Perhaps best known as the location of the world-renowned Mayo Clinic, there’s much more to Rochester than the medical scene. When it comes to eating and drinking, there are plenty of vibrant, delicious options to choose from—all just an hour and a half drive from the Twin Cities. While the choices are plentiful, here are some favorite.Read More
Eight Essential Rochester Restaurants
Fresh fish, stacked burgers, tasty tonics, and more
1. Forager Brewery
It wouldn’t be a proper Minnesota lineup if there wasn’t a brewery on the list. The food is seasonal and locally sourced from the region and local farming partners. When eating here, expect, as the name suggests, foraged mushrooms, herbs, flowers, and spices to adorn the dishes. Not much of a beer drinker? Don’t worry, they have wine and spirits, too!
This steak and seafood spot boasts an upscale vibe, but is also open to children. Open for breakfast, brunch (a buffet!), lunch, and dinner throughout the week, Pescara also has happy hour specials that offer a sampling of their seafood-focused menu for a fraction of the cost.
3. Tonic Juice Bar
Tonic was voted the best juice bar once upon a time (2015) by WCCO and has accumulated a number of other accolades such as Rochester Magazine’s recognition of their Pyrohi as the best vegetarian offering in 2016, 2017, and 2018. Whether you’re craving a bite to eat, a refreshing juice, or a smoothie concocted with local ingredients, Tonic is a brightly colored place to stop for a light, healthy bite (or not—they serve peanut butter and banana-stuffed french toast, too).
4. Bitter & Pour
Craft cocktails, craft beer, and wine alongside small places featuring cheese boards and caprese skewers among other offerings, Bitter & Pour has all the style and flair one would expect from its locale in the Merchant Exchange Building on Historic 3rd Street. They don’t take cash or reservations, so come prepared.
5. Twigs Tavern and Grille
Looking to eat gluten-free? Most of the offerings at Twigs Tavern & Grille are gluten-free, so no need to fret about ending up at a place with limited GF options. Especially for those particularly sensitive, an entire section of the kitchen—appliances and all—are used to prep the gluten-free options. When the weather cooperates, Twig’s expansive patio is the place to be.
6. Hot Chip Burger Bar
Complete with creative names like Brooklyn Baby Daddy for all of their burgers, Hot Chip features local lettuce and tomatoes across the board along with fries tossed in umami seasoning. This casual spot also offers spiked shakes for guests looking for a 21+ take on the classic meal combo.
7. 63 Club
Rochester, MN 55904
Travelers who love a good dive bar can’t go to Rochester and not stop by the dollar bill decorated 63 Club. Once inside, expect a couple of TVs with sports on the screens, $2.75 for a rail drink, and $1 bags of popcorn to satisfy any hunger while passing the time playing darts and pull tabs. A local favorite through and through.
8. The Thirsty Belgian
This no-frills spot is perhaps best exemplified by the no-nonsense approach it has taken to declining to work with DoorDash. Committed to keeping it real, the Thirsty Belgian has four taps on continuous rotation alongside the five Belgian beers they serve consistently with Guardians of the Galaxy soundtracks playing in the background. When hunger strikes, order from the menu chock full of comfort bar food like pizza and toasties.