Dining During A Fall Drive in the Northwest


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This article is supported by members of the Minnesota Heartland Association.

There's almost nothing that compares to a scenic fall drive in northwest Minnesota. Crisp air and vibrant fall colors invite you to roll the windows down, turn the radio up and cruise the region's many curving country roads. Lined with picturesque hardwood forests donning every shade of red, yellow and orange you can imagine, you'll marvel at the scenic vistas and changing colors of northwest Minnesota in the fall.

Of course, crisp air and colorful leaves also means it's the season of hearty fall foods, and northwest Minnesota's diverse restaurant scene shines brighter than the morning sun off Lake Itasca. So be sure to cap off your cruise with a fall meal at one of these road trip-worthy restaurants in northwest Minnesota.

Ribs from the Iron Horse Grill
Photo Courtesy of Justin Leach

Iron Horse Bar & Grill, Nevis

Fall is a great time along the Heartland Trail’s paved surface. Hiking, blading and biking are top notch and so are the burgers, barbecue and other fare at this bar and grill noted for its Northwood’s character.

Photo Courtesy of Scott Thuen

Long Bridge Resort and Marina, Detroit Lakes

This establishment is known to be “a taste of the Islands in Detroit Lakes.” Located on the shores of Lake Detroit and newly remodeled in 2018, it is a fantastic place to enjoy the fall season on the waterfront. Try the wings, they are not to be missed.

Turtle River Chop House, Bemidji

At the Turtle River Chophouse, they specialize in American cuisine with an Asian flair. Freshly made ravioli and hand cut steaks are featured; so enjoy the short drive north, of Bemidji for some color watching. Paul Bunyan and Babe loved the area and you will too.

Benson’s Eating and Drinking Emporium, Walker

Located in beautiful downtown Walker, with all its shopping options, sits this restaurant that will satisfy all your needs. If you are really hungry just try the Leech Burger. Clean your plate and win a free Leech Lake T-shirt. A monstrous full pound of 100% USDA choice chuck - grilled ham, bacon strips, cheddar and jack cheeses, lettuce, tomatoes, onions, mushrooms, special sauce, topped with two olives, and just to make it even tougher on you - a full pound of cheese fries! 

Nomad Tavern Warroad Northwest 2.jpg
Photo Courtesy of Nomad Tavern

Nomad Tavern, Warroad

A little “east coast” flavor on the west side of Lake of the Woods. New York- style thin crust pizza and twelve types of cold beer make for a delightful and satisfying stop as both the leaves and temperatures drop.

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