clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile
A red building with a white and blue sign reading “Dockside Fish & Seafood Market” with a yellow building visible in the background.
Dockside Fish & Seafood Market in Grand Marais.
The Fishermans’ Daughter

A Perfect Day of Eating in Grand Marais, Minnesota

Doughnuts, maple cream sodas, and whitefish fresh from the lake

Grand Marais, one of the furthest-flung towns on Lake Superior’s glittering North Shore, is also one of its best places to eat and drink. This harbor town is at its most vibrant in the summer, when purple flox blooms all along Highway 61, seasonal shops and restaurants reopen, and the sun warms the lake to (barely) swimmable temperatures. Grand Marais is a popular weekend destination, yes, at a manageable four-hour drive from the Twin Cities, but it never loses its small-town feel, which is rooted in its past as a fur trading station, logging town, and neighbor to a thriving Ojibwe village, and its present as a tight-knit community and art hub. There’s a bounty of great places to eat in Grand Marais, but here’s a guide to cramming five can’t-miss spots into one day.

8 a.m. Doughnuts at World’s Best Donuts

Two shelves stacked with trays of various cake and glazed doughnuts.
World’s Best Donuts almost always has a long line, but it’s worth the wait.
World’s Best Donuts
Face-in-hole viking cutouts on a small patio in front of a small red building with a service window and white trim.
The tiny lakeside shop.
World’s Best Donuts

The maple-glazed Long Johns, cinnamon rolls, and raspberry jelly Bismarcks at World’s Best Donuts, a Grand Marais staple since 1969, are tempting. But the real gems are the simple cake doughnuts, which balance a reliably moist, not-too-sweet inside with coatings of cinnamon sugar, powdered sugar, or thick chocolate glaze. The best move is to buy a dozen to share — made fresh every morning, they’re served hot in brown paper bags. Be prepared to wait on weekend mornings, but the line moves fairly fast. 10 Wisconsin St, Grand Marais, MN, 55604

9 a.m. An omelet at at Blue Water Café

A storefront with windows and glass door and a blue awning that says “Blue Water Cafe.”
Blue Water Cafe, a downtown Grand Marais classic.
Blue Water Cafe

Blue Water is a classic small-town diner near the water’s edge. Favorites here include the hefty Wild Country omelet, stuffed with turkey, bacon, and vegetables and drizzled with hollandaise; the near-perfect hash browns; and the homemade pies, which range from tart rhubarb to cinnamon peach. These breakfasts will fuel a day out kayaking or hiking up the nearby Kadunce River. 20 West Wisconsin St, Grand Marais, MN, 55604

1 p.m. Lunch at the Fisherman’s Daughter

A cup of yellow bisque soup on a blue plate on a wooden table next to a leafy green plant.
The Fisherman’s Daughter is just next door to the Angry Trout Cafe.
The Fisherman’s Daughter
A round blue plate of cheese curds covered in buffalo sauce and drizzled with ranch.
Buffalo cheese curds.
The Fisherman’s Daughter

The Fisherman’s Daughter, the sunny cafe tucked inside Dockside Fish Market on the south end of Grand Marais, taps into Lake Superior’s freshwater bounty, serving wild-caught fish by the pound — not to mention piping hot fish and chips. The cafe also serves light cafe fare, from lobster salad and deli sandwiches to rhubarb cheesecake. Don’t miss the maple bacon cheese curds. 418 MN-61, Grand Marais, MN, 55604

5 p.m. Happy hour at Voyageur Brewing Company

A hand holding a small glass of beer beneath three beer taps.
Voyageur Brewing’s rooftop overlooks the lake.
Voyageur Brewing Company

Voyageur Brewing Company is one of the newer breweries on the North Shore — it opened in 2015 on the heels of Castle Danger Brewing, Bent Paddle, and Canal Park Brewing during the craft beer boom. The big, sunny taproom and rooftop deck have lovely views of the harbor. The beer list breaks down each brew by hops and flavor components, ranging from an herbal Northern Drift pale ale to a silky Palisade porter. From the food menu, go for the cheese curds and wings, both served with a smoky raspberry chipotle sauce. 233 W Hwy 61, Grand Marais, MN, 55604

7:30 p.m. A fresh fish dinner at the Angry Trout Cafe

A wooden building with a deck stretching across a waterfront against a blue sky.
The waterside deck at the Angry Trout.
Angry Trout Cafe

Angry Trout Cafe leans into classic Northwoods flavors — think salads topped with blueberries; tart cranberry horseradish compote spread on smoked whitefish; hand-harvested wild rice; and maple cream sodas made with pure syrup and soda water. The fish here, of course, is fresh-caught from Superior, and the patio is a lovely place to watch the moon rise over the harbor. Pack a sweater for the chilly evening breeze off the lake. 408 W Hwy 61, Grand Marais, MN, 55604

Centro Is Opening a Divey New Bar in Northeast Minneapolis

A Quiet Breakfast Burrito Revolution Has Started in Richfield

Is Slice Brothers Building the Twin Cities’ Next Pizza Empire?