Our restaurant guide to Clear Lake includes perfect mini-donuts from South Shore Donut Company.

A Restaurant Guide for Clear Lake, Iowa

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Our restaurant guide to Clear Lake, Iowa, includes where to go and what to order at many of the town's most popular and delicious eateries.

Clear Lake, Iowa is a stellar place to visit in the Hawkeye state. Not only does it have a beautiful lake for outdoor activities, but also an arsenal of tasty dining options. Though only in Clear Lake for a couple of days, I experienced some wonderful eats that I couldn’t wait to share with you. Here is my restaurant guide for Clear Lake, Iowa with a little help from my friends. 

Our restaurant guide to Clear Lake includes a delicious Italian meal from Ge-Jo's by the Lake.

Bread & Buttercréme

Starting with the premier eatery in town, Bread and Buttercréme is a culinary hotspot for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and weekend brunch. Whether you are craving Eggs Benedict, Avocado Toast, or tapas plates such as Bruschetta or Poutine, Bread and Buttercréme can meet your needs. A delicious selection of homemade pastries and desserts are on the menu as well as creative cocktails, local craft beers, and a pretty darned good wine list. 

**This restaurant is currently closed and relocating to the Mason City Airport. More details to come. 

Our restaurant guide to Clear Lake includes a delicious brunch from Bread & Buttercreme.
Our restaurant guide to Clear Lake includes a delicious brunch from Bread & Buttercreme.

Half Moon Inn

My friends Ann and Steve of Postcard Jar said this about Half Moon Inn:

“This little joint is a classic steakhouse right out of the 1970’s. From the outside it doesn’t really look like a restaurant, but on the inside the locals enjoying great steaks, well-prepared monkfish, and delicious cocktails let you know that you’ve just found a great restaurant you’ll remember.”

Half Moon Inn is a tasty stop on our Clear Lake restaurant crawl.
Photo by Steve Teget.

K&B Emporium

K&B Emporium is a little eatery inside of a much larger building that also has shopping and a second restaurant upstairs. The eatery serves really good food, as well as gourmet grab & go items and groceries. Choose between lunch items (sandwiches, soup, etc.) or the sweet treats including pastries, cupcakes, cookies, smoothies, and ice cream. Bonus, K&B offers ice cream flights and a retail wine cellar, great for enjoying a wine sampling or a glass of wine with your meal. 

Our restaurant guide to Clear Lake includes a yummy bowl of soup from K&B Emporium.

Anna’s Ballroom

Anna’s Ballroom is the restaurant on the top floor of the K&B Emporium building. Due to fire restrictions on open flames in the building, their menu resolves around  hot rocks/stones (ROK) cooking for guests to grill their own meats. The menu features beef, chicken, pork, and more. This makes for a fun atmosphere and more intimate dining experience. What a cool concept!

The restaurant also has a full bar, event space, and a rooftop patio.

Ge Jo’s by the Lake

Ge Jo’s is an Italian Restaurant & Lounge in a prime spot on the city park square in front of Clear Lake. It features delicious Italian fare and hand-tossed pizza with both indoor and outdoor seating, weather permitting. Though known for their pizza, I enjoyed an Italian Grinder sandwich. The billowy bread was stuffed with flavorful meat that tasted exceptional. Melted cheese covered the whole sandwich.

I also had the delish Garlic Cheese Bread which is a do-not-miss starter. Be sure to order the hot oil to dip it in.

Our restaurant guide to Clear Lake includes a delicious Italian meal from Ge-Jo's by the Lake.
Our restaurant guide to Clear Lake includes a delicious Italian meal from Ge-Jo's by the Lake.

Bennigan’s

Bennigan’s is an Irish-pub style chain eatery world-famous for honking big Monte Cristo sandwiches and the scrumptious Death by Chocolate dessert. The huge menu has something for everyone, with foods ranging from gourmet salads to dinner entrees, fajitas to sandwiches, and an arsenal of appetizers. A much-overlooked item that is really delicious at Bennigan’s is their juicy mouth-watering burgers. Bennigan’s is also a fun place for after work cocktails, watching sporting events, or just hanging with friends. 

Our restaurant guide to Clear Lake includes world-famous Death by Chocolate from Bennigan's.

South Shore Donut Co.

South Shore Donut Co. is an adorable shop on the lake serving fantastic pastries and baked cake donuts and light lunch fare. Lunch items include burgers, hot dogs, chicken salad, and soups. The stars at South Shore Donut Co. include C is for Cookies, Strawberry Fields, Go Shorty its Your Birthday, the Luberry, and American Pie. My top pick at South Shore Donut Co. was the Sweet Caroline with maple buttercream, bacon pieces, and a maple syrup drizzle. Donuts available in regular and mini sizes. 

Our restaurant guide to Clear Lake includes perfect mini-donuts from South Shore Donut Company.
Our restaurant guide to Clear Lake includes perfect mini-donuts from South Shore Donut Company.

Cookies, Etc. 

My friend Sara from Travel with Sara had this to say about Cookies, Etc

“Cookies Etc is North Iowa’s best cookie! Monster cookies, oatmeal raisin and classic chocolate chip are favorites.”

Our restaurant guide to Clear Lake includes yummy cookies from Cookies, Etc.
Photo by Sara Broers.

Starboard Market

Again, we went to Sara, who is a Clear Lake neighbor and expert, for her opinion about Starboard Market. We are so sad they weren’t open for season during our visit after she raved with this review. 

“This is a rare sandwich shop. Her hours on the door say 11 ish to 2 ish……. With dozens (literally) of sandwiches to choose from and homemade desserts and soups, this is a one of a kind mouthwatering experience.”

Our restaurant guide to Clear Lake includes soup, sandwiches, or salads from Starboard Market.
Photo by Sara Broers.

Lake Time Brewery

I knew about the Lake Time Brewery through Twitter chats long before visiting Clear Lake. They brew sensational beers–maybe the best in Iowa. Established in 2012, this craft brewery has delicious flavors, eye-catching can artwork, and a mantra to cherish the simple things in life. My Lake Time Brewery favorites are the Peanut Butter Porter (eyes rolling back in my head!) and One Tough Cookie oatmeal stout. Both taste amazing! Though this isn’t a restaurant, some of the beers are almost like dessert. Go and enjoy!

Be sure to have a tasty beer from Lake Time Brewery when visiting Clear Lake, Iowa.

Clear Lake Delivers a Powerful Punch

There are food options galore in Clear Lake, Iowa. The tasty dishes, sweet treats, and delicious beer far surpassed my expectations and I can’t wait for you to try them. Which restaurant catches your eye? 

Our restaurant guide to Clear Lake includes a delicious Italian meal from Ge-Jo's by the Lake.

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Read more about the Midwest:

7 Things you Must See and Do in Iowa 

A 2-Day Itinerary for Springfield, Missouri

5 Reasons to Visit Milwaukee, Wisconsin

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