The Alexandria Chain of Lakes Part I:  Best Places to Eat


sunset on lake

As soon as the Minnesota snow melts and the grass greens up — my family is itching to experience the Land of 10,000 Lakes. It is here where kids learn to water-ski, families play board games around weathered wooden tables, friends reminisce and sing around campfires and life long memories are made.

Food is always a part of the conversation … from grilling on the deck, frying fish and assembling BLTs to boiling sweet corn, smoking meats and spooning up yummy summer side dishes. But, sometimes our food memories are made eating out and my family has it’s favorite spots when staying at our cabin on Lake Carlos, located on the Alexandria Chain of Lakes. From small-town-home cooked meals, baked goods and funky pizza to surf ‘n turf, local greens and fresh burgers, here are my recommendations if you find yourself vacationing on the chain near Alexandria, Minnesota.

My Family’s Favorites 

With Water Views

lake sunset

Arrowwood Resort Deck Bar
2100 Arrowwood Ln. NW, Alexandria, MN 56308 // (320) 762-1124
Tie up your boat dockside (gas sold onsite) or grab a parking spot to enjoy a casual lunch or dinner with a great view of Lake Darling. You can bump, set and spike while you’re waiting for your meal! Pick from tasty poolside appetizers, the grill, sandwiches, and wraps.

Lake Carlos General Store
9490 S Park Dr NE, Carlos, MN 56319 // (320) 852.7575
Satisfy your ice cream cravings while re-stashing your s’mores fixings, bags of ice and cold ice tea and sodas. This general store, located on Lake Carlos (near the Lake Carlos State Park), also sells gas on the water.

The Lure 
2800 N. Nokomis St. NE, Alexandria, Minnesota
Opens spring 2019 — this year-round casual lakeside restaurant and bar on the shores of Lake Le Homme Dieu offers midwest comfort food to coastal cuisine. A must see this year for lunch or dinner – and its next door to Zorbaz!

2710 N Nokomis St. NE, Alexandria, MN 56308 // (320) 219-7813
Come by boat, car or foot to this lively, family-friendly pizza joint with Mexican dishes on Lake Le Homme Dieu. With quick service, hot food, refreshing margaritas and plenty of tap beer — enjoy lunch or dinner while playing shuffleboard, volleyball or arcade games.

Breakfast Joints

pancakes with berries

Herby’s Bar Grill & Cafe
11 Main Ave, Carlos, MN 56319 // (320) 852-7170
Famous for its big-as-manhole-cover pancakes and made-fresh-daily biscuits and gravy, Herby’s diner is perfect for families. Just miles from the Chain of Lakes, breakfast portions are plenty big and its atmosphere is laid back.

Jan’s Place
612 3rd Ave. W, Alexandria, MN 56308 // (320) 763-3877
Open 8 a.m.-1 p.m., this breakfast spot (also serves lunch) is a tourist favorite. Known for its homemade food and friendly small-town service, Jan’s Place is just a short drive from the Chain of Lakes.

Northwoods Cafe
903 3rd Ave. E, Alexandria, MN 56308 // (320) 763-3700
A personal favorite, this family-friendly, and cozy breakfast diner is open 5 a.m.-2 p.m., Monday-Saturday and 7 a.m. – 2 p.m., Sunday. Its located just miles from the water and its made-from-scratch food is oh, so yummy.

Travelers Inn Cafe
511 Broadway, Alexandria, Minnesota 56308 // (320) 763-4000
Known for its breakfast (a favorite by many!), this downtown mainstay offers home-cookin’ with an unforgettable menu all day long. Be sure to add its famous caramel and cinnamon rolls to your order and you’ll leave happy!

Casual Eateries

hamburger and fries

Garden Bar
115 6th Ave E, Alexandria, MN 56308 // (320) 759-2277
Serving health-conscious fare including custom salads, sandwiches, flatbreads, gyros, entrees and more — this full-service restaurant is all about fresh, healthy food and live music.

Herby’s Bar Grill & Cafe
11 Main Ave, Carlos, MN 56319 // (320) 852-7170
This classic small-town restaurant/bar won’t disappoint with its homemade broasted chicken, soups and salad bar. Fresh beef is sourced from Klinder Processing and the burgers are grilled to perfection. Its space accommodates large groups and families well and we love their carry-out service when we want homemade food but don’t want to make it!

Nice Juicery
203 6th Ave E, Alexandria, MN 56308 //  (320) 219-7848
Central Minnesota’s first cold-pressed juice company offers 10+ juices using your favorite fruits and veggies with nutrients galore. Pair your juice with a toast or smoothie bowl (the Diego bowl is a kid favorite!) and walk away feeling full, refreshed and healthy.

Rappers Eatery & Ale
506 Broadway St, Alexandria, MN 56308 // (320) 763-2337
Located in the heart of historic downtown Alexandria, Minnesota — this household name is a go-to for signature delights, gourmet burgers, pasta, and quesadillas – the food is so good! Grab a seat in the dining room, backyard pub or patio and play a game of pool, shuffleboard, darts or foosball while you’re waiting.

Dinner Restaurants

bbq ribs

Angelina’s Restaurant & Bar
1215 State Hwy. 29 N, Alexandria, MN 56308 // (320) 762-1324
Famous for its fabulous garlic toast, salads, and Italian dishes, this place also has happy hour specials and yummy brick-oven pizzas and burgers. Its a spacious spot for large groups — just make reservations.

Corral Saloon & Eatery
117 N Nelson St., Nelson, MN 56355 // (320) 762-2416
Awarded for its ribs and BBQ, Corral Saloon & Eatery is a drive from the chain, but worth it if you’re craving its popular chicken, ribs and salad bar. Its also famed for starting “Shoot the Minnow” if you’re into taking shots of small fish. 

Interlachen Inn
4960 County Rd. 42 NE, Alexandria, MN 56308 // (320) 846-1051
A local favorite — this restaurant is known for its hand-cut and aged steaks, pan-fried walleye, green olive burgers, homemade chips, bloody Mary’s and ice cream drinks. Its old charm steakhouse vibe meets casual because well, it’s near the water! Reservations encouraged.

Here are more local dining options if you’re looking to eat out while on vacation in Alexandria, MN. Where are some of your favorite spots in the Alexandria-area?