Top 5 food stops on the Grand Rounds: Chain of Lakes

Categories: The Lists
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The bike that rode the Rounds
After tackling the many byway districts--Victory Memorial & Theo Wirth, Northeast, Downtown Riverfront, Mississippi & Minnehaha--our series on the best biking food stops comes to the final leg. There's still plenty of time to pedal the path and enjoy tasty nearby eateries before the weather turns. Or pick up takeout and stake out a picnic spot. Either way, our suggestions will keep you fueled up and motivated to conquer the Grand Rounds.

Chain of Lakes
The Chain of Lakes byway district includes five lakes and covers 13.3 miles of trails. It starts south of 394 at Brownie Lake, passes Cedar Lake, and then encircles Lake of the Isles, Lake Calhoun and Lake Harriet, ending at Minnehaha Parkway. Hugely popular, this part of the Grand Rounds sees a lot of traffic, especially in the summer and fall. As a result, parts of the path are one way for bike riders, so be aware. Here is our advice on where to break trail and get your eat on.
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1. Cedar Lake

Near 2501 Cedar Lake Parkway
Tucked between residential neighborhoods, Cedar Lake has few nearby restaurants. However, the picnic options are many and beautiful. On the west side of the lake, several scenic spots are just steps from the bike path. From Cedar Point Beach to the Cedar Meadows Wetland there are picnic tables, benches, and ample grassy plots where you can lay out a feast. Need a suggestion of where to get takeout for your al fresco experience? Read on. 

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2. Kenwood Cafe
2115 W. 21st St.
A few blocks west of the north end of Lake of the Isles, this neighborhood cafe has what a cycler needs. A modest deli with sandwiches made to order, delicious coffee drinks, homemade desserts, and ice cream, it provides simple but tasty sustenance. Rotating artwork, a warm, youthful vibe, and proximity to the path all make Kenwood Cafe a good spot to take a break from the bike. A scrumptious frosted brownie or piece of homemade cake at one of their large tables will definitely make the trip better.
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3. The Tin Fish
3000 Calhoun Pkwy
The days are numbered this season for the simply prepared seafood goodness that comes from the Tin Fish on Lake Calhoun at the pavillion near Lake Street. Tacos with freshly flown-in halibut served literally inches from the bike path require nothing but an application of lemon and hot sauce. And, if you're properly grown, feel free to wash it down with a brew, all while taking in the amazing view from the patio.

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4. The View
2730 W. Lake St.
Convenient? Check. Tasty cocktails? Check. Happy hour discounts? Oh yeah. Circle back around the lakes and park yourself at the View in the late afternoon to take advantage of the daily specials. It's casual, but the bar food and drinks are done one better to appeal to the Calhoun Beach Club clientele--perfect for a hungry and thrifty cycler. 

5. Clancey's Meats and Fish
4307 Upton Ave S.
Linden Hills has a high rate of food gems per capita, but what's better for a carnivorous biker than a sandwich from Clancey's? All locally sourced, the roast beef, ham, and meatloaf are favorites, and the soup of the day is often a winner too (We recently had a lovely seafood stew). Sit out front of the shop, or put it in your basket and take it for a hearty picnic. Whatever you do, get there on the early side, as they have a tendency to run out of the Rustica bread used for the sandwiches.

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The view from the Grand Rounds at sunset

Our trip around the Grand Rounds is finished, but the season for biking is still in full swing. We hope to see you out there, whether on a Nice Ride or your old three-speed that's been languishing in the garage. You have at least another month, and you can always save the links to this series for next spring.

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