Eating on the Iron Range — Fabulous food, delightful digs
Plenty of Iron Range restaurants deliver great food to your table. Be prepared for a variety of tastes, ethnicities, and some real creative cuisine. Iron Rangers are too picky to settle for mediocre when it comes to food. Expect to be surprised…and pleased! Each of these venues has an eye toward pleasing the modern palate, not only with food, but through events like special multi-course date nights, live acoustic music, food and wine pairings/tastings, create-and-dine nights, brunch, and of course, daily specials. See a list of regional restaurants with information about takeout and delivery!
The Whistling Bird, Gilbert, MN
Step through the doors of an unassuming building on Gilbert’s main street and into a tropical oasis offering upscale Caribbean cuisine. Owned by local restaurateurs Jessica and Erik Leitz of the BoomTown chain, Whistling Bird pairs fine dining with whimsical décor and reggae music playing quietly over the din of the dining room. You’ll feel like you’re at an island resort with dishes like jerked chicken paired with subtly sweet coconut rice and beans, lamb curry, and seared ahi tuna. Don’t skip out on the colorful tropical drinks like the Planters Rum Punch or share the adventurous Flaming Volcano Bowl with a date.
Boomtown Brewery & Woodfire Grill, Eveleth & Hibbing, MN
Over in Eveleth’s BoomTown, enjoy comfort food with a twist, complemented by a rich and delicious wine, beer and drinks menu. Completely remodeled for that classic chop house feel. Looking for a local brew? Boomtown Brewery and Woodfire Grill in Hibbing has you covered with ales, porters, pilsners, and more, plus outdoor dining and a great menu!
Vi’s Pizza, Biwabik, MN
Specialty pizzas and cozy cabin vibes attract everyone from locals, to tourists, to snow bunnies from the nearby Giants Ridge Ski Resort. While Vi’s has a large selection of tasty appetizers, soups, salads, and sandwiches, their pizza steals the show. The massive pies are cut into squares—triangles couldn’t hold the amount of ingredients piled on to each slice. Try unique combinations like “Northern Exposure” for the true north woods experience or “Hotsy Potsy” for the spice-lovers. You can cool off with a cold one from the well equipped bar.
Natural Harvest Food Co-op
The rotating menu of healthy and inventive dishes at the local co-op make it a must-visit. Build your own salad at the salad bar, grab a sandwich and smoothie at the deli counter, or scoop up a featured dish at the hot bar. A rarity on the Iron Range, the menu offers a variety of options for vegetarians and vegans, especially if you stop by on “Meatless Mondays” for the featured hot bar dish. But fear not, carnivores! There are plenty of meaty options for you each day, including keto-friendly days. Did we mention that once a month you can chow down for just $4 a plate at the coop’s community dinners? Enjoy breakfast, lunch, or dinner with views of Silver Lake, and pick up some groceries without making a second trip!
Thirsty Moose, Hibbing, MN
Don’t skip over this hole-in-the-wall bar and grill standing alone on highway 37, a few miles from the Hibbing Airport. Despite the remote location, the parking lot is always packed and there’s no question why: amazing wings, burgers, pizza, and service. The menu has 33 flavors of award-winning wings that are a perfect combo of crispy and saucy. If you’re looking for a deal, stop by on Tuesday for a $2 burger basket or Thursday for $2 off wings. In addition to the phenomenal eats, the waitstaff is friendly, attentive, and will make sure you always have a frosted mug of beer in hand.
Rustic Pig, Minnesota Discovery Center, Chisholm, MN
If you’re looking to impress, the Rustic Pig just might be the perfect date spot. After a brief hiatus, the restaurant is set to open in April 2020 under the direction of Chef Mitch Kerfeld, owner and chef of Northern Divide. A Valentine’s preview menu demonstrated Kerfeld’s skill and ability to please all palates. Hearty mains included garlic butter steaks and massive smoked cornish game hens. Thoughtful touches like microgreen garnishes on the butternut squash soup and pomegranate rosemary cocktails with beet syrup elevated the menu. We can’t wait to see what will be served on the seasonally changing menu. After a satisfying meal, guests are encouraged to explore the Minnesota Discovery Center, where the restaurant is located. With dinner AND a date activity, you can’t go wrong dining at the Rustic Pig.
The Hive – This hip and eclectic coffee shop in Aurora offers coffee roasted in-house, delicious sandwiches, and drool-worthy baked goods. It’s the perfect spot to grab brunch with friends or treat yourself to a specialty coffee drink. Their smoothie selection and vegetarian meal options are great for the health-conscious, but make sure you splurge and try the rotating selection of homemade cupcakes, turnovers, muffins, and cookies from the bakery case.
Stop by Canelake’s Candies to fill-up on equal parts sugar and nostalgia. The main counter features homemade treats—an endless array of truffles, toffee, fudge, caramel apples, chocolate covered fruit—all made using recipes and techniques passed down from 1905 when the Canelake family first opened their doors. Glass jars line the shelves, holding brightly colored mix and match hard candies, gummies, and taffy. The soda fountain at the back of the shop belongs in a 1950s movie set. Grab a seat at the red vinyl barstools and enjoy a soda, ice cream sundae, or hand dipped ice cream bar.
Sugar Shack just opened in November, but this Thunderbird Mall gem has already become a go-to spot for sugar fanatics. Owner Erin Powell serves up delicious classics like peanut butter cookies and coffee cake, alongside inventive creations like Girl Scout cookie cupcakes and edible cookie dough—you’ll feel like you’re licking the mixing bowl, without any of the work!
Pep’s Bake Shop
Pep’s Bake Shop– This family-owned bakeshop has something for everyone. Grab a seat at the lunch counter and enjoy a malt or browse the bakery case filled with handmade treats: bars, donuts, cookies, and potica (pronounced po-teet-sah)—a sweet walnut bread from Eastern Europe that is an Iron Range staple. Speaking of staples, you’re almost certain to enjoy a custom Pep’s cake if you attend an Iron Range wedding, graduation party, or really any gathering!
More Sweet Spots!
Pick a grill, bar, coffee shop, restaurant, sweet shop or bakery from this list and refuel for more fun! Sunrise Bakery – Known for the eastern European specialty potica, a rolled phyllo-style dough stuffed with nuts and spices. Features a full espresso bar and made from scratch menu. Black Bear Bakery – All manner of baked goods plus sandwiches, outdoor seating on Chisholm’s Lake Street. Nearby Valentini’s Supper Club offers authentic Italian dishes plus American fare for lunch or dinner. In Hibbing, our favorites include JJ’s Coffee N Cream, Sammy’s Pizza and the Sportsman’s. In Virginia, Kunnari’s Kitchen and Farm Market is a must-stop for coffee, goodies, lunch and shopping! Find a list of all our one-of-a-kind restaurants here.