By Jason DeRusha

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — It was a beloved spot on Long Lake just West of Ridgedale Mall: Billy’s Lighthouse. But Billy’s sat vacant for almost 10 years until another Long Lake restaurant owner spent huge money bringing it back to life. And it is gorgeous.

So, on Thursday morning, DeRusha Eats at Birch’s On The Lake.

You could call Burt Joseph the Supper Club savior.

What used to be Billy’s was an abandoned, rotting, nearly forgotten eyesore where Interstate 394 leads into Long Lake.

“Anything with the word ‘long’ in it seems like it’s a long way away,” Joseph said, laughing.

It’s just 15 minutes from downtown Minneapolis, but Birch’s On The Lake has a room that feels like you’re literally, on the lake.

“People will sit here longer, they’ll sit over two hours, and just relax,” Joseph said.

Upstairs is supper club: There, chef Jon Boetel’s serves refined comfort food: big shrimp, clams and sausage in the deeply flavorful seafood boil. There’s also lamb tartare with mustard vinaigrette and harissa aioli.

Downstairs is the Birch’s Brewpub.

Brewmaster Brennan Greene grew up around here. After years in a St. Louis craft brewery, he came home to run his own show.

For More On Brewery: Tap Talk Feature – Birch’s On The Lake

“Making the beers I like to drink and hope other people like them, too,” he said. “This is awesome. It’s been my lifelong dream.”

He’s doing some cool things, like coffee chocolate golden ale.

The design downstairs feels industrial. Upstairs it melds an up north feel with the luxe of a Vegas lounge. And the food makes you as happy as the views.

Birch’s is open Wednesday through Sunday and they have brunch on the weekend in the brew pub.

In case you want to know why they’re closed Monday and Tuesday, it’s because they brew on those days, which is a process that, frankly, stinks.

Jason DeRusha