You’ve made plans to visit Eau Claire in 2023 – hooray! Now the biggest question is – where are you going to eat?! I have to say as a repeat visitor, every time I return I am more impressed with the foodie and drink scene in Eau Claure. It truly is revitalizing and having more and more options for everyone each time I visit. If you’re looking for things to do, make sure to check out my other blog of things to do in Eau Claire (I feature some of the places below on there as well!) otherwise read on to quench your thirst and curb your hunger with my top eats and drinks from Eau Claire!
Located downtown, Shift is a coffee and bike shop is one of my favorites in Eau Claire. It’s your full-service bike shop and has a full craft coffee selection as well, complete with pastries and treats too! The ambiance inside is so friendly and a great place to start or end the day! Don’t miss their scones – so tasty!
If you’re staying at the Lismore Hotel, EC DC will be your go-to stop for some fuel during your stay. Not only do they have a full coffee bar, they also offer a great selection of tea and smoothies for everyone in your party! They also have a plethora of grab-and-go items as well as baked in-house goodies – made fresh daily! We popped in here daily and also tried their breakfast on our way out of the hotel. We Loved the BEC sandwich and the Northwoods breakfast Wrap!
A little bit off the beaten path, Kahvi (Coffee in Finnish) is a Scandinavian-inspired coffeehouse and cafe tucked away in Eau Claire. Since it’s not downtown, it’s one of my favorites to stop in at especially when passing through Eau Claire. Come for the coffee – try their Fika Mocha, but stay for the Kolaches too! If you’re unfamiliar, Kolaches are a sweet bread roll filled with fruit or even meat and cheese combo. We usually treat ourselves to one whenever we pop in.
The Nostalgic Bean
Head to Altoona to find this gem of a coffee shop! The Nostalgic Bean is a quaint little shop on the corner and wow their pastries are FANTASTIC! They have a rotating menu so you never know what might be available when you arrive. I tried one of their seasonal lattes with oat milk and cardamom and it was delightful. I also snagged a cinnamon twist croissant that was out of this world. Definitely odn’t miss this gem and make sure to try a few different pastries!
Five & Two Cafe
If you want a fun experience for a coffee date, try Five & Two Cafe at Down to Earth Gardens. Sip coffee from a cute planter mug with your friends or take the coffee to go and browse their greenhouse! We loved looking through all the tropical plants – this is especially nice in the winter or cool spring days! It’s even said they bring in cafe tables in the greenhouse during the winter 🙂
Is this the best burger in the Chippewa Valley area? I can confidently say I truly think so! Valley Burger is a no fuss burger joint keeps the menu simple leaving it to what they know best – burgers. I of course stuck with the classic but you can find rotating burgers of the month for something new too! Grab some fries (make sure to get extra Valley sauce!) and an ice cold beverage and you hit the spot. You can absolutely taste the freshness in the beef!
3rd and Vine
Who doesn’t love a charcuterie board? 3rd & Vine is not only known for its charcuterie but also its extensive beer and wine options too! You also can try a beer and cheese flight too! I truly loved the relaxing atmosphere of this place – they have a ton of beer to pick from on tap and in the cooler and even better, several options of Non-Alcoholic options too. The staff was so kind, helpful and not to mention so knowledgeable about the cheese and meat pairings when they hand craft each charcuterie board. You can choose from three different board options too from small to large so it’s great for date night or with a group of friends.
If you’re looking for the best breakfast in Eau Claire – look no further. The Nucleus is beloved by locals and visitors alike. Make sure to snag a table early as they do fill up on the weekends! The menu boasts your classic breakfast options like skillets, eggs, and omelettes, but also serves up some creative options too lemon ricotta hotcakes or Chevre crepes. Everything we had was cooked perfectly and tasted fresh.
Nelson’s Ice Cream
If you’re looking for the quintessential family-run ice cream shop, this is it! Nelson’s has been a staple in the Eau Claure community for quite some time now. They will be celebrating nearly 100 years of homemade ice cream this year and the flavors and quality still stand the test of time. Olson’s not only serves handmade ice cream, but they offer locally brewed coffee and artisan-crafted popcorn! I love their location in Downtown Eau Claire right next to the river and Phoenix Park. It’s the perfect way to cool off during a hot summer day!
New to the scene, Good Wives brings amazing quality dishes in a fun and inviting atmosphere tucked away in a corner of Eau Claire. While we snagged a brunch reservation, I definitely want to come back and do a dinner seating there as well. Keep an eye on their rotating menu as they bring in seasonal dishes bursting with flavor. I had the eggs in cocette and let me tell you – WOW. The cream was so fresh and puff pastry was cooked to perfection. Everything we tastes was fresh and delightful. I couldn’t help but love the fun playlist and disco ball additions to round out an amazing experience.
Located in the Lismore Hotel Downtown, the Informalist has a great menu that focuses on regional cuisine with daily offerings for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and late night! I highly suggest trying their weekend brunch or grabbing some of their wood-fired pizza! They have a nice selection of classics but opt for one of their house specialty pies. We did a classic supreme and the seasonal shrimp scampea with fresh cream, shrimp, peas + more.
If you are needing a sweet treat, Ramone’s hits the spot! This nostalgic old-school ice cream shop has 24 flavors that rotate daily. They also offer vegan, gluten-free and dairy free, and even nut free options so it’s a great choice for everyone!
The Cranky Buzzard
I’m not going to lie, from the outside the Cranky Buzzard looks like your typical pub or bar and grill. Step inside the you’ll see it’s definitely a bar and grill however be prepared to be very impressed with the food! It serves up all your mouthwater faborites like burgers, philly’s and fried chicken, but they also have a great brunch menu too! We ordered the breakfast buritto and the eggs Bene and were thoroughly impressed with how tasteful and fresh the meal was! If you’re staying at the Oxbow Hotel, this place is just steps aways!
Whether you’re looking for a great happy hour spot or late night drinks, the Dive is it! Also located on the second floor of the Lismore, this indoor/outdoor bar used to be the old swimming pool from the building in the 1970s, hence the name The Dive! Belly up to the bar or cozy up on the couches outside to catch a view of downtown Eau Claire. The craft cocktails here were amazing but they also have a great selection of beer and wine on tap too.
The Brewing Projekt
One of my favorite things to do on a trip is to find a great brewery and I will have to say the Brewing Projekt is not only a great brewery in Eau Claire, but it’s also one of the best breweries I’ve been to in and around the Midwest! They have a large indoor and outdoor space right along the river and their beer selection has a ton of variety. It is always rotating constantly so you never know what might be on tap when you visit! I had a flight of sours and they were all great – definitely take some to go and notice all the fun can art too.
Lazy Monk Brewing
Another place that pleasantly surprised me was Lazy Monk Brewing, located right down the block from the Brewing Projekt! Step into a European wonderland in this fun and cozy atmosphere. The staff is delightful and the beer on tap is always fun and creative! I snagged a strawberry rhubarb radler and it was truly amazing. I can only imagine how the atmosphere is during Oktoberfest!
If your looking for live music and drinks, this is the place to be! Located in the Oxbow hotel, the Lakely is a vibey cocktail lounge that always has a great Calednar chock full of live music. Enjoy some tasty libation and Midwest eats in this casual but cozy lounge.
While this place has a full menu for eats, their cocktails is what stood out for me at Reboot Social! We came for a night of fun with old-school arcade games, ski ball, and pinball all while enjoying some beer on tap and their fun crafted cocktails. I got the Mistique’s Madness which has Bombay Sapphire Gin, fresh blueberries, and a hint of lime. It was so tasty and nothing over powerful and sweet! The perfect mix. We ended our time there with some bites from our built-up appetite from all the games! Try the pizza or the pile of fries! We loved the Korean BBQ fries for a flavorful punch!
If you’re looking for a laid-back atmosphere that’s great for date night or something more elevated than a brewery but more relaxed than a restaurant – Helix is it! The space, newly opened in Altoona, is truly for everyone. The space is gorgeous and the staff is so friendly! The weather was chilly when we went so I ended up starting with a latte to warm up (they have a full coffee bar!) then we moved on to cocktails, mocktails and wine! They also have shareables and light bites too. It was the perfect afternoon break and before-dinner hangout spot! COme in the summer for an epic patio experience too!
Phew! I hope this list is a great place to start when planning your next trip to Eau Claire! If you’re looking for things to do, make sure to check out my other blog post of What do to in Eau Claire from our previous trip – including some fun stops and shopping!