The Lake House Restaurant & Bar is uniquely positioned on Lake Pepin and overlooks two-thirds of this very large lake (45 square miles) with a spectacular view of the open water. The bluffs surrounding Lake Pepin provide the most majestic panorama imaginable. Depending upon the time of year, you are apt to see eagles, egrets, geese, swans, loons, gulls, hawks, and many other species of birds just a few hundred feet away or even closer. The restaurant is
located one mile north of downtown Lake City and is easy to find with lots of parking and easy access in-and-out of the building.
In addition, there are more than 1,000 boats permanently moored on Lake Pepin during the April thru October boating season with a very large and active sailing community. Lake Pepin is considered to be one of the top 5 sailing lakes in North America due to its almost always steady winds coming off the bluffs and deep valleys. It is quite a spectacle to see tens if not hundreds of boats on the Lake at any given time. The dock provided by the restaurant allows for boats of all sizes to come to the restaurant and tie up for an hour or two while they enjoy fine dining and
drinking with their family and friends.
The Lake House bar is totally unique and built in the shape of a 55’ Chris Craft yacht. The drinks are full service from beer on tap to the more exotic drinks that people associate with lake living and the good times on Lake Pepin. Whatever your pleasure, we’re sure to please and make that day at the lake special.
The Lake House architecture, design, and layout of the restaurant is totally unique and very inviting. Its bright décor and boat house feel makes for a fun and celebratory environment. There are many options for seating small to large groups of people. For example, there is a porch that is inside seating and with the most wonderful view of the Lake and matched nowhere in southern Minnesota. The deck (weather permitting) gives our guests outside seating and is
protected from the hot afternoon sun with umbrellas and shade from the building’s position as the restaurant faces towards the southeast. The main dining room offers everything from a captains table to booths, roundtables and lots of four tops.
There is a four zone sound and speaker system that allows the music to be just right at all times. The acoustics throughout the restaurant are very delightful and permit conversations to be heard and enjoyed. Most of the floors are carpeted and the ceiling tiles are acoustical to maximize your dining experience.
The servers are well trained and there to take care of your every dining need. The Lake House features specials throughout the week (e.g. all you can eat ribs, Mediterranean night, prime rib, fish fries, Sunday brunch, daily specials, etc.) so be sure to check it out online or Facebook.
Because Lake Pepin is part of the Mississippi River, there is a lot of commercial traffic on the river system and primarily with large barges. Some barges are several hundred feet long and a hundred or more feet wide that move thousands of tons of product up and down the river with just one towboat pushing upwards of 15 barges. Some towboats have over 2,000 horsepower to be able to push these large and cumbersome barges. It’s quite a site to watch these enormous vessels moving their cargo up and down the Mississippi River while sharing the waterways with the hundreds of much smaller recreational vessels. Commercial traffic, however, always has the
right away so it’s important that the recreational boats are vigilant at all times.
The Lake House Restaurant is constantly making changes to improve our menu and services to assure that your dining experience is everything you expect and seek. We want to meet and exceed the needs of our broad and diverse customer base. The Lake House can easily accommodate large (46 and maybe even more) and small groups for business meetings, company events, and parties, or something intimate for two. The overall dining room capacity is 150 people and that’s not counting the deck. We are also easily accessible by wheelchair and walkers with an ideal table set up for our guests. Be sure to talk to our manager about how we can serve your needs.
The owners, John and Sharon Hutchinson, invested in the Lake House with the idea that the area and Lake City/Lake Pepin should have a quality restaurant with access and a view to the water. They both enjoyed successful and varied careers while living in the Twin Cities (Minneapolis/St. Paul) area during that time. They purchased a summer home in Lake City in 2003 and have grown to love the area. After extensive remodeling of their summer home, they branched out and invested in vacation rental homes from 2008 to 2014 which they still operate. In 2015 they became partners in a very unique and distinctive retail store named “Lake Pepin Pearl Button Co.” located in downtown Lake City. John & Sharon have enjoyed all the amenities that the area offers (e.g. sailing, golfing, tennis, hiking, bicycling, community events and organizations, and the overall beauty of Minnesota’s South Shore). Their family and friends love to visit Lake City and participate in all the great recreation and entertainment the area offers.
The Lake House opened in late May of 2017 and has enjoyed a robust business, especially during the late spring through early fall. As the Lake House settles in and becomes one of the areas dining institutions, everyone is encouraged to visit the Lake House and to enjoy all it has to offer. Lake House management is quite confident that you will enjoy every aspect of the restaurant and will leave with an outstanding dining experience.
On the banks of the mighty Mississippi River lies the largest lake in the entire Mississippi River called Lake Pepin. Lake Pepin is also the widest naturally occurring part of the Mississippi River at 3 miles wide and 22 miles long, and its surface area is 45 square miles. Lake Pepin is bordered by Minnesota and Wisconsin. The largest city on Lake Pepin is Lake City, MN with a population of more than 5,000. The lake was named after Jean Pepin who settled on its shores in the late 1600s after exploring the Great Lakes.
Lake City and Lake Pepin are known for their picturesque and beautiful natural vistas with all the area surrounded by 400 to 500-foot bluffs high above the lake. The area has many beautiful golf courses, parks, beaches, homes, and points of interest. In fact, Lake City is the birthplace of waterskiing which was invented by 19-year-old Ralph Samuelson on July 2, 1922. Each year on the last weekend of June, Lake City celebrates with Water Ski Days in recognition of Ralphs discovery and thousands of people gather for its festive events and water ski show.
By mid-December, Lake Pepin is normally frozen and remains frozen until mid- March which makes the area a popular place during the winter months for ice fishing, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, snow golf, ice boat sailing, kiteboarding and just plain walking on the ice. Lake City celebrates winter all winter long and holds a special festive event the first weekend of February called WinterFest.
Lake City offers a wide variety of choices for dining, lodging, and shopping. There are many motels, rental condominiums, camping parks, and vacation rental homes that are either on the water or with beautiful lake views. The area is home to a number of excellent restaurants with a wide choice of menus, décor, cuisines, and lake views. The Lake House Restaurant & Bar is the only Lake City restaurant & bar to be located directly on the water and overlooking Lake Pepin.
The deck is a very popular place during the good weather period for locals and visitors to gather to enjoy their dining and entertaining experience outdoors, and the porch is also very popular as it offers inside dining with a spectacular lake view to the southeast. The restaurant features a bar in the shape of a large Chris Craft yacht; a captains table that seats 10 to 12 people; boat docks; a gas fireplace with beautiful stone surround manufactured right here in Lake City by Hearth & Home Technologies. Lake House offers many dining room options for small to large groups and a full array of menu choices.
Lake City is ideally situated at the mid-point of Lake Pepin and it’s very close to several major metropolitan areas: Minneapolis/St. Paul (approximately 70 miles to the northwest), Rochester, MN (35 miles to the southwest and home to the world-famous Mayo Clinic) and not too far from Eau Claire and La Crosse, WI. Southeastern Minnesota, southwestern Wisconsin, and northern Iowa and Illinois have a unique topography and are referred to as the Driftless Area due to the fact that this area was never glaciated which means that the retreating ice did not level this area or deposit silt, clay, sand, gravel, and boulders called drift. Southeastern MN enjoys a very rich farmland area with rolling hills and over 2,300 miles of creeks and rivers that all contribute to the Mississippi River (the worlds 4th. longest and 15th. largest river system). Lake Pepin is a popular recreational lake as it is home to more than 100 species of fish and the fishing is good to excellent depending upon who you ask and their luck. Lake Pepin was recently voted as the second most favorite lake in Minnesota (there are over 15,000 lakes in Minnesota) in the competition conducted by MPR (Minnesota Public Radio) and finished second only to Lake Superior. This beautiful area and its beaches, scenic overlooks, rugged shoreline along Lake Pepin’s 22-mile stretch is often referred to as Minnesota’s South Shore.
Lake Pepin is considered one of North Americas top five (5) sailing lakes and this is due to its almost constant wind conditions that are created by the lakes surrounding bluffs and deep valleys that cause the winds referred to as coulee winds. In addition, Lake Pepin is home to three large marinas that house almost 1,000 boats during the spring, summer, and fall. The Lake City Marina is the Mississippi Rivers largest marina with slips and docking for more than 650 boats. A large concrete pier built almost 100 years ago and dedicated by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1934 helps to protect the marina from Lake Pepin’s strong winds as the lake can churn quickly and present dangerous conditions.
On July 13, 1890, Lake Pepin experienced what is considered to be one of North Americas worst maritime inland disasters. The vessel, Sea Wing, was returning to Red Wing, MN after the modified excursion boat with 215 passengers was struck with a downburst that caused the boat to overturn. Ninety-eight (98) of the passengers drowned and most were women and children as they had been encouraged to go inside for safety which proved to be a death trap as they were unable to get out once the boat overturned.
Lake Pepin is also the birthplace to Laura Ingalls Wilder (authoress of the popular series of books titled, Little House on the Prairie) who was born in Pepin, WI in 1867. As a young girl Laura’s family moved from Wisconsin to Minnesota and in her books, she describes how the family crossed the frozen lake in a covered wagon. Wilder wrote about her family’s experience as a young girl and the difficult times they experienced to survive these harsh conditions, bitter cold temperatures, lack of food, lack of firewood and other bare essentials. LIWs historic home is where she was born still stands today in Pepin, WI and attracts thousands of visitors each year as it is now a museum and historic site.
Lake Pepin and Lake City enjoy a rich history. The area is becoming even more popular every year as Lake Pepin is this vast body of water in an area of the southern MN and western WI that does not have many lakes and the few lakes that do exist are quite small. Combined with the areas beautiful scenery and recreational opportunities, Lake City and Lake Pepin enjoy a bright future for residents and visitors alike.
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Within a 15 and a 30-minute drive, Lake City is sandwiched between two Alpine skiing & snowboarding areas. Coffee Mill is just 15 miles south of Lake City along Highway 61 in Wabasha, MN and Welch Village is 30 minutes to the northwest just outside of Red Wing, MN.
Coffee Mill is a full-service ski area, but be sure to check operating days and times as they are limited, however, open most weekends and evenings. Its majestic setting overlooking the Mississippi River and its fabulous slopes and very reasonable rates for lift tickets, lessons, and rental equipment make it ideal for beginners and family outings. Coffee Mill features high capacity chairlifts for a first-rate skiing/snowboarding experience. Its beautiful, wooded, and unique bowl arrangement offers a very comfortable environment from the sometimes cold and windy weather. In addition, Coffee Mill has a ski school, ski patrol, night skiing, snowmaking equipment, and a full array of rental equipment. (coffeemillski.com)
Welch Village, located 30 minutes to the northwest of Lake City, is a full-service ski and snowboarding facility with a large number of runs and a large vertical drop. Its a beautiful drive through some of southeastern Minnesota’s most scenic and hilly countryside, situated on the Cannon River which flows into the Mississippi River at Red Wing. This stellar ski area offers 100% snowmaking coverage to assure the best conditions possible. It has an excellent lift capability to minimize waits in line and lots and lots of runs for all abilities (beginners to experts). Welch village has a full array of rentals, lessons, events, dining, live music, group/seasonal rates, and even a gift shop. (welchvillage.com)