North Point Lodge welcoming diners
Cousins Scott and Mark LeSage bring a background in the hospitality industry to their new roles at North Point Lodge.
The owners of the former Goose Crossing are in the process of restoring the restaurant and grounds that have been dormant the past few years, each contributing unique talents to enterprise.
Opening in mid-May, the eatery on Highway 34 east offers a combination of elegant dining and a full, fun sports bar, replete with six new large screen TVs.
Opening at 4 p.m. daily, the restaurant is a "hang out" after a day on the lake or on the links.
"We hope the ambiance, food and quality of service set us apart," Scott said.
Downstairs, a large reception area is in the works for weddings, banquets, family reunions and other events.
Scott grew up in the restaurant industry, waiting tables in his father Dick's Family Food Gallery in Redwood Falls. Dick purchased Ice Cracking Lodge in Becker County in 1999.
"That's when I learned to work 80-hour weeks," Scott said of the resort business.
After graduating from college, he headed down to Biloxi, Miss., working in the hotel industry. He migrated north after Hurricane Katrina hit, working as a systems analyst for a few years in the metro.
"What should I do with all my time?" he mused of the 40-hour weeks.
Then his father called. "I think you should take a day off and come up here," he told Scott.
"We walked in the building and it was a no brainer," he recalled of the facility, the area adding bonus points.
"The opportunity to be a part of this community was a big time draw," he said. "I was glad to have had the opportunity to work in the cities, but I knew what I was missing.
"This is a great town, so unique," the husband and father of two said.
"Now, instead of sitting in traffic for an hour on (Interstate) 494, I slow down to check out a deer or raccoon," he said. "This is low stress life in a different dimension."
Business partner Mark grew up in Texas, his father in the military, and he also went to work in the hotel industry, in a culinary role. He headed to northern California in the late '80s and on to New Orleans and Omaha, where he worked as executive chef and food and beverage director for a new Hilton when it opened in 2006.
For the past three years, he was looking to step out on his own.
"When this was presented, it made sense," North Point Lodge's executive chef said.
The menu includes salads; appetizers; steaks and seafood; poultry, pork and pasta and burgers and sandwiches with specials featured nightly.
Fish and seafood are hand-breaded in house. Sauces and soups are homemade.
The menu will be ever- changing, he said, with a prime rib night and barbecue rib night likely on the horizon.
North Point (named for the location on Long Lake) offers a full wine selection.
"Our goal is to develop good, fresh food at reasonable prices," Mark said of the "classical cuisine" served in an "up north environment, prices geared to the area."
"We will never lose sight of the year-round, local residents," Mark said.
No reservations are required, but appreciated.
"No one will walk out hungry," he promises.