Brainerd, the biggest and oldest city in central Minnesota’s Brainerd Lakes area, was discovered by European immigrants in 1805 while searching for the River headwaters.
This Northern Pacific Railroad-created community, founded in 1871 and named a city on March 6, 1873, is the realization of President Abraham Lincoln’s ambition of connecting the east coast with Tacoma, Washington by a northern rail line.
In the 1920s, the railroad provided a living for 90% of the Brainerd population. Around seventy persons are still employed in a maintenance position now. Although we will be reviewing restaurants in Brainerd, MN, there is much more to the region.
The iconic Brainerd water tower was the country’s first all-concrete raised water tower. Its restoration vs. removal is a hotly contested subject among people, since it is no longer operable and repair costs are rising. It’s visible from both sides of the Mississippi River, as well as from many of the restaurants on our list.
On October 27, 1933, at the First National Bank in Brainerd, Baby Face Nelson and his crew stole the bank, seizing about $32,000. The bank building is currently home to a collectibles shop with photographs of old Brainerd displayed in its windows. Enter and ask the owner to show you the remaining gunshot holes.
Now that the railroad is a small component, tourism, particularly cycling, is the region’s principal source of income.
It’s a great place to visit in the summer or winter. The essential thing is to enjoy the beautiful outdoors, whether it’s ice fishing and snowmobiling in the winter or cycling and auto racing in the summer. With the increase in tourists, Brainerd restaurants provide great, wholesome, and homestyle meals with regular new alternatives for everyone to enjoy.
Not in the mood to dine out tonight? Click here to have Grubhub deliver right to your door from the greatest restaurants in town.
Additionally, will you be visiting neighboring Baxter while in Minnesota? Check out this article on the greatest restaurants in Baxter, Minnesota!
- 1.1 The Top 7 Brainerd Restaurants
- 1.2 Which of these Brainerd eateries do you want to try the most? Please share your thoughts in the comments box below!
The Top 7 Brainerd Restaurants
Laurel on Sage
218-454-SAGE606 Laurel St.
This popular downtown eatery is unique, comfortable, and airy all at the same time. Whether you dine indoors or on the terrace in nice weather, the farmers market may surprise you by appearing in the midst of your meal. You may always play checkers or chess on the outdoor tables if they are not accessible for people viewing.
The proprietor is renowned as one of Brainerd’s finest restoration artists, working with ancient brick to repair and remodel this charming institution.
Vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free meals are available. Quick service with a grin and explanation, or What does it mean? is really beneficial, particularly for first-timers.
Wings, walleye cakes, fresh spring rolls, baked bruschetta, chips and dips, lefse rolls, a beer cheese pretzel, fried cheese curds (must-have comfort food! ), and nachos are among the appetizers. Gluten-free bread is offered with the bruschetta.
Salads include spring rolls, a beloved wild rice dragon bowl, a black and blue salad, and a southwest salad. My pescatarian enjoyed the wild rice dragon bowl, which had wild rice (check labels to see if it’s genuinely river rice from the Mississippi Delta), rainbow slaw that was fresher than you’d ever had, mixed greens, toasted walnuts, apple, and a little smoked salad dressing.
The menu clearly states that they specialize in Innovative New American Cuisine. They provide takeout and local delivery.
With honey basil flatbread, grown-up grilled cheese, beef Reuben, bruschetta BLT, Thai peanut wrap, red curry bowl, and seven burger options (Kimchi looked amazing and the Justa Burger was enticing), I chose the Thai Peanut Wrap. It truly pleased the taste senses with grilled chicken, peanuts, crisp vegetables, herbs, and a peanut sauce that is both sweet and salty.
In addition to fries, sweet potato fries, salad, or soup, you may get brisket beans for a smokey flavor of yesteryear.
For further community participation, they conduct monthly paint evenings from 6 to 8:30 p.m. It’s a vibrant atmosphere where you’ll meet an eclectic mix of Brainerd’s finest, all while dining at one of the greatest restaurants in Brainerd, MN.
Flame N Brew Northern Cowboy
218-829-98729090 State Highway 371
If you’re interviewing in the neighborhood, this is one of the most probable places for your group supper. It rejects tough individuality, whether on motorbikes, snowmobiles, or personal watercraft. Instead of beans over the campfire, these contemporary cowboys eat Buffalo wings as hot as they can tolerate.
They also provide nachos, onion rings, walleye cakes, stuffed jalapenos, cheese curds, jalapeno cheese curds, avocado toast, spinach artichoke dip, pickle fries, heated pretzels with cheese sauce, and mac n gouda bits in addition to smoked wings.
Flatbreads, sandwiches, and wraps are available with chips, soup, or house salad. They offer a brisket spin on a Philadelphia sandwich, an angry pig, and the larger Gull Dam, their trademark dish, which is an intricate lb. loaded cheeseburger with ham, BBQ pork, bacon, cheddar cheese sauce, pickle chips, and a fried egg.
They provide a half-dozen different burgers, as well as fish and chips, chicken tenders, and popcorn shrimp.
The field and stream opportunities extend in the evening. Its eight-ounce Atlantic salmon and walleye fillets, along with shrimp skewers, were ideal for our evening after a long interview day. It’s full and healthy, so it’ll keep you going through the night and the next day of travel or interviews. If you’re in here for the biking trails, it’s also ideal for muscle recovery.
It’s a terrific location to meet new coworkers, spend time with family and other riders, or have a ladies night out.
Don’t forget to check out their highlighted specials and seasonal treats. Northern Cowboy is one of the greatest places to dine in Brainerd since it is casual and always pleasant.
Caf Sawmill Inn
218-829-5444601 Washington St.
Enter to find seasonal decorations that will make you happy. Around the establishment, welcoming banners fly. Beautiful bald eagles in flight, beavers, mallards, or a deer staring wistfully at a modest log cottage with a joyful stream of smoke from the chimney are all common saw blade art.
Wait in line for one of the fifteen booths in the main part and three tables in an alcove expansion, or take one of the three counter seats. On the approach to the two rear conference or event rooms, there is a small salad bar with pasta salad and salad add-ons.
When you arrive, have a look at the daily deals. The omelets and skillets are popular, but there’s always a new touch to make lunch and supper even better.
The menu reflects the variety of tastes among the consumers they serve. Cheese curds and Wisconsin gold nuggets are suggested. If you’ve come in just for the dessert, or if you have space after the big meal portions, try the chocolate, hot fudge, caramel, or strawberry topped sundaes, or the speciality tin roof, turtle, or Sunny Honey.
The Northwoods Skillet, with hearty wild rice, smoked bacon, and cheddar jack cheese served over hash browns and topped with 2 eggs and hollandaise sauce plus your choice of toast or cinnamon streusel coffee cake, is the most popular item, followed by The Everything, with ham, bacon, and (spicy) sausage plus pepper jack cheese.
Lunch favorites include the Turkey Ranch Melt, Brainerds Best BLT, and Steak Sandwich.
The waitress stopped when asked to choose between the steak sandwich and the blueberry flapjacks. A genuine quandary. They’re both fantastic. The steak is cooked to order, but the blueberry flapjacks are served with your choice of maple or blueberry syrup. How hungry do you feel?
It’s blueberry flapjacks. I can attest to the freshness of their ingredients since they are served HOT off the griddle. A little bit of butter goes a long way. They’re jam-packed with blueberries so fresh that the squirted juice stain the table.
On Sundays, there will be a buffet offering with a gathering in the rear area, huge tables to handle the church throng, celebrate a birthday, or have your own coffee klatch. One chamber has two long rows of tables, while the other has a large and circular table. There is plenty of room to decorate for a shower or birthday celebration.
Breakfast is served all day, every day. Wonderful work. If you’re deciding between Brainerd eateries, keep the Sawmill Inn Café in mind.
The Stomping Grounds, Local 218
Mill Avenue (218) 270-3195723
Locals may not inform you it exists since it is many blocks off the main strip, if only to keep it to themselves. Visit this huge venue with a central bar, ideal for a party or gathering.
A surprisingly wide menu caters to the vegetarians and pescatarians in your party.
Appetizers include fried calamari and risotto, chicken wings and steak tips, and poutine, a Canadian staple made with beef gravy, cheese curds, and green onion.
Soups, such as clam chowder or the soup of the day, and a selection of six salads provide lighter alternatives.
From sandwiches to burgers, today’s selection was the Jerk Chicken sandwich, along with French fries or macaroni salad.
The sandwich’s look was a little off-putting. The jerk sauce is seen being poured over the roasted chicken. The flavor, on the other hand, is out of this world. The chef prepares it in such a manner that it tastes similar to barbecue sauce. The mild corn-based salsa imparted texture to the layers of chicken, onion, and a fresh tomato slice, leaving a clean finish on your tongue.
Crème brulee, cheesecake, chocolate cake, chocolate brownie, and root beer float are among the desserts offered today. You may want to start with dessert. Otherwise, you may not have enough room.
Arrive early since the parking lot fills up quickly. You’ll understand why this hidden gem is regarded as one of the top Brainerd eateries.
Pizza at Brick House
02 Washington Street (218)825-9003
Pass through the snow or the throng to reach a big space with bar stools and a fireplace to the right, and booths and tables with sports on Televisions to the left.
So first and foremost, go to the cashier and put your purchase. A large selection of pizzas and sandwiches are available on the menu.
It’s obvious that this is a well-known pizza parlor. Discounts and chances to assist local organizations may be found around the counter. Check out their pizza of the month on Facebook for even more discounts.
I chose the gluten-free cheese pizza, which was only available in the twelve-inch size. That is the finest I’ve eaten in the area.
The dough is thin and somewhat crunchy when eaten fresh from the pizza oven. The cheese mixture is mild on the palate. You can devour half the pizza and not even realize. It’s that tasty.
We all need pizza now and again, and if you’re in Minnesota, this is the greatest pizza place in Brainerd.
Mexican Senor Patron Food
218-454-7762320 S 7th St
Are you ready for some fiery salsa? This is the spot for you, Senor Patrons.
After being welcomed by lively mariachi music, take a seat in one of the nineteen booths or eleven tables that have just been renovated, or belly up to one of the nine stools at the bar, and your chips and salsa will be brought soon after your menu.
You should even go through the menu online ahead of time. It’s jam-packed with more options than most of us can remember having.
Appetizers include nachos supremos, fajita nachos, and a sampler.
If you like flautas, try the Taquitos Mexicanos from the appetizer menu as your main course. The dipping cheese sauce is said to be the greatest ever. Be prepared to drink a glass of water if you elect to dip it in the spicy salsa instead of the cheese sauce, which is served both hot and spicy.
Do you want to attempt to eat healthier? Salads include the grilled chicken breast salad, fajita taco salad, and house taco salad.
If you’re in a hurry or on a budget, order enchiladas, tacos, tostadas, quesadillas, burritos, or tamales by the serving.
Lunch and specials compete for your attention on the menu as you scan the fajitas and more, as well as the dizzying thirty combo choices.
If you haven’t already, check out the fourteen seafood selections and the Asi is mi Tierra dinner specials, which include steak, chicken, or shrimp.
Do you want more? Check out the enchiladas, burritos, and quesadillas full-page spread.
You want more, you say? There are special meals, as well as American cuisine including beef and pig for the less daring.
While the bar is well-stocked, they also have a kids menu that includes chicken tenders, burritos, tacos, enchiladas, quesadillas, and a cheeseburger.
For me, the true litmus test for a Mexican restaurant is the fried ice cream. There are also Sopapillas, Flan, and Xangos (the best way to describe is deep-fried cheesecake a cream cheese filled with chocolate syrup on top).
The fried ice cream comes in a generous serving, perfect for sharing with three or four people after dinner. The light dessert tortilla has been sprinkled with cinnamon sugar, and the crusted ice cream is still intact, with a lattice of chocolate syrup on the mound of whipped cream, topped with an authentic maraschino cherry. Delicious.
They provide Coca-Cola products, lemonade, raspberry iced tea, and cinnamon tequila, which I’ve heard is delicious. If you’re searching for some Mexican flavor, this is one of the greatest places to dine in Brainerd.
The Northwind Grill
218-829-155-1603, Laurel Street
The Northwind Grilles menu is vast and rich, and it is another local favorite that offers breakfast all day. Although the daily specials with soup and salad or sandwiches keep many satisfied without even looking at the menu, browsing the menu reveals surprising possibilities.
After skipping the popular breakfast (steak, eggs, pancakes, ham, bacon, hash browns, and even eggs benedict), I moved on to the salads, wraps, soups, and chili, and sandwiches and burgers sections.
After narrowing it down to three, I used my daughter’s approach to make the final decision: which does the server prefer? Crispy chicken wrap, grilled chicken bacon wrap, or roast beef melt? He answered Crispy chicken wrap without hesitation and offered coleslaw or fries. Plus your choice of Coca-Cola beverages, such as juice, milk, or hot chocolate.
In addition to daily promotions, the Grille provides a senior menu for people over the age of sixty.
Additional steaks, meatloaf, roast beef, or turkey, broiled or breaded fish, chicken, ham, and country fried steak, as well as spaghetti and meatballs, chicken strips, and popcorn shrimp, are available under the Dinner and Pasta and More menus.
The wrap is delectably fresh, with an intriguing blend of little onion pieces and fresh tomato that lightens the chicken to a new level of gourmet enjoyment.
The Grille serves a variety of malts and milkshakes, cookies, hot fudge sundaes, and fruit pies a la mode. How can you say no when presented with the options of apple, blueberry, five-berry, pumpkin, pecan, or cream pie?
If you can’t find anything to eat, it’s not through a lack of effort on their part.
There are a dozen booths and three tables in front, and another set of tables in the rear with four big tables for gatherings.
Surprisingly, as you enter the toilet corridor, you will discover a not-so-secret link entry to Coco Moon, a cheerful, festive coffee shop that serves as a gathering place for many community activities.
Northwind Grille should be at the top of your Brainerd restaurants list if you’re seeking for a large selection of menu items.