Outdoor dining season is upon us, and it’s different—but there are places worth a few extra miles of driving. Here are some top Minnesota restaurants providing pandemic patio options. These four spots all provide top-notch beverages and food for you, and a welcoming atmosphere. As always, check online for updates, and bring a mask.
7 Vines Vineyard
This winery’s picturesque fields of vines, framed in forest, can’t help but transport you. With reasonably priced bottles, a well-paired menu of flatbreads, signature dishes tailored to the wine, and desserts, everything’s ready for an afternoon or evening of bliss. 101 MN-96, Dellwood (More winery road trip ideas here.)
Now in its 60th year, this seasonal road-trip standby serves up hand-pattied burgers, homemade onion rings, and extra-thick shakes in flavors like blackberry and hot fudge. Due to COVID-19, the restaurant has revived carhop service. 415 Sunnyside Dr., Cloquet
Minnetonka Drive In
Right off the Dakota Trail is a piece of undisturbed Americana. Carhops deliver diner classics, and Thursday nights are a parade of big-bodied vintage cars. The drive-in brews its own root beer, and kids under 5 drink it for free. 4658 Shoreline Dr., Spring Park
This northern lake lodge rises out of the wilderness with a stellar deck view of Poplar Lake. You don’t have to be a guest in one of the cabins to enjoy a feast of creative bar fare—but it makes for a short walk home after a night of stellar cocktails.
For even more local outdoor dining, including some out-of-town restaurants, check out Top Outdoor Dining Restaurants 2020: Jason DeRusha’s Picks. Plus, try these dog-friendly patio dining options.