(UPDATED OCTOBER 2020) 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.
Thank the Lord I was able to experience the Starboard Market for myself. The planets finally aligned and I was in Clear Lake during their lunchtime hours. What a treat! It definitely lived up to its expectations.
I had a 10/10 fantastic Reuben sandwich, and since I was in town for a few days, took home one of the beautiful dessert bars and a fruit dessert, too. Who was I kidding? The dessert bar was gone shortly after I polished off the entire Reuben, and the luscious creamy strawberry pastry was right behind it. Desserts at their finest with one of the best selections I’ve seen outside of NYC. You’ve gotta eat here.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
Cabin Coffee Co.
If you are like me, a good coffee shop makes visiting a new place so much more exciting and inviting. Clear Lake, Iowa, has no trouble in that department with the yummy java options at Cabin Coffee Co., at this flagship store which has now branched out to other states and locations.
Come for the great coffee and espresso, but consider the pastries, sandwiches, and bagels, to satisfy your hunger.
“Cookies Etc is North Iowa’s best cookie! Monster cookies, oatmeal raisin and classic chocolate chip are favorites.”
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!
A few other noteworthy mentions in Clear Lake’s dining scene are The Other Place and Seven Stars Family Restaurant. I’ll add those to my next visit’s itinerary.
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?
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