The 19th Hole
August 22, 2017
|Charlie's On Prior Restaurant
5 Reasons To Enjoy Prior Lakes' Next Big Thing
Tim CotroneoHave you ever noticed that dining with a fabulous view makes your food and drink taste better? That idea must have been Roger Burks' inspiration when he and his group built Charlie's on Prior Restaurant in 2015.
The two-tier restaurant and marina on beautiful Prior Lake features a panoramic view that is magazine cover worthy. The entrepreneurial Burks took the best parts of everything they learned from their previous restaurants and invested in a lakefront setting they believed was a dining "can't miss."
General Manager Shannon Burks described the early response from lake residents to be "overwhelming positive." If you're looking for a great spot for lunch, happy hour, dinner, Saturday and Sunday brunch, or the Vikings game, here are five reasons why Charlie's on Prior is worth the drive to Prior Lake.
1. Enjoy The Deck
Minnesotans love outdoor dining. Our hearty culture finds something heavenly about eating a meal or sipping a drink with friends outdoors. Charlie's on Prior features a "crows nest" upper deck off the main dining room, as well an elevated deck with a wharf bar, and a third deck right on the water. These triple your pleasure decks make the most of our state's al fresco obsession.
Charlie's outdoor deck is home to the Prior Punch. This mega rum cocktail, which serves up to four people, is served in a fish bowl. This special drink container and conversation starter is yours to keep upon finishing this summertime favorite.
Charlie's lake-level deck is a family friendly retreat. Kids are attracted like magnets to the prominent ice cream sign that greets guests upon arrival. Charlie's ice cream cones may be the dual secret to a happy childhood and happy parenting.
2. Enjoy The Food
Charlie's menu has something for everyone. It includes entrees and appetizers that are unique to Roger Burks' non-stop culinary imagination. When Shannon Burks was asked if there are certain menu favorites, she replied, "Anything walleye."
Customers devour Charlie's pan seared walleye, walleye sandwich, and walleye tacos. For those who wish to try choices beyond Minnesota's iconic fish, there is Charlie's Texas-Style Chili, a beautiful Seafood Salad, Tortellini Carbonara, Guava BBQ Pulled Pork sandwich, and a wealth of burger favorites.
If you want to watch Shannon Burks' eyes light up, ask her about Charlie's Saturday and Sunday Brunch. "I think our brunch that includes Eggs Benedict, Huevos Rancheros, French toast, and Belgian Waffles is one of my favorite breakfasts anywhere," Shannon said.
3. Enjoy The Marina And Events
Charlie's on Prior's 67-slip marina vastly exceeded Prior Lake residents' expectations. "Our slips are sold out. There is a waiting list from area boaters," Shannon said.
A restaurant on the lake needs to be ready for Minnesota's seasonal transition from summer to fall. At Charlie's, this shift means making the deck climate-friendly with a canvas wrap and ceiling heaters. Last winter, Charlie's proved to be an excellent hot spot for snowmobilers, Minnesota Vikings football, and winter events like Ice Golf on the lake.
4. Enjoy The History
Charlie's on Prior sits on a restaurant site that goes back almost 100 years. This property has always been a gathering spot for people in the Prior Lake community and beyond. Roger and his group felt a responsibility to this community when they constructed their new restaurant.
One way Charlie's pays tribute to Prior Lake's history is through the vintage photographs presented throughout the restaurant's interior. There's a giant wall photo of a famous water slide that was part of the resort that sat adjacent to Charlie's building footprint. This wall-sized reproduction dates back to 1937.
There are also a number of photos showing Prior Lake residents from days gone by. "We've had numerous customers who were thrilled to point out that an individual in one of the photos is a relative. Customers really appreciate seeing the history of our restaurant's roots," Shannon said.
5. Enjoy The View
Charlie's on Prior is named after one of Prior Lake's most influential citizens. Much of the land that is now Prior Lake flourished in the mid-1800s after the St. Paul railroad placed a route on the property owned by a man named Charles Prior.
Almost 200 years ago, Charles H. Prior had the foresight to own land on a site that the railroad found valuable. Today, there's a restaurant that knows if you treat your customers to a panoramic view, suddenly your food and drink taste that much better.
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