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Lakeside Hangouts: Tri-Lakes Roadhouse enjoys prime locale

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CORMORANT, Minn. - With its prime location on the north shore of Lake Ida just minutes from Pelican and the Cormorant lakes, the appeal of Tri-Lakes Roadhouse to guys like Eric Ista is simple.

It's literally right there.

"If it's time to eat and nobody wants to cook, we head to the Roadhouse," said Ista, a Fargo father of two who has a cabin on Big Cormorant Lake.

On a recent sunny Sunday, Ista and family were having dinner. For Ista, it was the mushroom Swiss burger and an order of the generous onion rings. But it's also a frequent stop for a nightcap for the Istas.

"There's always something happening here," he said.

The sizable bar and restaurant, decked out cabin-style inside with log-panel walls and a fireplace, is a place for casual dining in the daytime and a hopping nightspot after sunset. Or as the slogan on a sign above the front door puts it: Fast Times Fun Food.

Tony Hubbard, the night manager, said the evening-shift calling card for the Roadhouse is its activities: beach volleyball behind the backyard deck on Thursdays, a DJ on Friday and bands on Saturdays.

Hubbard said while other lakes-area bars have weekend entertainment, few aim to do so every week.

"No one's consistent like we are," he said.

The Roadhouse menu is mostly standard bar fare, a wide variety of sandwiches and other comfort meals that expands with a daily special. On Tuesdays, the half-pound burgers go for $2.

"We're known for wraps and melts for sure," Hubbard said.

With its close proximity to multiple well-populated lakes, there's also a steady stream of customers who make the Roadhouse there regular haunt.

Hubbard said that's his favorite part about the bar.

"It's a running dialogue you have," he said. "Not to be cheesy, but it is a 'Cheers' bar. Everyone knows your name."

Readers can reach Forum reporter Dave Roepke at (701) 241-5535