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Eating in Thunder Bay

Updated on May 3, 2011

A Few of My Favorite Hot Spots

Thunder Bay is near the Northern tip of Lake Superior close to the Manitoba and Minnesota borders. It is known for it's long winters and warm (but short) summers.

I haven't lived there for almost fifteen years. And when we go back there are a few choice places my husband (also from Thunder Bay) make a point of visiting.

Thunder Bay is culturally diverse but the main food staples you will find are Italian, Finnish and Polish. If you ever get a chance to go to this lovely region we highly recommend you check them out.

The Hoito

For Breakfast

The Hoito is a Finnish restaurant in the Port Arther district of Thunder Bay. It has a cafeteria like atmosphere but with one exception. Thunder Bay'ers will willingly stand at the entrance for twenty minutes or longer waiting for a table to be cleared and cleaned for them.

The Hoito has the usual breakfast selection of bacon, eggs, toast and pancakes. But the food that makes the Hoito special, and what people get up early for on a Saturday morning (even if they were out drinking the night before) is their Finnish Pancakes.

The Hoito is located in the basement of what was the Finnish Labor Temple and was started by a group of Finnish bush workers looking for a descent meal in 1918. The "tradition of hearty food, large portions, low prices" continues.

If you visit Thunder Bay it is a must stop for an early breakfast.

Stop by the official Hoito website for more info.

The Persian Man

For Lunch or Snack

The persian is unique to Thunder Bay and the surrounding area. It is a tasty pastry with a thick topping of icing that was initially introduced by Bennett's Bakery in the Port Arthur section of Thunder Bay.

Bennett's have since opened up two coffee shops called The Persian Man which offer these tasty delights to both sections of town.

If you visit Thunder Bay you must make a special trip to the Persian Man and have at least one. They are about the size of the palm of your hand and quite filling. They are good at room temperature or warmed in the microwave. My husband likes to cut them in half and warm them up in the frying pan.

When we visit Thunder Bay we always have a Persian and stock up with a dozen to go (with icing on the side) to take back with us. They freeze really well helping to extend that nostalgic feeling of home.

Other Things To Do in Thunder Bay - Click on image to visit video...

The Prospector Steak House


This restaurant has changed locations more than a few times over the years but it has now found a perfect setting on a main drag in Port Arther. One thing has remained the same -- awesome food.

There are two things you must have if you visit the Prospector Steak House. The first is steak. The owners of the steak house grow their own cattle and serve up juicy tender steak.

The second is the buns. That's right I said buns. Warm, soft, comforting. I swear they have some secret addictive ingredient they add to them because when you are at your table you see fellow customers going by with over loaded plates and bowls of buns.

They also have an acceptable salad bar and other offerings as well. The customer service is excellent. You will be painfully full for hours after ward but it will be worth it.

Merla-Mae Ice Cream


Merla-Mae has been a hot date spot for cooling off during the summer for decades. It's also a great place for families to stop and satiate the kids after a long day.

They have a creamy, soft, gourmet ice-cream that tastes like no other. The soft-serve comes in vanilla, chocolate, or half and half. It is more expensive than your regular soft-serve elsewhere but it is worth it.

It's right next to the waterfront so you can work off some of the calories by walking the trail and look out at Lake Superior and the Sleeping Giant while you are eating your ice-cream.

Where To Eat on Google Maps

I've added my favorite spots to a Google map to make it easier for you to find them.

show route and directions
A markerFull-screen Merla-Mae Ice Cream -
346 Memorial Avenue, Thunder Bay, Ontario
get directions

B markerProspector Steak House -
27 Cumberland Street South, Thunder Bay, Ontario
get directions

C markerHoito Restaurant -
314 Bay Street, Thunder Bay, Ontario
get directions

D markerThe Persian Man -
899 Tungsten Street, Thunder Bay, Ontario
get directions

E markerThe Persian Man -
400 Balmoral St, Thunder Bay, Ontario
get directions

Thank you for visiting my Eating in Thunder Bay guestbook. If you have a recommendation for a favorite restaurant please add it to the list above. Leave your mark below.

Eating Out in Thunder Bay Guestbook

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    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      best burger i have ever had in thunder was at Norma Jean's Restaurant, on may street, and the also have amazing breakfast, i love the atmosphere in that place

    • profile image

      Lindrus 6 years ago

      I've only been through Thunder Bay once - wish I would have read your lens then...

    • jadehorseshoe profile image

      jadehorseshoe 6 years ago

      Another Fine Lens!

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      The Great Souvlaki Dinner Takeout! 4-6:30pm every 2nd Thursday at Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church, 651 Beverly Street (at Balmoral). See for details.

    • SandyMertens profile image

      Sandy Mertens 8 years ago from Frozen Tundra

      The food looks so good!

    • daoine lm profile image

      daoine lm 8 years ago

      Ooh, sounds wonderful. That Persian pastry has me drooling. I would so love to visit Canada.

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      I will check them out next time I am there!

    • Kiwisoutback profile image

      Kiwisoutback 8 years ago from Massachusetts

      I've never been to Thunder Bay, but someone I know might be traveling near there for business soon. I'll have to point them in this direction before they go. Great work!

    • profile image

      bdkz 8 years ago

      Love this lens!

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      McKellar Confectionery or The Coney Island for Coney dogs and burgers.

      Take-out perogy and cabbage rolls from many different churches and legions.

      The China House has a good buffet and you can take-out too.

    • aka-rms profile image

      Robin S 8 years ago from USA

      Everything looks yummy!

    • Dianne Loomos profile image

      Dianne Loomos 8 years ago

      Loved your tour of restaurants in Thunder Bay. The Persian Man sounds intriguing!