Dining Picks

Kim & Big John’s Dining Picks

There are a LOT of eateries around for every budget and taste.  There are dining guides in the lodge and many brochures to choose from.  Here is a list of some of our own personal favorites.  We‘d love reports back on your experiences, also.


Zappy's (f.n.a. Headwaters) Cafe - (1 mile back into Akeley)   Chef Zita brought her six years of experience from Chase on the Lake in Walker to our little village in late 2015 and it's been a real treat.  Excellent simple Caesar salad (handmade dressing, handmade buttered croutons and fresh romano cheese).   Pork wings (appetizer) most excellent.   FRIED (broasted) CHICKEN is home made good - best around!  Apple Fritter French Toast a nice variant for breakfast.   Daily Specials

The Stompin’ Grounds – (1 mile - go north on 64 towards Bemidji and keep your eyes peeled for the sign on the left – and mailbox.  It’s in the middle of nowhere!  Located right on the ATV trails in the Paul Bunyan Forest.)   High quality bar food:  burgers, excellent reubens, fried appetizers, handmade soups.  Friday night specials (meat raffles.)  (218) 652-2964  www.stompingroundslodge.com on-line menu

The Brauhaus - (2 miles - at west end of Akeley)  New owners, similar menu items of authentic German food:  Pork hocks - giant sized, Octoberfest beer, sauerbraten, etc.  Good atmosphere, generous portions, excellent service, priced suitably.  More American menu options than ever.  Hand made Rueben bites appetizer are the BEST.  Worth going just for these, truly.  (218) 652-2478 

Bullwinkle's (Nevis on Highway 34, west 5 miles).   Here on a Wednesday evening?   Their dry rub ribs are to DIE FOR!   Gotta call 'em during the day and order your full or half racks otherwise they may run out when you get there after 5:00 p.m.  Delicious.   Also awesome:   crispy waffle fries and smoked chicken wings (try 'em nekked - they don't need any sauce with the smoke and spice flavorings, yum!) (Big John likes their lunch specials - meatloaf, hot roast beef and gravy on mashed potatoes.)

Iron Horse Grill - Italian Brisket Salad

Ironhorse Bar & Grill - (downtown Nevis - 5 miles) Quaintly decorated w/ sports theme.  Their home made smoked meats are freakin' awesome.  And priced very reasonably.  Their side salads are mixed greens, handmade croutons and salad dressings.  Cornbread with cinnamon butter.  full bar/menu.  Try their unique fried pickle won tons.   Smoked brisket best around.   (218) 652-3898

Jimmy’s Café - (7 miles - Walker, take a right out of our driveway on County 23 and you’ll come into Walker with Jimmy’s on your right)  Malted waffles and wonderful breakfasts make it a great family choice.  Kim enjoys the Reuben sandwiches with homemade dressing.  John thinks their tenderloins are the best around - and he's from Iowa, remember.  The food and service are consistently good here.  Good choice when you have a bunch in your group and can‘t decide where to go.  (Comparable to a Denny’s or Perkin’s, only lots mo' better.)  (218) 547-3334

Benson’s Emporium - (9 miles, in Walker on Main Street)  Full bar, and the pizzas are usually excellent - the cheese, fresh and crust, crispy.  We like the artichoke, green olive and pepperoni pizzas - you can create your own pizza from lots of interesting choices.  They have specialty sandwiches, too.  They have a trendy outdoor smoking/seating area, but this place is definitely a “bar” atmosphere and hoppin' with people on game days.  Lots of history of Leech Lake and local sports fans here.  Big Screen TVs, pool tables and arcades.  (218) 547-2323

Zona Rosa’s - (9 miles, downtown Walker)  Mexican food, Big John loves the seafood enchiladas.  The chips are usually good and fresh. The taco salad with  seafood is served in a home made crispy shell.  They serve high grade (blue agave) tequilas if you ask for them.  (218) 547-3558

Charlie’s Up North - (10 miles at the “Y” in south Walker on 371)  Chicken & ribs to go!  King crab legs, lobster, steak, good salads -- YUM!  Their Sunday brunch is scrumptious and they don't stint on the quality.  They’ll cater if you have a big group.  Kim loves their Caesar salads with lemon pepper chicken.   John loves their steak sandwich (excellent cut of beef for budget price.)  (218) 547-0222

Northern Lights Casino (10 miles at the “Y” in south Walker on 371) Decent, somewhat inconsistent buffets with standard salad bar, desserts, ice cream, free beverage and then a changing food theme every night:  Seafood, Steak Buffet, Prime Rib Buffet, Walleye featured buffet, etc.  (kids around $5)  (218) 547-2744   daily/nightly specials/theme

Lucky Moose (9 miles – go east on 34 to Walker, then south on Hwy 371 a mile, next to Country Inn Suites)  Up North décor, full bar with funky beers on tap.  Pretty good food:  buffalo wings, spinach/artichoke dip, brushchetta, lavosh, herb wraps, steak, shrimp, meatloaf, chicken fried steak, burgers, fresh tomato & basil soup, ruebens, kid’s menu.  WILL CATER.  (218) 547-0801 www.luckymoosebargrill.com for on-line menu

The Boulders (11 miles - north of Walker on Hwy 371 about a mile on the left)  Special anniversary?   Date night?    This is definitely the place!   Always excellent, great ambiance and fine dining up north.  View their menu on line.  (Kim's favorite eatery, hands down! )

the good life café (17 miles – downtown Park Rapids)  American food in a casual, contemporary environment. (Lots of locally grown veggies and products.  Kim loves this place, John is more a meat & potatoes guy: hence bickering ensures between the two of 'em en route to lunch in Park Rapids)  Innovative lunch and dinner specials are offered daily, full bar with a wide selection of tap beers, the Garden Patio and free Wi-Fi.  Open 11 a.m.  (218) 237-4212

The Four Seas Chinese Restaurant (17 – miles downtown Park Rapids)  Big John’s favorite place to eat.   Vegetable, Soups, Seafood, Pork, Noodles, Lunch Specials, Hot and Spicy, Fried Rice, Egg Foo Young, Dinner Combination Platter, Dieter's Gourmet, Chow Mein or Chop Suey, Chicken, Chef's Suggestion, Beef, Appetizers (218) 237-8888

DORSET – (10 miles west on Highway 34 –then 1 mile north) Shopping and food to be had here:

  • Companero's Mexican & Dorset House (ice cream parlor & pizza)
  • La Pasta (generous portions & combined w/ a General Store to shop) Facebook  page (Italian)
  • Chicken Coop (nightly specials, full bar, ribs, steak, GREAT FRIED chicken -prepare to wait a bit for it! and fish.   Their salad bar goes to next level with spring green mix and blue cheese crumbles.  Homemade soups daily.) 732-4072

Give us your feedback on any of these eateries and your own finds, we’d love to hear about your experiences!