Historic Rock Tavern Back in Business on Big Birch Lake [VIDEO]
GREY EAGLE -- A storied Grey Eagle restaurant has found new life under new ownership.
Built in 1937, the Historic Rock Tavern, located on Big Birch Lake at 11977 County Road 47, reopened on November 20 after nearly three years on the market.
Carol and John Engel, along with relatives Gin Becker and Kay Taylor, finalized the purchase of the restaurant last summer. While new to the world of restaurant ownership, the group has a lengthy history spending their summer vacations together on Big Birch Lake.
And, the idea to buy and reopen the Rock has been brought up in family discussions more than once.
“It always came up while we were on the pontoon boat,” Carol laughs. “We ate here a lot. It was the only place on the lake. Nice place, fun people, and great food. It was missed.”
“We would have been part of the group rooting for it to reopen,” says John.
“For it to be closed for 3 years, the people out here – like us – had nowhere to boat to,” Carol says.
The group finalized the purchase of the restaurant in the summer of 2019 and got to work revamping the antique interior.
The restaurant includes a formal, 60-seat dining room on the upper level and a casual, diner-style eatery down below. So far, Carol says some of the more popular menu items include chicken with portabello mushrooms, prime rib, pan-fried walleye, and the constantly changing soup of the day. The menu will feature locally grown vegetables during the summer.
The goal, says Becker, is to recreate the old-fashioned supper club-style experience for their customers.
“It’s all food people will recognize, but just a little different,” Becker says. “We have broasted chicken, we have BBQ ribs. Everything is recognizable, but with a twist.”
Business has been solid so far – something the group attributes to strong word-of-mouth advertising from the lake community and beyond.
“When we bought it, we thought we were just buying it for the people on the lake, and some of the surrounding towns,” Carol says. “But so many St. Cloud people have been here!”
“When summer comes, we’ll have a lot of customers. It’s going to be great.”
To see the Historic Rock Tavern’s hours, visit their Facebook page.