What’s the most restaurant-crazy city in Minnesota?
Maybe… Minneapolis? St. Paul? Both are great cities for dining, with some of the most acclaimed and beloved restaurants in the U.S., but neither of those communities have the hunger for eating out that, say, Brainerd does—or Virginia, or Pine City for that matter. Among all urban places in Minnesota (with populations of over 2,500 people), those are the top-three cities ranked by restaurants per capita.
The Pine Poker took a look at Urbanspoon’s count of restaurants per city in Minnesota and ranked them by the number of restaurants per capita.
Click here to see the results of our number crunching.
Brainerd (pop. 13,590) has 153 eateries, or one for every 89 residents, while Virginia (pop. 8,712) has 96 eateries, or one for every 91 residents. And, Pine City (pop. 3,127) has 30 places to eat, or one for every 104 residents. Compare that to Minneapolis’ one restaurant per 287 people, and St. Paul’s one restaurant to every 437 people.
In fact, Pine City opened two new restaurants just this summer. It now is home to Bamboo Kitchen, a Chinese and Thai restaurant, as well as Scotty’s Parkside Café, downtown, overlooking Robinson Park in the town square. Who knew Pine Citians liked to eat out so much?
To put the numbers in perspective, there are about 616,000 restaurants operating in America. That means that the average density in the country was about one restaurant per 500 people. There are 9,985 restaurants statewide—or one restaurant for every 531 Minnesotans, which is just a tad less than the national average.
Rounding out the list of top-10 most restaurant dense cities in Minnesota were Park Rapids (pop. 3,709, 35 restaurants), Detroit Lakes (pop. 8,569, 79 restaurants), Alexandria (pop. 11,070, 86 restaurants), Perham (pop. 2,985, 22 restaurants), Ely (pop. 3,460, 25 restaurants), Wabasha (pop. 2,521, 17 restaurants) and Bemidji (pop. 13,431, 86 restaurants). Ham Lake (pop. 15,296) with its mere seven restaurants was the least restaurant-dense city in Minnesota; it only has one restaurant per 2,185 residents.
You’ll notice the Minnesota list leans a little heavily toward touristy areas, which tend to attract many more restaurant customers than full-time residents. And, there are far more restaurants per capita in Mnnesota’s small towns versus its bigger cities and suburbs. Still, it’s a fascinating, unusual list.
As for smaller cities (with populations below 2,500), Dovray, Minn. (pop. 57) was the most restaurant dense, with its four restaurants, or one for every 14 people. Rounding out the top-ten small cities list were Leonard (pop. 41, three restaurants), McGregor (pop. 391, 20 restaurants), Beaver Bay (pop. 181, nine restaurants), Longville (pop. 156, seven restaurants), Kerrick (pop. 65, three restaurants), Bena (pop. 116, five restaurants), Garrison (pop. 210, eight restaurants), Odessa (pop. 135, four restaurants) and Mentor (pop. 153, four restaurants).
Janesville (pop. 2,256) may not be a restaurant destination for you as it has just two eating establishments in the whole town, Tropics Bar (with a “limited menu“) and a Subway, and the lowest restaurant density among Minnesota’s smaller cities.