MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — When it comes to eating out, where can be just as important as what.

When a restaurant combines great food with a great view, it doesn’t get much better.

So where can you enjoy the best dinner with a view? It’s right there in the name: Grand View Lodge in Nisswa.

It’s a scientific fact that pleasure and fulfillment occurs when one or more of our five senses are positively stimulated. It is through these senses that we navigate the world around us; sound, touch, smell, sight and taste.

“People will come, they’ll be on the rocks, they’ll have a bite to eat, they’ll take a walk to the lake and back, and it transports them,” said Mark Ronnei, general manager at Grand View Lodge.

At Grand View, “On The Rocks” means more than throwing some cubes in a cocktail glass.

“We were going for the rocks, you know, that real part of what northern Minnesota is all about,” Ronnei said.

He’s talking about On The Rocks, the newest outdoor dining experience at Grand View, which — like many other good things in life — was born through adversity.

“It was about three years ago, if we were sitting here in late July, we’d be on a pile of rubble from the deck that was collapsed by one of the big storms we had,” Ronnei said.

Back in July of 2015, a powerful storm ripped through the Brainerd Lakes Area, and this historic resort was right in its path.

“Making lemonade out of lemons, we decided to go for it and built On The Rocks,” he said.

In the footprint of the shattered deck behind the old lodge grew a beautifully-landscaped outdoor eating area that is fully deserving of the title “Best Dinner With A View.”

“The storm actually opened up a view of the lake, so we get a little bit more of a view of the lake,” he said. “Of the ‘grand view’ that existed when they built ‘Grand View.’”

The iconic walking path leading to the lake is bordered by fresh plantings of flowers, as twin waterfalls deliver a relaxing cadence to this “Eden-like” setting.

Appealing to our sense of taste are the great dishes that Grand View Lodge is famous for.

“I shouldn’t eat the Paul Bunyan burger anymore, which is a monster,” he said. “Another dish that I really love is our dry-rub wings.”

In true Grand View style, On The Rocks is a “must visit” venue if you’re in the Brainerd Lakes Area.

“Things just taste better outside. I mean, that’s why we’ve had picnics for all those years,” Ronnei said.

It is a picturesque setting that will put your senses to work, while the rest of you takes it easy.

“You want to build a memory of something different than what you do every day, at the same time surrounded by nature,” Ronnei said. “And maybe a little bit of luxury in there, too.”

The folks at Grand View are very excited about some new amenities they will unveil in July, including a 60-room boutique hotel and a new recreation center.

Chris Shaffer

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