It’s called Paradise Shores for a reason.
At least that’s how Char Radtke sells her family resort Paradise Shores Resort on the south shore of Upper South Long Lake 10 miles southeast of Brainerd.
The seven cabin summer getaway also features a small, rustic building dear to the matriarch’s heart — Char’s Bar & Grill.
The Radtkes built the bar and grill after purchasing the resort 14 years ago. The purpose of the quaint establishment was to give Char something to do during the colder months, while her husband, Daniel, worked as an electrician at Grand Casino.
What started as a 3.2 and start-up establishment turned into a weekend hot spot with a full bar and a grill highlighted by a ribeye steak dinner, broiled walleye dinners and a barbecue rib dinner with a homemade sauce.
“We cut our own steak, which is about a 16 ounce ribeye steak and we use all fresh sides and big salads,” said Radtke. “We’re pretty reasonably priced. We sell them for like $16.”
The restaurant opens at 10 a.m. during the week and 8 a.m. on the weekend. It offers an array of breakfast options, including omelets, pancakes, cinnamon French toast and steak and eggs.
Reubens, Philly steak, fish, French dip and ham and cheese sandwiches along with four chicken sandwiches to go with strips and drummies and a shrimp basket fill the lunch menu. It also boasts three salads, homemade pizza and 15 hamburger varieties.
While the bar was something fun for Radtke to do, the restaurant has been a big money maker Radtke admitted.
“It’s been a big asset to keep everything rocking in the winter and dead times,” said Char Radtke. “It helps a lot. I don’t think we would be doing as well as we are without the restaurant. Our restaurant is helping us more than the bar.”
Live music heats up the small dance floor every Saturday night and as Radtke puts it brings in the younger crowd.
The resort was built in 1938 and the Radtke’s remodeled all seven of the cabins. There has been a decline in cabin rentals, however, said Radtke.
“People are looking for more high-end cabins,” said Radtke. “Ours are very simple. They’re all redone inside with tongue-and-groove. But that business has gone down a little when we first started almost 14 years ago.”
When talking about her business with other people she sells the location and ambiance hard. A small deck offers outdoor seating with a slightly obscured view of the lake because of the large shade trees.
Hardwood floors and wood walls add to the old country feel on the inside of the building. The low traffic area also adds to the backwoods feel of the resort and restaurant. But it might almost be too far in the backwoods.
“People on this lake are still finding out about us,” said Radtke. “Apparently I do a very poor job of advertising. This resort has been her since the 30s, but it was never open to the public and the bar and restaurant are only 14 years old. People that lived on this lake for more than 20 years never really came here. On the weekends, in the summer especially, people will come in who have lived on this lake for a long time and are surprised to find us here.”