The Pie Place feels as welcoming as any Main Street cafe, but its artsy vibe is pure Grand Marais. Even basic menu items entail extra flair: Hummingbird and bear cutouts garnish the pies, burgers feature house-smoked cheddar, and pecan-smoked bacon tops the croissant buns. Northern ingredients permeate many of the items, such as maple turkey wild rice salad with cranberries and orange-honey vinaigrette, panko-crusted walleye over wild rice, and raspberry-rhubarb streusel pie. Chicken salad dressed with orange mayonnaise comes on cranberry wild rice bread, and the hearty voyageur breakfast fuels you up for a day of paddling with pancakes, eggs, sweet sausage patties and cheesy potatoes with a crunchy topping.
Our favorite savory breakfast entree adds wild rice and roasted tomatoes to a bacon, mushroom and cheese omelet, all drizzled with a blue cheese dressing. (A side order of the nearly candied maple-glazed sausage is a must.) The quirkiest surprise? An unexpectedly delicious creamy radish-dill soup that’s so beloved that it’s a menu standard. Pie enthusiasts will find at least nine from-scratch traditional and creative varieties daily, perhaps blueberry-sour cherry or rustic foldover apple with walnuts and cardamom.
If the artistry of the pies seems impressive, be sure to take notice of the walls. The landscape photos, bright paintings of bears and moose, basket weavings and pastels are all made by the group of owners who banded together to open the Pie Place more than 15 years ago.