Twin Cities Mom Collective

Lakes for Days: Lakeside Dining Destinations

My all time favorite memory from childhood is spending long summer days at the community pool in the small town where I grew up. I would set off on my bike in the morning, pick up a few friends along the way, and end up feeling pure bliss when my toes first dipped into the cool water. If I was lucky, my mom would give me a few dollars to spend at the concession stand during pool breaks. We’d swim all afternoon…and when that whistle blew at 5:00, everyone in the pool would make a beeline for the little snack shack. I don’t know what it is about swimming – perhaps just the right combination of heat and water – but it usually works up an appetite unlike anything else.

Back then, the fare was not sophisticated. I was a kid, so I didn’t think much about the food, but I do remember standing in line at the concession stand and spending my {parents’} hard-earned money, buying treats for new friends I met in the deep end hours earlier. I remember the smell of cotton candy, the silly jokes on Laffy Taffy wrappers, and how it felt like you hit the jackpot to share a pop and popcorn with friends in the sultry summer heat.

I’m all grown up now and still have a profound love of any activity that takes place on or near the water. Whether it’s the water slides at a modern waterpark, a leisure stroll around the lake, or my new favorite: stand-up paddle boarding, I want to be near water in the summer. So I gravitate towards the natural beauty of a lake with sandy beach borders and tall green trees blooming in the distance. But my tastes have also matured, and a little ol’ concession stand just doesn’t have the same appeal anymore. The only thing that could make this idyllic scene more enticing? A full-service lakeside restaurant with upscale food and beverage offerings.

Twin Cities lakeside dining destinations

For several years now we’ve been enjoying Bread and Pickle when we are in the Lake Harriet neighborhood

Lakeside Dining Destinations | Twin Cities Moms Blog

I don’t think there is a more picturesque place

Lakeside Dining Destinations | Twin Cities Moms Blog

to dine on Philly cheese steak and all-natural beef dogs

Lakeside Dining Destinations | Twin Cities Moms Blog

and watch the ducks eat your leftovers

ducks in the lake

If a sandy beach is more your style, then sail on over to the new Painted Turtle on Lake Nokomis set to open this summer! On the menu is made-from-scratch fare, ice cream, local beers, and snacks. I can’t wait to try it out this summer! Nothing sounds better than an ice cream while overlooking the wavy blue waters.

Lakeside Dining Destinations

And if you want to enjoy live music, Dock & Paddle is the perfect place.

Dock and Paddle

It brings a taste of the Louisiana French Quarter to St. Paul’s iconic Como Lake

Como Lake Dining

where you can dine on Cajun eats inside the Pavilion or grab a table on the spacious outdoor terrace

Como Lake Dining

Come for the calming serenity of the water and stay for the tasty eats…whilst filling your memory bank with sweet moments shared with those you love. These summer days are the best days, the days you will look back on with nostalgia and smile.

This post is part of our Lakes for Days Series. Read more posts from this series HERE.

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1 comment

Kim July 14, 2015 at 9:16 AM

Karri, thanks for the Bread & Pickle mention! Since we are trying to serve heathier-than-the-regular fare food, it’s nice to get noticed by a dietician! Please, though, don’t feed the ducks, they can’t digest that popcorn. The parks people used to have a sign up but not sure what happened to that…


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