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6 Must-Stop Restaurants on Your Next Central Minnesota Road Trip

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Take a fall drive in scenic Staples, Minnesota / Discover Staples

6 Must-Stop Restaurants on Your Next Central Minnesota Road Trip

By Minnesota Heartland

Central Minnesota brims with activity year-round, from fishing and biking in the spring and summer, to harvest festivals and pumpkin patches in the fall, and skiing and snowmobiling in the winter. If you’re planning a drive to get in on the action, whet your appetite at these favorite local eateries, which run the gamut from fine dining to casual burger joints.

  1. A.T. The Black and White
    A.T. The Black and White

    Just 5 minutes from Charles A. Lindbergh State Park on the Mississippi River, A.T. The Black and White is tucked into downtown Little Falls and makes a perfect stop for a decadent dinner. For an appetizer, the duck wontons are a smash, filled with duck confit, hot pepper bacon jam, corn and cream cheese, served with a side of sweet chili sauce. Round out the meal with a warm oatmeal milk stout brownie topped with vanilla ice cream, chocolate ganache, caramel sauce, candied pecans and whipped cream.

  2. Jordie's Trailside Cafe
    Exterior of Jordie's Trailside Cafe in Bowlus, Minnesota

    Take a break from riding the Soo Line Trail at Jordie's in Bowlus / Visit Greater St. Cloud

    Jordie's Trailside Cafe

    It’s like your grandma’s house, your favorite day-date destination, and the best place to refuel after a day of biking all in one. Located just off the Soo Line Trail, Jordie’s specializes in homey classics like the Bowlus broasted chicken and hot beef, best when chased with a slice of homemade pie. After a day of biking the Soo Line, Jordie’s is a definite must-stop.

  3. Norway Ridge Supper Club
    Norway Ridge Supper Club

    Overlooking Kimble Lake in Pequot Lakes is one of the finest supper clubs in northern Minnesota. Serving up 70 years of family tradition, Norway Ridge is known for its barbeque ribs, steaks and homemade everything. They make almost everything in-house, and sell pints of their barbeque sauce, parmesan cheese sauce, blue cheese, buttermilk sour cream, balsamic Italian, French and raspberry vinaigrette dressings, and wild rice soup.

  4. Wahoo Valley Bar & Grill
    woman holding up a bacon cheeseburger

    Wahoo Valley in Staples is a local favorite for its handmade burgers / Rose Murtha-Rodriguez

    Wahoo Valley Bar & Grill

    Wahoo Valley is nestled along the Crow Wing River among the tall trees due north of Staples. Kayak, canoe or drive on in for lunch or dinner. Marvel at nature’s beauty while satisfying your tastebuds. Wahoo Valley is a year-round favorite for those craving a juicy, made-by-hand burger or a homemade cup of soup.

  5. Billy's Corner Bar & Grill
    Billy's Corner Bar & Grill

    If you're into burgers, Billy's Corner Bar & Grill in Vergas is a must stop. Their half-pound patties of Ketter's 100% fresh lean beef are cooked to perfection. Vergas is nestled among the rolling hills and lakes of northwest Otter Tail County, so getting there is half the fun. Plus, it's close to Maplewood State Park, so you can burn off the calories on a hike while taking in the fall colors.

  6. Lake Cafe
    Lake Cafe

    If you’re looking for amazing lakeside views and fall colors, just look out the window from Lake Cafe at Arrowwood Resort in Alexandria. What’s good here? You really can't go wrong, but be sure to try the walleye cakes, chef-made patties served with creole remoulade.

Minnesota Heartland is a regional association that works in partnership with Explore Minnesota to promote the 33 counties in Northwest and Central Minnesota.