The Hot Dish has been itching for a road trip lately. But unlike the guy who drove 500 miles to eat at Chipotle, we're seeking true destination dining.
Last year, the estimable Bayport BBQ took home our Best Restaurant Worth the Drive honors, but there are certainly several more strong contenders within a couple hundred miles of the metro.
Here are five of our favorite destination restaurants worth programming into your GPS:[jump]
5. Fisher's Club in Avon The old-fashioned supper club fare at Fisher's Club in Avon may not look like much (see photo), but its flavors evoke the nostalgic, uncomplicated Lake Wobegon Days--no surprise since Garrison Keillor and a few other investors purchased the place a few years back. Fisher's Club looks like a summer camp mess hall--though one where the counselors are bottle club members who stash their liquor in the wooden lockers--and sits right on the shores of quaint Middle Spunk Lake. The best thing to do is go for a dip and then order the walleye fish fry and a slice of rhubarb pie.
* Staying awhile? For another waterfront view, try Anton's in Waite Park, on the Sauk River, where you can eat your popovers and rib eye steak in a covered wagon booth!
4. Angry Trout in Grand Marais One of the state's most sustainability-minded restaurants--the sodas are homemade, the takeout containers reusable, the electricity wind-generated--the Angry Trout highlights homegrown fare. From your Lake Superior-side seat, you can enjoy fish fresh from those waters, plus hand-harvested wild rice and just-picked produce.
* Staying awhile? Hit up the homey, harbor-side Chez Jude where chef Judi Barsness offers such haute Midwestern fare as Lake Superior whitefish en papillote with lobster lemon dill butter.
3. Nosh in Lake City Another annual Best Restaurant Worth the Drive winner, Nosh is a Lake City gem. The menu changes with the seasons and nearly everything is scratch-made, from the sausage to the mustard. Chef-owner Greg Jaworski offers several small plates for "noshing" and likes to pair local produce and proteins with global spices and cooking techniques
* Staying awhile? Hit up Lake Pepin's iconic Harbor View Cafe, the small-town-tavern-come-gastronomic-temple that has lured many a prominent Mayo Clinic patient.
2. New Scenic Cafe in Two Harbors The New Scenic Cafe may be as cozy as a cabin, but the food is fancier than the casual digs suggest. The menu changes quarterly and includes everything from frogs' legs to tempeh Reubens to seared duck breast. Desserts are certainly worth saving room.
* Staying awhile? Nokomis, located just up the road, offers a superior waterfront overlook and meticulous gourmet American cooking.
1. Stockholm Pie Co. in Stockholm, Wisconsin Janet Garretson's pie shop almost seems too storybook to be true: a tiny slip of a space contains about a dozen of the fresh-baked beauts. It's so hard to chose a favorite, but when our fork is forced, we tend to go for the Triple Berry or the Triple Chocolate. In every case, it is, as they say, "a little slice of happiness."
* Staying awhile? If it's a Tuesday night, visit the A to Z Produce and Pizza Farm for their latest crop of garden-topped, wood-fired pies to be eaten picnic style. Previous Five Favorites Five Favorite Minnesota Beers Five Favorite Twin Cities Food Trucks