While most restaurants have some kind of dessert offering, some take things to the next level. Sure, you might be able to get a cookie, piece of cake, or some ice cream just about anywhere you go, but certain Twin Ports area restaurants have developed a reputation for having some top-notch sweet treats that go above and beyond.
If you find yourself wanting an amazing sweet treat to celebrate a special occasion (or just because you want to have something yummy), where do you go? We polled Northlanders and did some delicious research to come up with some great options around the area.
In developing this list, we looked at a key factor - do they offer a place to feast on your dessert? There are some great bakeries and candy shops that offer wonderful sweet treats, but the idea we were aiming for was more of a self-contained experience a person could go to as part of maybe a birthday celebration out on the town.
I also skipped on ice cream/frozen yogurt shops. I love ice cream and frozen yogurt, but I feel like while everyone knows where to get ice cream or frozen yogurt, but it isn’t quite as well know where to get other dessert items.
I also want to note that this is by no means a "best of" list. These aren't listed in any particular order, and even with the research done, I might have missed a great option. If I did, let me know what it is and I'll look into adding it!
Ok, without further ado, let's get into some great places to grab dessert around the Twin Ports area!
Great Places To Grab Dessert In The Twin Ports Area
Superior Waffles - Superior, WI
I know, some people would argue that a waffle is breakfast, and not dessert. But, look at the menu at Superior Waffles, and so many of the items look like a dessert. Take, for example, the S'mores Waffle (pictured above). It's sprinkled with chocolate chips, toasted mini marshmallows, graham cracker crumbles, and powdered sugar, then drizzled with chocolate. Or the Cheesecake Waffle, with strawberries and/or blueberries along with a cheesecake spread and whipped cream.
Bridgeman's - Duluth, MN
I know, I said "no ice cream places", but there's a lot more going on here than just ice cream. Aside from their full dining menu, Bridgeman's has insane "Mega Malts" that are like the dessert equivalent of an extravagant bloody mary. These things are loaded with goodies like cake, cookies, or other goodies. Plus, you get to keep the souvenir mason jar (and lid/straw) they come with. They also are constantly changing up their mega malt menu, offering seasonal specialties throughout the year.
Rustic Inn - Castle Danger, MN
Not in the immediate Twin Ports area, but a favorite among locals and visitors alike. One listener raved about the raspberry pie at the Rustic Inn, up the North Shore from Duluth in Castle Danger. This quaint eatery has delicious food, but also gives the other pie destination in the area a run for their money, with some people arguing that the pies at the Rustic Inn are even better. I don't know that I could personally pick a favorite between the two.
The pie offerings change with the seasons, but include a wide variety. You can see the latest offerings, and even put an order in for one here.
Blackwater Lounge - Duluth, MN
If you want to mix a good cocktail with your dessert, Blackwater Lounge is a great place for that one-two punch. A couple of offerings on their menu include a housemade chocolate cake or chocolate fondue. Yup, chocolate fondue. It comes with pound cake, strawberries, bananas, pretzels, and dark chocolate.
Speaking of those cocktails, they have some creative options that change through the year, some of which blend dessert and cocktail into one item. Take, for example, the s'mores-themed libation (seen above) they shared on their Facebook page for Christmas.
Canal Park Brewing - Duluth, MN
Dessert with a view? Check. Canal Park Brewing is such a cool Canal Park place to grab food or a drink, but they have some awesome desserts too. A couple of examples from their menu include "Swedish Cream", which they describe as "silky decadent chilled vanilla bean custard cream topped with lingonberry sauce and seasonal fruit". They also offer locally-made Love Creamery ice cream and a massive warm cookie made to serve 2-4 people (pictured above), among other items. During the warmer months, you can enjoy a sweet treat out on their patio, enjoying a view of Lake Superior!
Betty's Pies - Two Harbors, MN
A true North Shore icon. Another destination not in the immediate Twin Ports area, but a favorite among many locals and those visiting the area. Almost everyone that's traveled up the North Shore has made at least one stop at this famous pie destination. Betty's Pies offers a regular dining menu, along with shakes, floats, and (of course) pie! You can see their current offering, and even order pie to be shipped to you from their website.
Thirsty Pagan Brewing - Superior, WI
Pizza and beer is a great combo by itself. Add in a sweet treat, and we're talking downright blissful. Thirsty Pagan offers a changing dessert menu that does include some long-standing menu items like cheesecake bites and their Burntwood Black Brownie, which uses their house-brewed Burntwood Black as part of the recipe.
At Sara's Table Chester Creek Cafe - Duluth, MN
With a cult following among locals, this gathering location offers great food and sweet treats. Pie, ice cream treats, brownies, and some mouthwatering cakes like their layered carrot cake of Bent Paddle cupcake (with Bailey's cream cheese frosting) are just some of the desserts you can get your hands on here. They also offer a number of gluten-free and vegan options too.
Valentini's Bistro - Hermantown, MN
Like everything on the menu, Valentini's has some wonderful desserts waiting for you. They don't have any specific items listed on their menu, but there's always a rotation of sweets waiting for you to conclude a great meal or as a standalone delicious treat.
Bucktales Cantina & Grill - Superior, WI
Moving in to take over the old Shorty's location on Tower Avenue, Bucktales has a great menu of food items, but also some mouthwatering treats. Walk in the door and you can see some of their dessert offerings in a display case. Some of their offerings include cheesecake, carrot cake, tiramisu, tres leches, and lemon berry mascarpone.
Duluth Grill - Duluth, MN
Legendary for many reasons in the Twin Ports area food world, their desserts live up to the standard of everything else at this eatery. Known for sourcing as many of their ingredients locally as possible (among many other things), you can get some top-notch pie and carrot cake, among other treats. They also note that they can make any of their pies gluten-free for anyone looking for that option.
Black Woods Grill & Bar - Duluth/Proctor/Two Harbors
While each of their locations offers a slightly different lineup, their cheesecakes, Italian lemon cream cake, and famous "Wave of Passion" chocolate cake are all crowdpleasers in an upscale-casual environment suitable for a special occasion, or just because you feel like it. It's also worth noting that their sister restaurant, Tavern on the Hill, offers some of the same items and some treats unique to that location.
Va Bene - Duluth, MN
There's no pre-set menu of dessert items at Va Bene, but all of it is made from scratch at the restaurant, and they're hard to beat. Take, for example, the apple cinnamon cake they shared on their Facebook page (pictured above). Wow! Along with a rotating selection of dessert items, they also offer a dozen flavors of artisan gelato and sorbetto.
Hammond Steakhouse - Superior, WI
With a variety of cakes, cheesecakes, and other treats, the steakhouse at the foot of the Blatnik Bridge in Superior is a delicious place to treat yourself to a delicious dessert!
Bellisio's Italian Restaurant - Duluth, MN
Upscale Italian dining or delicious desserts - Bellisio's in Canal Park has you covered. Lava cake (pictured above), tiramisu with amaretto cream, and Italian carrot cake are just some of the options that will delight your tastebuds.
Pizza Luce - Duluth, MN
Yep, another pizza place with some awesome dessert offerings! A variety of brownies (including a peanut butter brownie), carrot cake, tiramisu, and their gluten & dairy-free Molly bar are available. You can even do their brownies as part of a sundae!
The Boat Club - Duluth, MN
A prime destination for upscale dining, cocktails, or desserts - all lakeside in the Fitger's complex, The Boat Club is a cool spot to grab a celebratory dessert for that birthday or special occasion. Their menus don't feature any recurring dessert items, but I sincerely doubt you'll be disappointed by any of the dessert offerings offered on any given visit. Just one example of their dessert offerings is their Lady Meg's Forest Cheesecake, pictured above. It has a chocolate cookie crust, chocolate cheesecake middle, and a topping of cheery sauce with house-made whipped cream and shaved chocolate.
New Scenic Cafe - Duluth, MN
Just north of Duluth is the iconic New Scenic Cafe, offering some stunning dishes and incredible desserts. Take, for example, their chocolate crémeux, gjetost crème brûlée, or crêpe cake.
Boomtown - Duluth, MN
Relatively new to the Twin Ports, Boomtown is a brand familiar to Iron Rangers. They have some memorable dessert items like a white chocolate raspberry torte, flourless chocolate cake, and towering carrot cake. They also offer a cheesecake du jour, a root beer float that features their house-made root beer, and this one's fun - funnel cake fries!
Lyric Kitchen-Bar - Duluth, MN
Right in the heart of Downtown Duluth, you'll find this gem. Lyric Kitchen-Bar has a rotation of some wonderful desserts to cap off a delicious dinner or as a standalone for that special occasion. Their posted menu doesn't list any staples, but you'll always have some amazing sweets waiting at Lyric.
Silos Restaurant - Duluth, MN
This is another of a small handful that offers a really cool or unique view as part of the dining experience. With a ground-level view of the Aerial Lift Bridge, right on the water in the harbor, it's hard to beat. During Bentleyville, you also get a view of the holiday light show that is about as close as you can get without actually being outside.
If you're a fan of red velvet cake, you'll love one of the featured dessert items they have. It's a red velvet cheesecake. So, it's red velvet cake layered with cheesecake and topped with whipped cream cheese frosting and a chocolate crumb crust.
Clyde Iron Works - Duluth, MN
"The Clyde" has a lot going for it. It's a cool, rustic venue for events and they have a great menu as well. Their desserts fit right in with it all. Artisan bread pudding, cheesecake, their Clyde Cannoli, and root beer floats that feature their house-made root beer are all on the dessert menu at this West Duluth destination.
Lake Avenue Restaurant & Bar - Duluth, MN
This Canal Park eatery is another establishment that doesn't have a listed dessert menu, but does offer some wonderful treats. Located just a couple blocks from the Aerial Lift Bridge, you can make a dessert stop part of your evening out in Canal Park.
Lots of great options! While we're on the subject of local businesses, here are some with a reputation for next-level customer service in the Twin Ports area.
20 Businesses In The Northland That Have Great Customer Service
Gallery Credit: Jeanne Ryan