One of the most underrated aspects of a North Shore getaway to Two Harbors, Duluth, and beyond is the culinary scene. While there are several award-winning North Shore restaurants within minutes of Superior Shores Resort that are serving classic Minnesota fare, this beautiful region has evolved into a diverse foodie’s paradise. Yes, we’re known for our pie, smoked salmon, and lakefront dining, but many are surprised to find delectable Irish, Scandinavian, and Thai restaurants in the heart of our growing communities!
The Very Best North Shore Restaurants
The perfect place to start and finish your foodie’s journey along the awe-inspiring North Shore is in Two Harbors, MN, arguably the cutest lakefront town in the state! To ensure that your summer vacation up Lake Superior’s coast is nothing short of flawless, we’ve pieced together a sample two-day itinerary that’s highlighted by our favorite North Shore restaurants.
9 a.m. – Betty’s Pies
After rising with the sun and readying for the day, set your sights on a slice of bumbleberry crunch at Betty’s Pies. Betty’s has been widely regarded as one of the best North Shore restaurants for over 60 years! And although Betty Lessard sadly passed away in 2015, her legacy still lives on here in Two Harbors, MN. We can’t blame you if you’d rather enjoy a slice of award-winning pie instead of a scrumptious breakfast skillet.
10:30 a.m. – Split Rock Lighthouse State Park
Split Rock Lighthouse State Park rests atop a towering cliff along Lake Superior’s edge, just 17 miles north of Betty’s Pies. While you’ll unquestionably want to spend 30 minutes at the base of the lighthouse admiring the panoramic lake views, we suggest trekking down to Pebble Beach and Ellingson Island for some of the prettiest vantage points along the North Shore!
Noon – Gooseberry Falls State Park
Gooseberry Falls State Park, Split Rock’s neighbor, is arguably the top attraction in the state. This ultra-popular park is home to one of the most recognized waterfalls in North America! But you’ll also discover a wide range of easy-to-moderate hiking trails, a rocky beach, and an abundance of wildlife.
1:30 p.m. – New Scenic Café
Luckily for you, Gooseberry is just a short drive from a handful of top-reviewed North Shore restaurants, including the New Scenic Café. While the New Scenic Café is technically in Duluth, MN, it rests in between two quaint, unincorporated villages approximately 13 miles south of Two Harbors, MN. If you’re aiming to savor fresh-caught fish during your well-deserved weekend escape, then look no further than this elegant, lake-view cafe – the miso sea bass and driftless trout are both divine!
3 p.m. – Russ Kendall’s Smoke House
Before returning to Two Harbors, MN, make a pit stop at Russ Kendall’s Smoke House. Purchase a pound (or two) of smoked salmon to enjoy at your leisure. This longstanding, Old Highway 61 fish shop may be a hole-in-the-wall roadside attraction, but my oh my does their sugar-cured silver salmon taste heavenly!
3:30 p.m. – Two Harbors Lighthouse
As we detailed in last year’s Two Harbors blog, our lighthouse remains one of the top hidden gems along the North Shore. While crowds gather at Gooseberry Falls and Split Rock Lighthouse during the afternoon hours, we recommend strolling along the quarter-mile jetty near Two Harbors Lighthouse. This well-maintained, visually-appealing light is the perfect shade of crimson!
4:15 p.m. – Castle Danger Brewery
A trip to the North Shore wouldn’t be complete without a stop at Castle Danger, the top-ranked brewery in Minnesota according to the Star Tribune and Lake Superior Magazine! Depending on the season, we recommend a pint of Ode IPA, George Hunter Stout, 17-7 Pale Ale, and Castle Cream Ale.
5:15 p.m. – Swimming at the Main Lodge
A little underwater cardio and steamy sauna rejuvenation before dinner should be on the docket during your much-needed vacation. The Main Lodge has a sauna, two pools, a kiddie pool, two hot tubs, a gas fire pit, and a cabana bar – the outdoor amenities are seasonal.
6:45 p.m. – Kamloops Restaurant & Lounge
Kamloops Restaurant has an ungraded menu with an eclectic mix of American classics, quintessential Minnesota fare, and gourmet cuisine. Burger lovers can’t resist “The Burlington,” which is topped with pepper jack cheese, bacon, fried onion strings, and our signature sauce. But don’t overlook our broiled walleye, ten-ounce sirloin steak, and smoky blue cheese chicken breast!
8:30 p.m. – Agate beach walk
After a satisfying lake-view dinner, stroll along our private agate beach at dusk. Search for agates, skip rocks, or gather around a complimentary beach campfire.
9:15 p.m. – Hot tub relaxation
The perfect way to cap off an unforgettable day at three of the best North Shore restaurants is with a soothing hot tub soak in your deluxe suite.
9 a.m. – Dovetail Cafe & Marketplace
One of the most unique North Shore restaurants can be found in revitalized Lincoln Park, the fastest growing neighborhood in Duluth. Bent Paddle Brewing Co., OMC Smokehouse, and Dovetail are all within a stone’s throw from each other. Not only does Dovetail bake delicious, homemade quiche, scones, and muffins, but they’re located inside the Duluth Folk School, a unique “handcrafting community.”
10:15 a.m. – Canal Park
While Duluth’s Canal Park is home to several fantastic North Shore restaurants, including Lake Avenue, Canal Park Brewing Company, and Cloud 9, you’ll likely spend most of your time posing for photos next to the Aerial Lift Bridge, watching massive ships arrive or depart, and perusing through a variety of shops. Here are the top five stops in Canal Park:
- Duluth Harbor North Pier Light
- Duluth Pack
- Lake Superior Maritime Visitor Center
- Northern Waters Smokehaus
- SS William A. Irvin
1 p.m. – Fitger’s Brewhouse
Yes, Fitger’s remains one of the oldest (and best) craft breweries in the state, but their classic Minnesotan grub is the main event. This historic Duluth establishment is incredibly busy during the dinner rush, so an early afternoon meal is wise. Their golden, beer-battered fish tacos, wild rice burgers, and hearty Cuban are all spectacular!
2:45 p.m. – Lake Superior Zoo
After purchasing a growler of “The Haze,” swing over to the Lake Superior Zoo to say “hello” to an array of exotic animals. Some of our favorite furry friends at the zoo are the adorable swift foxes, sleepy lynx, and friendly tiger.
4:30 p.m. – Enger Tower
Every day, hundreds of nature lovers visit Duluth’s Enger Tower to obtain sweeping, unobstructed views of the vast North Shore. We recommend a walk along Skyline Parkway if you’re hoping to steer clear of crowds.
5:30 p.m. – Dubh Linn
One of the most unique North Shore restaurants within 30 miles of Superior Shores Resort is Dubh Linn, an Irish brewpub that specializes in housemade beer, authentic Celtic fare, and late-night comedy. Oh, and the shepherd’s pie is out of this world!
6:30 p.m. – Comedy Show
If you’re visiting the North Shore in autumn or winter on a Saturday night, don’t miss the 6:30 comedy show at Dubh Linn. Knee-slapping touring comedians (as well as local acts) perform in front of small groups of patrons inside their banquet room.
9 p.m. – Superior Shores Resort
The late-night possibilities are seemingly endless here at Superior Shores Resort. Guests can savor a pint of local craft beer at Kamloops Restaurant & Lounge, soak inside a steaming hot tub, enjoy a glass of wine at dusk on your private balcony, or watch a movie from the comfort of your suite. We’ve quickly evolved into one of the top-reviewed Lake Superior resorts thanks to our deluxe suites, stunning views, and on-site amenities. To book a well-deserved North Shore escape to Two Harbors, MN, please give us a call today at 800-242-1988.