most welcoming dining experiences around. The atmosphere of the restaurant is cozy and down-to-earth, with events such as Oktoberfest to keep things interesting.
The menu at Gasthof Zur Gemutlichkeit is full of amazingly delicious German specialties. If you just can't decide what to get, there are several platters for two to choose from. Each comes with a wide variety of dishes — and each is served with a shot of German Schnapps.
5. Choo Choo Restaurant & Bar — Loretto
The Choo Choo Restaurant is a train-themed spot just west of Minneapolis that will delight any train enthusiast who crosses its threshold. Part of the building dates back to 1915, making it an historic as well as delicious place to visit. The icing on the cake is a caboose that was moved to the restaurant in the 1960s. You can even eat in there today.
The menu at Choo Choo is bound to be crowd-pleasing no matter who you're with. It's full of tasty classics like burgers, wings, and pasta.
Address: 160 Railway Street West, Loretto.
6. The News Room —
This downtown Minneapolis establishment lives up to its name. The atmosphere is both whimsical and classy, with blown-up newspapers decorating walls and tables. It has an upscale casual vibe and a large patio on Nicollet Mall.
The News Room is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The eclectic menu features classics such as eggs Florentine for breakfast, as well as interesting options like mint gnocchi for dinner.
Address: 990 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis.
7. My Sister's Place — Grand Marais
My Sister's Place is a cabin-themed restaurant that'll make you feel right at home as you travel along the North Shore. The place is decked out in cozy wood tones and trimmed with rustic knickknacks reminiscent of an old-fashioned cabin.
The food at My Sister's Place is just as inviting as the atmosphere. The menu features handcrafted burgers, fresh fish, and made-from-scratch pizzas. Whether you're just starting your journey or coming back from a long trip along the trail, this is an ideal place to satisfy your hunger.
Address; 401 East Highway 61, Grand Marais.
8. Smalley's Caribbean Barbecue and Pirate Bar — Stillwater (Permanently closed)
Smalley's is an American-style Caribbean restaurant with a unique theme. The interior has a few pirate touches that give a slight
Pirates of the Caribbean vibe, but it is not overdone. The inside is great, but in warm months try to get a seat on the outdoor patio. It's one of the best in Stillwater.
The menu at Smalley's is full of delicious like jerk chicken or barbecue pulled pork. If you really want that special touch, order the pirate burger. There's a skull and crossbones right on the bun.
Address: 423 Main Street South, Stillwater. Editor's note: As of November 2020, this restaurant is permanently closed.
9. Old Barn Resort —
In southern Minnesota, Preston is one of the prettiest small towns in a region known for its beautiful hilly landscape. The scenery is reason enough to visit, but the Old Barn Resort may make you want to move Preston to the top of your bucket list. The restaurant is inside of a 130-year-old barn that has been gorgeously repurposed into a full restaurant and bar. It has rustic touches without being too kitschy, making this an ideal spot for a night out.
The Old Barn Resort serves up classic dishes inside the barn restaurant. Entrees include burgers, pasta, ribs, and a number of favorite sandwiches. This is the spot to get comfort food classics made right — and served in a beautiful environment.
Address: 24461 Heron Road, Preston.
10. Betty Danger's Country Club — Minneapolis
Betty Danger's styles itself as a country club, but this restaurant is a lot more than its tongue-in-cheek theme. Beyond the pink and green argyle is a fun spot with a whole lot of quirk. A mini golf course takes the place of a sprawling golf course, and a working Ferris wheel takes visitors high above the city.
This restaurant is open for brunch, lunch, and dinner. Each menu has a Tex-Mex theme, with tacos, enchiladas, and quesadillas among the tastiest dishes.
Address: 2501 Marshall Street Northeast, Minneapolis.
Do you know about any other themed restaurants in Minnesota? Tell us about them in the comments below! And, if you’re looking for a more low-key dining experience, try out any of these
11 amazing roadside restaurants in Minnesota.