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THE EATBEAT: Golden Lake resort features fried pickles, elk burgers

On Wednesday, the special is Italian food at Golden Lake Resort near Hatton, N.D. This cafe at Golden Lake has a special every night. And it welcomes summer visitors along with the 300 people who spend time on this manmade lake during the year.

On Wednesday, the special is Italian food at Golden Lake Resort near Hatton, N.D. This cafe at Golden Lake has a special every night. And it welcomes summer visitors along with the 300 people who spend time on this manmade lake during the year.

When I drove over there late in June with my granddaughter, Anne Sandstrom (AS), I was pleasantly surprised to find a spacious restaurant filled with customers early on a Sunday afternoon. We noticed most people were eating short orders such as burgers and fries and baskets of chicken strips. The place was full of families obviously out for a Sunday afternoon at the lake.

The resort menu offers an amazing number of choices for a somewhat remote lake location. There are the appetizers, salads and pizza, along with baskets, sandwiches, Mexican fare and dinners. The bestsellers are the pan-fried walleye filets that are served with choice of potato and a fresh vegetable ($13.95).

We were pleased to find breakfast is served all day and ordered eggs, toast and bacon. We waited quite a while -- maybe 30 minutes -- for our order. We didn't mind because AS and I were looking at the lake activity and were in no hurry. We could tell this was a rush time and were just happy to get a table.

We were amused at the description of some of the items on the sandwich menu. There is, for instance, an Atomic Burger topped with pepper jack cheese, jalapenos, bacon, onion and a spicy sauce. Also offered is an elk burger, described as lean, with just a touch of the wild. And there is -- of all things -- a Golden Lake Gut Bomb, a half-pound burger with all the fixings. The Hunter's Classic is a burger topped with pepper jack cheese and hickory-smoked bacon.

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Then, too, there are fried pickles. They are beer-battered and fried and served with a horseradish sauce.

Before leaving I visited with Jeff Ringstad, who operates the resort along with his wife, Lisa. They are in their second season and pleased with their lease. They have redecorated the large cafe area with colorful half-walls and tiki straw valances on the big windows that overlook the lake. There are cute touches such as wading boots and fish lures near the front door. They have tried to create a menu that is fun.

Jeff Ringstad is the resort's chief cook and enjoys what he is doing. He said business has been good. When he started a year ago, he never had done restaurant work. He got some help at the opening from his mother-in-law, Cindy Markusson of Lidgerwood, N.D. She has done restaurant work. The Ringstads have four sons, and the family spends the summer at Golden Lake. They live in Cooperstown, N.D., where he is an electrician and she is a schoolteacher.

Along with food, there are electronic games and a small supply of basic groceries at the resort. There has been a restaurant at the lake since the late 1950s, this the sixth year in the present building. Ringstad said the 550-acre lake was created in the 1940s.

The resort probably will be open through September. Ringstad has an August flyin planned. A plane will land on a nearby highway and give rides to kids. He looks for good business up until Labor Day and the month beyond. The lake is small and peaceful with a surprising number of large boats.

Reach Hagerty at mhagerty@gfherald.com or call (701)772-1055.

Related Topics: AGRICULTURE
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