Category Archives: Restaurant

Schroeder Baking Company, Schroeder, MN

Schroeder Baking Company, Schroeder, MN

Schroeder Baking Company is one of those little gems that you hope to find in your travels.  Every small town has a place where the locals go to visit and eat and drink coffee.  Schroeder Baking Company is one of those places.  Granted I am pretty sure this bakery is possibly the only places in Schroeder, but if there were fifty places you could go, this would still be the place to go.

The food, wow, you cannot go wrong with whatever you decide to order.  We ordered breakfast sandwiches one morning.  They heat them up when you order them and hand them to you in a foil wrapper.  We took ours outside and wiped the morning dew of the picnic table so that we could sit and enjoy these mouthwatering sandwiches.

Jon sampled a few of their different coffees and he loved them.  That says a lot about the taste and quality.  They have a few different beans and flavors.  It is imported from wherever and clearly the good beans.  It is way more than you would expect from a small town and better than a lot of chain coffee shops.

The coffee section of Schroeder Baking Company

The establishment calls themselves a bakery and they deliver on that statement.  Every morning a new selection of baked goods is displayed so that you may make your selection.  The thing is, when it is gone, it is gone, and they sell everything, everyday, so get there early.

Baked goods section of Schroeder Baking Company

The food selections don’t end there.  Schroeder Baking Company also offers pizza, really good pizza.  It is a thinner crust pizza with an incredibly delicious red sauce.  The toppings aren’t “fresh”, the mushrooms come out of a can, but you are in the middle of nowhere and it isn’t a frozen pizza that they are unwrapping and cooking for you.  They put it all together and cook you a fresh pizza which was delicious.  They do simple pizzas so much better up north.

The place is small.  Inside you will find two tables and some chairs.  If you sit at one expect to share it with others.  Outside there is a picnic table or you could put down a blanket and have a picnic.  It is a completely picnic worthy area and there is a very a nice view of nature all around you.

The bakery is just down the street from Superior Ridge Resort Motel if you decide to stay there and not far from the Lutsen Resort.  Temperance River State Park is right in that area as well.  If you are looking for a trail to hike the locals or the staff can point you in the right direction.  They have hiked them all.

The place is busy all the time, but not chaos busy, more like a steady stream.  Again, the food is really, really good, and reasonably priced.  Eat there or take it to go, but stop if you get a chance.  You will not be disappointed.

Rocky’s Pizza House, Park Rapids, MN

Rocky’s Pizza House, Park Rapids, MN

South of Itasca State Park is the little town of Park Rapids.  There are quite a few places to eat in this town.  Some even require reservations.  Rocky’s Pizza House is this long log cabin like building with pizza.  It was delicious pizza, and not that thick crust that you get in the cities.

This is the kind of pizza that you and a friend order together.  You go over to the vending machine, and choose one of the glass bottle drinks that you won’t find at most places.

Varied drinks at Rocky’s Pizza House

You sit at one of the booths or tables.  Generally families head upstairs, so expect noise if you join them.  The upstairs booths are decorated with license plates and other items and the downstairs booths have a clearly different feel.

Booth upstairs at Rocky’s Pizza House
Booth downstairs at Rocky’s Pizza House

Your pizza arrives and the two of you devour the entire thing, because, yum.  It is cheesy just like a remember pizza as a kid.  The sauce is tasty.  The crust is thin enough that you can have more than a piece or two, but not crispy like a cracker which some thin crust pizza’s become.  It is the perfect pizza.

The pizza at Rocky’s Pizza House; look at that cheese

The upstairs looked like a great environment for the kids, so if you have a family they will enjoy it.  The downstairs is perfect for adults that don’t want to deal with all of that excitement.  I would highly recommend putting this on your list if you are just north visiting Lake Itasca, or anywhere in the neighborhood of Park Rapids, MN.

Lutsen Resort on the Superior, Lutsen, MN

Lutsen Resort on the Superior, Lutsen, MN

We didn’t stay at the Lutsen Resort on our trek near Lake Superior, but we did stop in one evening for a meal.  I believe the resort has changed ownership since then so I do not know what has changed.

The view was great, the service was very good, but the food was odd.  The prices are on the higher side, but not extreme.  I ordered fish because we were on Lake Superior and that seemed appropriate.  I don’t know why, but Minnesotans have some sort of inability to properly cook a fish, so that it tastes good.  It is not just this restaurant.  I have had exactly one good fish the entire time I have lived in Minnesota.  I know it isn’t the fish because we used to vacation in Minnesota when I was a kid, and the fish were delicious.  Jon ordered the Swedish meatballs, again, very odd.  A lot of the other items on the menu look really good.  We may have just made the worst choices on the menu.  The flavors were just odd.

View of the Lounge at Lutsen Resort
Front door of Lutsen Resort
Dinning Hall at Lutsen Resort

After dinner we walked around the resort a bit and took in a sunset.  The views at this resort are amazing.  The placement of the resort is perfect for exploring the north shore.

View of peer on Lutsen Resort

The resort has a great beach right in front of it.  You can take your family down and put your foot into Lake Superior.  I am sure you can sun bathe on the beach during the day.

Beach in front of Lutsen Resort dining hall

Overall, I would say, if you have some money to spend, and want an extremely nice resort, on Lake Superior, that reminds you of days gone by, this is the place.  It feels like it is straight out of the fifties or earlier, when families went on a long vacation, and dressed up to go to dinner.  You play hard all day, and return to your room to get cleaned up, before heading downstairs to an elegant meal.  It really is a great atmosphere and an amazing location and view.

Stony Ridge Cafe, Ely MN

Stony Ridge Cafe, 60 W Lakeview Pl, Ely, MN 55731

It was totally worth it.

I think we went the wrong way.  We headed down a road that seemed residential.  I half expected the Stony Ridge Cafe to just be someone’s personal kitchen.  The sight of a real restaurant at the end of journey allowed us to breath a sigh of relief and filled us with a tinge of excitement.

The view is pretty nice as well.  You will have to see it for yourself.

The menu is simple.  You have your choice of burgers and fries.  One of the burgers is a ridiculous size.   The regular ones are kind of ridiculous as well.  It tastes amazing and I highly recommend it to anyone.

Four Points Bar and Grill, Bemidji, MN

Four Points Bar and Grill, 1813 Paul Bunyan Dr NW, Bemidji, MN 56601

four point bar and grill bemidji 020

Right next to the Super 8 Hotel is a restaurant called Four Points Bar and Grill.  You get a 10% discount with your key card from the hotel.  They serve American food.

Overall their prices are pretty average for a nice restaurant.  The feel inside is very rustic.

four point bar and grill bemidji 055

We tried their signature burger and fries.  Let’s just say it was very messy.  The onion marmalade basically slid off the burger.  The coleslaw was not the greatest.  The fries were pretty great.  Overall it was decent.  The patty was preformed.  They cooked it alright.  The flavor combination was very good.  It was a bit difficult to eat.  The patty was some ridiculous amount of beef.  It was super thick and just made it difficult to take a full bite of the burger and I believe lead to the loss of the toppings.  I wish these places would give me a smaller burger of better quality so that I can actually enjoy eating it.

four point bar and grill bemidji 060

That being said I think most people I know would have liked the burger.  It was mostly just difficult, not bad.  The fries were really good.

If you are in the area and want a nicer meal this is the place you want to go.  It isn’t cheap, but it is at the price point of a better meal.

They also have pasta and fish and steak to choose from if you do not want a burger.  Their Scott selection was also respectable.

UPDATE:  Based on everything I can find online this restaurant has closed.  Unfortunate!

Douglas Lodge, Itasca State Park, Park Rapids, MN

Douglas Lodge, 36750 Main Park Drive, Park Rapids, MN 56470

Douglas Lodge is located inside of Itasca State Park.  It is closest to the east entrance of the park, but easily accessible from the south, or if you want a little drive from the north entrance.

While I did not stay at the lodge and cannot comment on the rooms the location is great.  You have easy access to many hiking trails, the Aiton Heights Fire Tower, the bike trails, and the Chester Charles II boat tour.  The lodge has WiFi access and it is pretty good inside the lodge.

The reason we went to the lodge was to eat lunch on two separate days.  The lodge is fairly busy, but the wait is generally not more than half an hour.

Douglas Lodge Itasca State Park 077

Since Minnesota is known for their wild rice which grows right on the lake we had to try their wild rice soup and hot dish (it’s a casserole).  Needless to say both dishes are very Minnesotan in their lack of spices.  They were a bit bland.  I also tried the walleye which was really good.  One note when ordering the wild rice soup.  If you want your soup creamy you need to specifically ask for it that way.  If you do not then you will get the broth wild rice soup.  That worked out well for me, but maybe rather disappointing for most people.

Douglas Lodge Itasca State Park 158

We also tried one of their desserts which was really good.  We had the sweet potato maple cheesecake.  It was delicious.

If you are a Minnesotan you will probably like the food.  It was cooked as well as can be expected.  The walleye was very good and I recommend it.  I liked the soup too, but it was very simple.  The hot dish wasn’t bad, but again not very exciting.

I would say overall this was pretty good, but not great.  I would eat here again.  I did wait half an hour twice just to eat here, but the only other place to eat is near the northern entrance.  The food is made right.  The service is decent.  If you are considering eating there I would say do it.

World’s Best Donuts, Grand Marais, MN

World’s Best Donuts, 10 Wisconsin St, Grand Marais, MN 55604

It is a bold claim to name your store World’s Best Donuts, but I have to say that it may very well be a true claim.

You walk in and choose the donuts that you want.  They ring you up and then you can either eat in their little seating area inside, eat outside, or take your donuts home.  We took ours back to the cabin.

The donuts themselves are basically grease and sugar somehow held together with just enough flour to give it form.  It literally melts in your mouth as you bite it.

Amazing donuts.  Definitely worth getting one and trying it for yourself.

Watch out for the birds, that is all I am going to say about that.

Sven and Ole’s Pizza, Grand Marais, MN

Sven and Ole’s Pizza, 9 Wisconsin St, Grand Marais, MN 55604

Sven and Ole’s Pizza is pretty famous, mostly due to their bumper stickers.  Oh, and the fact that they have really good pizza.

The bumper sticker is free if you just ask for one while you are there.  We have ours as a sign on our porch.

Sven and Ole bumper sticker 136

You walk in and order the pizza that you want.  You grab a table and wait for them to bring it to you.  The walls are lined with a lot of sports and outdoor items.

June 2016 181 Sven and Ole's Pizza

The pizza itself is perfect.  When I complain that I cannot find a decent pizza in the cities it is because this is the kind of pizza that I am looking for.  It is a thinner crust, but not overly crisp and not limp.  The toppings where tasty and plentiful.  The cheese was delicious.  Everything about this pizza was perfect.

June 2016 182 Sven and Ole's Pizza

There are plates, forks, Parmesan cheese, and peppers available.  You can ask for a box for the leftovers if you have any.  We did, it was a lot of pizza for two people.

My mouth is watering just thinking about this pizza.  I had a craving for it a few weeks later, but realized four and a half hours was a long way to drive for a pizza.

Try a pizza at Sven and Ole’s and get a bumper sticker.  It is worth it.

Betty’s Pies, Two Harbors, MN

Betty’s Pies, 1633 Minnesota 61, Two Harbors, MN 55616

As you are driving along 61 and you are passing through Two Harbors you will see a large building and a sign that says Betty’s Pies.  You will then pull off the road and order one of her famous pies.

June 2016 452 Betty's Pies

But wait there’s more.  Betty’s Pies isn’t just a pie shop.  It is a fall cafe and restaurant.  We waited half an hour for a table.  Not sure if this is normal, but it was pretty full with people waiting inside and outside to get their names called.  We ended up at the counter which was fine with me.

June 2016 450 Betty's Pies

I ordered the potato soup and tuna melt which came with a slice of pie.  I had the cherry pie.  I wish a had ordered a different pie because I have had the most incredible cherry pie before and no other cherry pie has ever stood up to it.  This cherry pie was as good as any normal cherry pie could be.  It is served cold and not hot which is a little disappointing, but not surprising.

June 2016 447 Betty's Pies

I have it on good authority that the veggie burger is pretty amazing here and that is from a non-vegetarian who ordered it not knowing it did not contain meat.  Basically it is just rice and cheese which really does sound amazing.

On our second pass through Betty’s Pies we bought a whole apple pie which was amazing.

If you are passing by you really do have to stop in and buy at least a slice of pie.  If nothing else just to say you have tries Betty’s Pies.

Hungry Jack Lodge, Grand Marais, MN

Hungry Jack Lodge, 372 Hungry Jack Rd, Grand Marais, MN 55604

A man who once lived in California returns home to run his father’s lodge, Hungry Jack Lodge.  The boy isn’t necessarily the most outgoing, but I do like his influence on the menu.

Let’s start with the restaurant in the lodge.  It is downstairs.  They have pizza.  They are more famous for their burger and fries, particularly their fries.  I agree that they are very good.  Our waitress was new and inexperienced, but the food was good so who cares.  You can get drinks at the bar or the tables.  You can even eat outside is you wish.

June 2016 063 Hungry Jack Lodge

The cabins are great.  They are right on the lake.  You get your own private dock.  They come with all of the items you need for cooking in the tiny kitchen area.  It has a little kitchen, a bed and fireplace, and a really nice bathroom.  You have deck to hang out on and enjoy the evening sunset or morning sunrise.  They are pretty close to the lodge so you can pop out to get a bite to eat.

June 2016 039 Hungry Jack Lodge

June 2016 027 Hungry Jack Lodge

One thing about being this far north, in the summer for sure, is the northern lights.  It never gets dark.  It hardly gets darker inside at night than it is during the day.  Oh, you can hear the loons at night.

You can fish off the dock or rent a boat.  We caught a couple of small fish, but honestly we needed to be out just a little bit further than we could manage to cast.

June 2016 071 Hungry Jack Lodge

Near the lodge there is some playground equipment if you have children.  The swimming area is straight out from the lodge.

June 2016 048 Hungry Jack Lodge

The have many campsites that you can rent.  The sites look pretty nice.  You can even get a shower if you rent a campsite.  The single shower is really nice, better than the one in my cabin.

June 2016 169 Hungry Jack Lodge

June 2016 277 Hungry Jack Lodge

The best part of this particular lodge is the distance to the nearest trail.  Just a little bit down the road you can walk up to a lookout that allows you to see Hungry Jack Lake.

June 2016 118 Caribou Rock Trail

Walk past this and you will find Caribou Rock Trail and Moss Lake Trail.  Caribou Rock Trail is where it is at between the two, but even if you only get to the lookout point you will enjoy the view.

Hungry Jack Lodge is actually a ways past Grand Marias.  If you are looking for a great place to stay I would say this is possibly the place.