We've talked about a few great places for drinking and dining in the Brainerd Lakes area before, but probably worth a refresher since it's such a popular summer destination.
My favorite supper club is Norway Ridge — a kitschy vibe, but great steak and lobster. For an upscale, elegant meal, the best spot is the wine-focused Cru at Grand View Lodge. For down-home, diner-style fare, there's the Barn, which serves breakfast-all-day and Maid-Rite sandwiches, (a bit like sauce-less Sloppy Joes), or a hamburger with the ground beef crumbled instead of pattied.
If you're headed a little further north, it's worth a stop at the Brauhaus — a traditional German restaurant in Akeley, Minn. They've been around for 30 years and you have to get the Schweine Haxe — a giant roasted ham leg!
For something newer, we talked about a few craft breweries in the area, including Gull Dam in Nisswa, and Jack Pine in Baxter among them. New this spring is Roundhouse Brewery, in the Northern Pacific Center — a collection of historic railroad buildings in downtown Brainerd.