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Lakeside hangouts: 'The Hotel' is a shore thing

Hotel Shoreham bartender Casey Johnson mixes a drink on the lakeside hangout's outdoor deck. Heidi Shaffer / The Forum

DETROIT LAKES, Minn. - Hotel Shoreham is the neighborhood hangout for those who call lakes country home during the summers.

"I call it the 'hood," said Margaret Olsem of Chicago, who's never missed a summer at her family's home on Pelican Lake. "Everyone knows everyone, and everybody comes to the Hotel."

The relaxed atmosphere draws people in, and the good food keeps generation after generation of cabin dwellers coming back, said Rick Lynch, who opened Hotel Shoreham in 1974.

Several generations of the Lynch family have owned land at Shoreham's current location on a thin strip between Lake Sallie and Lake Melissa since 1907. Lynch's grandfather ran the grocery store across the street, which Lynch and his brother Tom converted to a popular 1970s hangout called The Store.

Hotel Shoreham opened a few years later and remains a must-stop for a lakes population with strong ties to Fargo-Moorhead.

Shoreham is open from April to October and serves steak, ribs, pasta, pan-fried walleye and pizza, the crowd favorite.

Michele Lawrence and her family live just down County Highway 22 and stop at Shoreham for pizza as often as they can.

"It's delicious," said Justine, Michele's daughter.

Lynch's favorite part of owning a seasonal stop is watching the regular customers and their families grow year after year.

"I know everyone that comes here," said Lynch, who works every day despite his longtime staffers who keep the customers happy.

Hotel Shoreham is located in an area ripe for drawing crowds of all types. The bar and restaurant is only a few miles south of the annual location of WE Fest. The nearby country club golf course and at least a dozen lakes within a 10-minute drive keep the restaurant busy during the summer season.

Both the inside and outside deck are usually packed on the weekends, Lynch said. A long line of people sipped drinks from the outdoor bar as they waited for a seat on a recent Saturday evening.

Kathryn Helgaas of Fargo, who owns a home on Pelican Lake, said customers often have to wait for a table.

"But it's worth it because the food is great," Helgaas said.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Heidi Shaffer at (701) 241-5511