Rustic Inn Cafe in Castle Danger, MN

Eric Faust / Heavy Table

Leaves are beginning to turn and Highway 61 is reminding us that it’s one of the most beautiful drives in the state. Vistas of the lake combined with the yellows and reds of the Superior National Forest can only be enhanced with a home-cooked meal from a northern Minnesota roadside stop like the Rustic Inn Cafe in Castle Danger.

The gravel parking lot is packed this time of year with tourists and locals eager for a hearty meal on the edge of the North Shore. The cuisine is northern Minnesota favorites like walleye cakes, walleye sandwiches, shepherd’s pie, open-faced sandwiches, and meatloaf. It is comfort food with a side of something deep-fried.

The hot beef ($9) is a house and customer favorite. Warm shredded roast beef is served over a thick slice of bread with a side of mashed potatoes. A blanket of brown gravy covers everything leaving the diner with a blind starting point. The meal is warm and salty, the perfect complement to an ice cold beer.

Eric Faust / Heavy Table

The onion rings ($7) come stacked high and served with a knife because they are so large. Thick and crunchy, some even have multiple rings of onion in the center, making them a hearty appetizer or a light lunch.

Eric Faust / Heavy Table

The consensus at the bar is that the Rustic Inn Cafe has better pie than the famous Betty’s Pies. With over twenty choices that include fruit pies, cream pies, and custard pies, there is little that can go wrong. Warm and falling apart, the North Shore berry ($4.29) is a harmony of apple, strawberry, rhubarb, and blueberry. If you are too full for pie after a meal like the hot beef, you can always find the Rustic Inn Pies at the Whole Foods Co-op in Duluth.

North of Two Harbors there is not much to choose from, but between Betty’s Pies and the Loon Cafe in Beaver Bay, the Rustic Inn Cafe in Castle Danger is a stop worth making.

BEST BET: The ooey-gooey apple caramel pecan pie is a dessert explosion that must be seen and tasted to be fully believed.

Eric Faust / Heavy Table

Rustic Inn Cafe

2773 Minnesota 61
Castle Danger, MN 55616
Daily 8am-8pm
Sullivan Family


  1. Carolyn

    They have delicious breakfasts too! We stayed at a cabin less than a mile from the Rustic Inn Cafe…and it was dangerous because we wanted to eat there every day!

    Don’t forget the Lemon Wolf Cafe in Beaver Bay either…their hot beef (and turkey) sandwiches were to DIE for. Plus they had the best coconut cream pie in the North Shore.

    Dammit…now I’m hungry.

  2. Terry of Duluth

    Rustic Inn has many great sandwiches and salads and I’m glad the reviewer mentioned the great pies. I have concur with Carolyn about the Lemon Wolf Cafe in Beaver Bay. We always go there for their excellent fish – from freshly caught Lake Superior lake trout and herring to local walleye. Order the Lighthouse Salad with walleye for a fantastic meal.

  3. Josie

    We stopped on our way home Sunday night & were glad we did. Great comfort food (I had roast beef, husband had walleye, son had spaghetti), reasonable prices, delicious pie, friendly service. We’ll be back…

  4. Kathy

    The food at Rustic Inn is fabulous and the pies scrumptious!!! It is always a main stop whenever we go up north. Just had their Roast beef dinner and two pieces of pie. Yummy!!!!

  5. Paula Mangan

    If possible, I would like a list (and cost) of the pies offered at the Rustic Inn. My daughter will be getting married in Schroeder Oct 12, and is wanting to have pie rather than cake at her reception. Thank you. Sincerely, P Mangan

  6. Pat & Joe

    We send many of our Superior Gateway Lodge guests to Rustic Inn and they always have good things to say about the restaurant. We like it too :).

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