New owners welcoming guests at lakeside bar, eatery
High school sweethearts Mark and Christine Fox made an additional vow when they sallied down the aisle.
After three years, they agreed they would migrate from the metro to a small town.
"Twenty-seven years later, here we are," Christine said.
The Elk River residents have purchased the landmark saloon perched between Eagle and Island lakes, the former Barka Lounge on Co. Rd. 89 now Foxy's Bar and Grill.
A job opening for Christine in Wadena at Homecrest and a family hunting cabin in Menahga prompted the decision. Mark, who teaches junior high science in St. Francis, plans to take a leave of absence from his role.
"We like the land, the creek and the Park Rapids community," Christine said of the "friendly, small town" environment.
"People are so nice, so helpful," she said. "It's such a change from the cities."
The couple spoke with the bar and grill's former owners, who are sharing recipes to create a menu "tried and true," traditional dishes to be resurrected.
Mark, who has a penchant for cooking, plans to add healthy food to the menu, including homemade soup and hand-patted burgers, served on fresh buns.
Plans call for ribs on Saturday, spaghetti on Friday and broasted chicken. And choices will be "in big portions."
The inn will continue to be a social destination for area residents, summer and winter. The pool league arrives Mondays; darts are tossed Wednesdays.
"The focus is on food," Mark said, but plans also call for added outdoor activities.
The Foxes are in the process of renovating the interior, including new carpet. And dock construction is planned, so Foxy's is accessible by land and by sea. The bar and eatery is snowmobile accessible.
Current hours are 4 p.m. to 1 a.m., with Virgil Wiekamp manager during the week. The hours will be expanded when spring arrives.
The Foxes are planning a grand opening at the end of April or early May.
"We want everything up and running properly," Christine said of the timing.