Here are the North Shore restaurants and dining establishments. Coffee shops, cafés, historic dining rooms, handcrafted menus, fresh Lake Superior fish, smokehouses, donuts, ribs, pies, taprooms, and pizza. The shore has it all, especially from Memorial Day through late-October. After that some places, close and most reduce their hours, so call ahead first.
So where should you eat? That depends on what you like. To make it easier, I’ve listed every place you can eat or buy food to go.
Following the ‘when in Rome’ theorem, try some smoked or fresh fish. The two main fish caught and served on the North Shore are herring and trout. Herring is very mild and optimally eaten fresh either broiled or fried, and is also smoked. Trout is a bigger fish and has a bit more fat, so you want to grill or bake it. That bit of fat is also what makes it so delicious when smoked; the fat is smoked out, but keeps the fish moist and delicious. Tip: pop your smoked fish in the oven at 350 for 20 minutes, just to warm it through. It tastes like it just came out of the smoker. During a very short window in early May, look for a smelt fry / special. Light and delicate, barely dropped in the oil, these 4″ beauties are tasty.
More than 75% of eateries along the North Shore are open, with about a quarter of those offering indoor dining, but less than half can accommodate outdoor diners if it is raining/inclement weather. Some offer outdoor/patio dining, and all offer takeout. All have limited hours and limited menus, many are offering takeout pizza, too.
TIP: bring a sun hat, bug dope, wet wipes, hand sanitizer, toilet paper, and a trash bag in case picnic area receptacles are overflowing – this will minimize trash and will not bring wild animals and rodents in to eat.If you take your to go order to a park or the beach or public picnic tables, plan on bringing the trash back to your lodging/home with you as the containers fill fast. Setting trash near a receptacle causes a problem when the wind blows and the critters arrive.
Some restaurants have bathrooms available, some do not. Some have a porta-potty. Plan accordingly.