During your visit to the Gull Lake area of Central Minnesota, you’ll likely enjoy countless amenities the area has to offer – the lake, golf, shopping, nature, and of course EATING! Our serene corner of the world is dotted not only by lakes and trees but also some terrific dining spots sure to please any palate.
Sometimes vacationers have a hard time finding good places to eat. After all, the locals tend to want to keep the best spots to themselves. But we’re here to make your visit all that it can be, and that includes sharing this list of our favorite Gull Lake restaurants.
Chances are you’ve not seen anything quite like Zorbaz, the local pizza and Mexican joint. The food is the traditional burrito-pizza-nacho fare served up in a backdrop of loud visual design. Zorbaz has a string of lakeside eateries throughout the state, and the one on Gull Lake has a roomy patio for al fresco dining. Inside, two levels separate the families from the later night crowd.
Claiming the lake area’s best beer selection, Zorbaz whips up homemade pizza dough and salsa on the daily. You can arrive by car, boat, snowmobile or float plane, and there’s always games for kids of all ages. Lunches are served fast and hot, and dinners are relaxed and tasty. Zorbaz knows how to please a crowd, as there’s always a special event, including happy hours, dance parties, trivia, and live music.
If you fall in love with the place and want to check out all 11 locations, be sure to grab your Zorbaz Tour Passport for a sweet prize once you’ve completed the quest. Don’t miss Zorbaz – pizza, Mexican, Minnezotan!
Cowboy’s calls itself a family restaurant and watering hole. Since 2011, they’ve been serving customers fantastic food and beverage choices in a friendly, inviting atmosphere. If you like something a bit different and not on the main drag, Cowboy’s is a great choice – all three meals a day.
Named by Expedia as one of Minnesota’s best places to escape, Cowboy’s is not far from Brainerd, and the drive to Lakeshore on Hwy 371 provides an amazing view of Gull Lake. Past diners have highly recommended Cowboy’s apple fritter French toast, fish sandwich (any of them!), and hamburger with egg. Cowboy’s offers a kids menu, weekly specials, and menu items that cater to special dietary needs.
BAR HARBOR SUPPER CLUB
Bar Harbor is committed to providing the best customer service experience possible. Whether you enjoy one of their Certified Angus Beef products such as the filet mignon, or if you are just stopping in for a drink or two at happy hour, the staff is focused on doing everything possible to ensure you have the best experience.
With legendary beginnings as a casino in 1938, Bar Harbor has a long and sorted history that includes a winter-storm roof collapse in the 1940s and an arson fire in the 1960s. It evolved over the years from a hot spot for Minnesota minors to a dinner and dancing destination for locals. Then in 2012, the restaurant underwent a full makeover with a new focus on high-quality food and service. Though the facility itself has undergone many changes, the commitment to the residents of the Brainerd area has continued for decades.
With steady year-round business, Bar Harbor is perched on the shore of Gull Lake, and the “charcoal fine dining” makes it a popular summer resident hangout. There’s usually entertainment on summer weekends, and wine aficionados can enjoy their own bottles or sample from the onsite wine cellar selection.
If you’re looking for a family restaurant with excellent food as well as great service, then Ganley’s Restaurant is the place. Offering a wide assortment of tasty foods, including various dinner specials, hamburgers, sandwiches, salads, ice cream cones, floats, and malts, Ganley’s also features an assortment of candies, fresh baked pies, caramel rolls and muffins.
Located on the corner of Main St. and Hwy 371 in the heart of Nisswa, Ganley’s is close to all the town’s wonderful shops and attractions. Come for breakfast and shop for the rest of the day. Ganley’s serves breakfast all day for those late risers. Enjoy sidewalk dining on Gull Lake’s beautiful warm summer days. And if you want some physical exercise, the restaurant is only a few steps from the famous Paul Bunyan Trail with its scenic beauty suitable for hiking, biking, and (in winter) snowmobiling.
MAIN STREET ALE HOUSE
Also located in historic downtown Nisswa, Main Street Ale House is a spot to enjoy authentic dining, 30 tap beers, wine, spirits and much more! This unique dining experience can be followed by a stroll up and down the boardwalk to visit the boutique shops Nisswa is known for. Open beginning at 11 a.m. (or 10 a.m. for Sunday brunch), Main Street boasts gourmet creations designed by renowned local chef Paul Fitzpatrick, who grew up in the Gull Lake area and attended the Art Institute International in culinary studies.
Start with a signature cocktail (cheers to the Main Street Mule and Cucumber Breeze!) and delicious appetizer like the Chicken Curry Meatballs or Grilled Octopus. Then move to one of the scrumptious burgers, sandwiches, tacos or salads. Main Street entrée highlights include the Jambalaya, Walleye, and Roasted Confit Duck. And be sure to save room for the famous Cast Iron Cookie!
ERNIE’S ON GULL
A visit to Gull Lake just wouldn’t be complete without a visit to Ernie’s on Gull located on the southeast side of Gull Lake. Offering lunch and dinner in a perfect lakeside setting, Ernie’s has patio seating that is almost on top of the lake, with 10-mile views across the water.
Started by Finnish immigrant and carpenter Ernie Ritari in the early 1900s, the property was founded in a long tradition of family hospitality. Formerly known as Ron’s Steak House, Ron’s on Squaw Point, and the Butcher Block, Ernie’s came back to its roots under the management of Brainerd locals, Chris and Mike Foy. The Foy brothers spent their childhood around East Gull Lake, frequenting the restaurant, which now strives to provide a fun, personalized dining experience.
Now with two venues on Ernie’s property – the beloved Ernie’s on Gull and the new On Point Burger Company – Executive Chef Tower Kruse and his expert culinary team have put together menus that cater to the tastes and trends of today while embracing the items that have been staples here for many years. Ernie’s takes pride in using only top-quality food and the freshest ingredients – from hand-cut Walleye to house made Lobster Bisque, you’ll find a new favorite every time you visit!
ALL FOODIES WELCOME AT GULL LAKE BEACH RESORTS
If you’re looking for a fun, family-friendly place to escape from reality and soak in the great outdoors, Central Minnesota can’t be beat. Located right on Gull Lake’s best beaches, and in the heart of the best adventures nature has to offer, Gull Lake Beach Resorts is ready to host your next exciting vacation getaway. Great dining options won’t be far away!
Don’t forget that many establishments in the area operate on a seasonal schedule, so be sure to confirm the days, hours, and reservation policies before you go. You can call directly or pick up a local “shopper” or weekly newspaper in the area for the latest updates. Contact us today to book your lakeside cabin and begin planning all your fun-filled vacation and dining activities in lakes country.