A shrimp and crab toast is the rarity on an otherwise familiar appetizers menu.
But chef Adam Soberski hopes what his menu lacks in creativity is replaced with value.
Soberski and floor manager Tiffany Jeffers are hoping to meld a casual atmosphere, with fresh, inexpensive Chicago style bar food at The Lakes Grill & Bar.
Fresh ingredients are what Soberski hopes will have people coming back to the former Matty’s on State Highway 371 north of Baxter and across from Brainerd International Raceway.
“I want to start getting local products and start talking to some of the farmers near by,” said the Chicago area transplant. “We’re looking at getting our bacon from just south of here. Another farmer has some ribs going for me. I want to try to keep it local because that’s the trend now days. I know when I go out to eat I want something fresh. If it’s farmed right next door that’s as fresh as we can get.”
Soberski’s blue-collar, Chicago background is peppered throughout the menu that is short on flair, but he hopes not flavor or amount. One highlight could be the half-pound burgers that come with hand cut fresh fries. The basics are all available with “The Lakes,” a walleye burger, bucking the norm.
“We’re trying to keep everything simple,” Soberski said. “The hoagies and sandwiches and grinders — everything is simple, basic food. The food tastes so good on its own we don’t need cover it with sauces and stuff. The pizzas we have I think are really good. I think the sauce is really good.
“My biggest thing is I want to have big food, big plates and let people scratch their heads and think, ‘How do they do this.’”
The “this” Soberski is referring to is large amounts of food at prices that range from $14.95 for a deep dish pizza to wings for 50 cents.
Pitas, kabobs and a variety of Philly cheese steaks are a few more of the uncommon menu items found at the eatery, which opened April 16.
“Everyone serves the same kind of dinner with steaks, fish and a pasta,” said Soberski. “We don’t have to have that. If people want to have that, they’ll go to the other place. If they want to have a great sandwich or a great pizza this is the place to be. We’re going to grow into it.”
Soberski said when the peak season hits he would like to offer weekend specials. The main theme is complementing the family atmosphere with food that works.
“This is a laid-back kind of place,” said Jeffers. “This is the kind of place where you come and just hang out. I just don’t think this place has been used to its full potential.”
Jeffers said they are catering toward the lakes area diner and the highway passersby, but would like to utilize a spacious “backyard” with grilling and family fun this summer.
“It’s summer time we have to have that smell in the air,” Sorbski said. “We want to do pig roasts and cookouts. If we have to, I’ll just be out there on a Weber. I’ll be cooking on a Weber, but we do have some big plans.”
JEREMY MILLSOP may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 855-5856.