Five favorite restaurants worth the drive

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One of our favorite road trip destinations.
The Hot Dish has been itching for a road trip lately. But unlike the guy who drove 500 miles to eat at Chipotle, we're seeking true destination dining.

Last year, the estimable Bayport BBQ took home our Best Restaurant Worth the Drive honors, but there are certainly several more strong contenders within a couple hundred miles of the metro.

Here are five of our favorite destination restaurants worth programming into your GPS:

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Fisher's website labels this walleye, but it looks an awful lot like chicken, doesn't it?
5. Fisher's Club in Avon
The old-fashioned supper club fare at Fisher's Club in Avon may not look like much (see photo), but its flavors evoke the nostalgic, uncomplicated Lake Wobegon Days--no surprise since Garrison Keillor and a few other investors purchased the place a few years back. Fisher's Club looks like a summer camp mess hall--though one where the counselors are bottle club members who stash their liquor in the wooden lockers--and sits right on the shores of quaint Middle Spunk Lake. The best thing to do is go for a dip and then order the walleye fish fry and a slice of rhubarb pie.

* Staying awhile? For another waterfront view, try Anton's in Waite Park, on the Sauk River, where you can eat your popovers and rib eye steak in a covered wagon booth!

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4. Angry Trout in Grand Marais
One of the state's most sustainability-minded restaurants--the sodas are homemade, the takeout containers reusable, the electricity wind-generated--the Angry Trout highlights homegrown fare. From your Lake Superior-side seat, you can enjoy fish fresh from those waters, plus hand-harvested wild rice and just-picked produce.

* Staying awhile? Hit up the homey, harbor-side Chez Jude where chef Judi Barsness offers such haute Midwestern fare as Lake Superior whitefish en papillote with lobster lemon dill butter.

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Nosh chef/owner Greg Jaworski.
3. Nosh in Lake City
Another annual Best Restaurant Worth the Drive winner, Nosh is a Lake City gem. The menu changes with the seasons and nearly everything is scratch-made, from the sausage to the mustard. Chef-owner Greg Jaworski offers several small plates for "noshing" and likes to pair local produce and proteins with global spices and cooking techniques

* Staying awhile? Hit up Lake Pepin's iconic Harbor View Cafe, the small-town-tavern-come-gastronomic-temple that has lured many a prominent Mayo Clinic patient.

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Peggy Ess
Peggy Ess

Have you tried the Rustic Inn just up the road from Two Harbors?  It's great!

Peggy Ess
Peggy Ess

Have you tried The Rustic Inn just up 61 from Two Harbors?  It's great!

Entity in MN
Entity in MN

Stockholm Pie over Norske Nook?  Guess I will have to give it a shot when I get a chance.  Norske Nook may be twice as far, but it sure is a nice little stop on the way to or from the Dells, Madison, or places beyond.

Rachel Hutton
Rachel Hutton

Totally agree, Peggy! After years of lackluster pies at Betty's, as soon as I discovered the Rustic Inn, it immediately became my no 1. North Shore pie stop. There is a raspberry one with a meringue crust (sounds weird, I know) that is especially good. My no. 2 North Shore pie stop is The Pie Place in Grand Marais. It's on par w/Rustic, but a bit more of a hike to get up there!

Rachel Hutton
Rachel Hutton

Hey Entity,I'm also a big fan of Norske Nook--btw, shout out to my awesome mom and dad for sharing the pie they picked up on the way back from Michigan a few weeks ago! The Nook's pecan cream cheese version is insane; it once caused me to nearly miss the ferry to Stout's Island Lodge!

But definitely give Stockholm a shot next time you're headed downriver and I'd bet you'll be very satisfied.

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