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Last Minute Help for Minnesota Trip

I am flying from Atlanta to "Izatys Resort
40005 85th Ave. · Onamia, MN" near Mille Lacs. Is there anything that is can't miss out there?

Thanks tons from a grateful Southerner

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  1. How much time will you be in the city? If you're heading straight from the airport out of town, what time of day? My advice would vary greatly based on those parameters.

    The northern route up to Mille Lacs is pretty brutal as far as chow goes. I'd enjoy as much around town as possible and/or highly recommend you pick up some provisions to bring with you. Either the wine/cheese/sausage ilk (quick stop in Surdyks (www.surdyks.com) and Kramarczuk's, right by one another) or a swing through our new Midtown Global Market (Lake Street east of 35W) on your way through town for a huge variety of eats. Or, if it's morning, pop into one of our great bakeries convenient to I-35W. Rustica (www.rusticabakery.com) is my usual stop on my way north or NW out of town). Franklin St. Bakery is good too (www.franklinstreetbakery.com).

    If you're thinking more sit-down, that would be a different story. Let us know.

    2 Replies
    1. re: MSPD

      I am landing and leaving for the great north. My brother lives in St. Paul and we have eaten around the cities a few times and had a great time. I love the fresh market. On this trip I am looking for any finds out in the hinterlands.

      1. re: jgschiff

        Gotcha. Well, hopefully someone will chime in -- my experience on Highway 169 from the north end of town clear up to Lake Mille Lacs has been that of a chow wasteland. But I haven't been up that way in two years.

        All the places I mentioned above are good for stocking up for the trip. Good luck.

    2. I agree with jgshiff above - you're going to be pretty desparate for chow on the route to Mille Lacs. Talk your brother into swinging into Surdyk's cheese shop (for great everything - best selection of cheese in the state; olives, salamis, bread, crackers, etc); surdyk's wine shop (for the obvious) and kramaczuk's (brats and buns at a minimum; they have great selection of italian salamis too).
      I'd stock up and take it all with you - or brace yourself for a dire situation.
      Still, weather is perfect so have fun.

      1. My favorite thing about vacations like this is the shore lunch. Catch some nice walleye, go to shore, clean and fry them up.

        I'm not a big walleye fan but out of the water and into the frying pan it can't be beat.

        1. The Casino on the West side of Mille Lacs has pretty good food , both restaurant and buffet. Short drive from the resort. The small cafes and restaurants in the area open/close/change owners and frequently change quality. I used to have a lake place 7 miles East of Mille Lacs so I would drive home 35 W and hit the sister casino in Hinkley. Most of the food for our weekend trips was home made or bbq.

          5 Replies
          1. re: stevieBcanyon

            Was the casino experience recent? I was snowed in there for a couple of nights almost two years ago and couldn't easily leave the premises for meals. It was hell on earth chow-wise.

            Hopefully they've improved otherwise I'd say stay away. Far, far away. The buffet was especially bad.

            1. re: MSPD

              Been there in the past 6 months and was pleased.

              Here is a link so a person can check out the menus.

              http://www.grandcasinomn.com/Home/Gra...

              1. re: stevieBcanyon

                Thanks for the update. Good to know!

                1. re: stevieBcanyon

                  I ate at the Hinckley Grand Casino buffet last Friday night. It was nothing special and over priced for something on par with Old Country Buffet.

                  1. re: Davydd

                    I agree that it's nothing special but never thought it was particularly expensive. I guess a casino buffet is a casino buffet, some slightly better than others. The suggestion to jgshiff was made because he was going to Izatys and looking for a "can't miss" place. You and I know there isn't one within 50 miles of Izatys or Hinkley. Others suggested different avenues for eating reasonably well (albiet slightly off the OP's original question) . My choice at the casinos would be one of the medium quality restaurants with 10-15.00 entrees but avoiding the "high buck" steak house venues charging up to 45.00 per entre while avoiding the casino's fast food cafes. Just my opinion. Out of curiosity, what would you suggest as a reasonable place to eat in the area of Izatys?

            2. Alright, I am back from the trip. Foodwise it was pretty tough out there.

              Highlights include K-Bob's in Princeton. It is a 40+ year old family run diner. Good pancakes and "smokies" breakfast links. Just think a very narrow and long hotdot with lots of smoke flavor and salt. It was new and different to say the least.

              Happy's Family fast food joint. Great playground for the little kids (not mine) and pretty decent standard "local fast food." The stand outs were the onion rings and the "ruben bites" which were small balls of "ruben" battered and fried. They are then dipped in russian dressing. To tell you the truth they were pretty addicting. The standout here was actually the homemade desserts. The place doubles as an ice cream stand and they made some great "novelty on a stick" type frozen desserts including a fantastic "smore."

              Doyles "Pizza Plus" is the smallest pizza joint ever but would be worth the drive if you are in the area. Ths is a one man shop with a counter and 2 tables. Address is "Main Street Onamia, MN." Great whole wheat and honey hand rolled crust that was bready but pretty thin. Not like any other crust I have ever had. Good pizza cheese and all local produce toppings that are mostly organic. The locals were dropping off fresh produce when we were there including some great looking organic spinach. We (4) split the x-large veggie (15") which was topped with carrots, broccoli, red cabbage, cauliflower, olives, tomato, and whatever else he had fresh. The pizza is cut into irregular squarish pieces (about 15-20 total) and a vinegar based sauce and honey are provided for dipping. Not traditional in any way but I would go back for sure.

              Local produce was good (good corn) and we grilled every night except for when we caught some perch and walleye's which were pan fried.

              The meat was great (suprise suprise) and we shopped at "Meat on Mille Lacs," 100 Pony Farm Road, Onamia, MN, several times. Good brats, fantastic skin on weiners and nice pork. Large selection of different sauces and preserves although the locally branded ones are made in another state by a private processer. If you go you need to pick up the price flyer which has all the costs for processing game (including road kill deer for 125$) and the prices for the "bundles" which could include a whole half cow, 1/2 hog, 22lbs of breakfast meat, etc. Good looking stuff for the fall shopper who will be buried by snow for the winter.

              All in all it was good for what it was. The lake is beautiful and Izaty's is the nicest place around. If I lived in the Twin cities I would consider buying a place up there but i would bring most of my own food.