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Sherwood North restaurant now open in historic Sherwood Forest Lodge in Lake Shore

New owners want to channel the Upper Midwest supper clubs of the past with simple but classy dining.

Sherwood North (3)
The historic Sherwood Forest Lodge on Interlachen Road in Lake Shore is now the home of Sherwood North.
Megan Buffington / Echo Journal
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LAKE SHORE — Paul Fitzpatrick has likely worked at more restaurants in the Brainerd lakes area than anyone else.

He started as a dishwasher at Ernie’s On Gull. Around 2000, he worked at the now-closed Nisswa Grill, and he spent time at the Hickory Grill, which was located where Dunmire’s is now on Highway 210, east of Brainerd.

After spending time bouncing around restaurants, Fitzpatrick went to school for photography in 2003. A few years later, he attended culinary school in Minneapolis.

“I always worked in kitchens, and then all of a sudden I was just like, ‘Wow, I kind of like doing this,’” Fitzpatrick said. “So I decided to go to culinary school and went from there.”

After school, Fitzpatrick spent some more time bouncing around the Brainerd lakes area.

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“I opened Cru (Restaurant and Wine Bar) at Grand View Lodge. I was at Madden’s (On Gull) for quite a few years, went and (helped open) Main Street Ale House in Nisswa,” Fitzpatrick said. “And then ended up here.”

“Here” is the Sherwood North restaurant at the historic Sherwood Forest Lodge on Interlachen Road between Lake Margaret and Gull Lake in Lake Shore. After years of cooking and managing kitchens, Fitzpatrick finally has a restaurant of his own.

A friend from Brainerd High School, Fitzpatrick’s alma mater, was interested in buying Sherwood Forest Lodge. He called Fitzpatrick and asked if he wanted to open a restaurant in the building.

Sherwood North (1)
From left: Logan McAllister, Sherwood North chef, and Angie Broadhead and Paul Fitzpatrick, Sherwood North owners and chefs shown in July 2022.
Megan Buffington / Echo Journal

Now, Fitzpatrick and his fiancee, Angie Broadhead, own Sherwood North.

“I always said to myself, ‘By the time I’m 40, I’d like to own my own restaurant,’” Fitzpatrick said. “I turned 40 last February, and then my friend called me. So I was like, ‘Well, that worked out pretty well.’”

Sherwood North (2)
The historic stone fireplace in Sherwood Forest Lodge.
Megan Buffington / Echo Journal

Sherwood Forest Lodge was built in the late 1930s. The story goes it was built with California redwood logs bound for Duluth harbor that were abandoned at a lakes area warehouse. The lodge was part of a resort owned by Eva and Edward Ruttger from 1935 to 1946.

The cabins that went with the resort are now privately owned, and the lodge became a restaurant sometime after 1979. Though the building has changed hands many times, its designation on the National Register of Historic Places means the main structure looks very similar to how it did almost 100 years ago.

Sherwood Forest lodge in Lake Shore will reopen this spring as an events center managed by Prairie Bay restaurant in Baxter. After opening in the spring of 2012 as Sherwood Forest Tavern, that restaurant closed last December. That came after the ...

With Sherwood North, Fitzpatrick’s focus is on classy but simple food and dining. He hopes to channel the supper clubs, a staple of the Upper Midwest, that were especially popular in the lodge’s early years.

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“I grew up with Bar Harbor and the Channel Inn - you know, not too fancy. You can come in the bar and have a beer,” Fitzpatrick said. “We want to bring back (food) like our walleye. It’s big. It’s simple. It’s just a huge filet of walleye on wild rice; it’s got some dill sauce on it. But it’s just a simple breading, pan fried. And people love it.”

Add in classic sides like cheesy potatoes and you have meals that remind people of the food they grew up eating when they went out.

“I think they like that kind of feel,” Fitzpatrick said. “It’s a good feel.”

Broadhead has her share of time in food service, having worked at Zorbaz on Gull for 10 years. Even with their combined years of experience, ownership brings new challenges.

“I’m wondering why I ever wanted to own a restaurant,” Fitzpatrick joked. “I think the toughest thing is I want to be back there cooking, but also we have to run a business.”

Like most other area restaurants, Sherwood North is struggling with staffing. Fitzpatrick, Broadhead and their friend, Logan McAllister, are the only ones cooking and doing kitchen prep work.

It’s big. It’s simple. It’s just a huge filet of walleye on wild rice; it’s got some dill sauce on it. But it’s just a simple breading, pan fried. And people love it.
Paul Fitzpatrick

They have good bartenders and servers, but with each new night being their busiest night ever, the need for more staff continues to grow. Eventually, Fitzpatrick would like to open for lunch services, but that can only happen if they have more employees.

“Once fall comes we’ll change the menu just a little bit,” Fitzpatrick said. “We’d like to hopefully get open at least on weekends for lunch would be nice. We’ll be open year-round; we’ll just see what the winter brings.”

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Even with the growing labor of love, Fitzpatrick and Broadhead are happy with the business they are building.

“We’re just excited to be part of the community, being able to do this in an iconic building that’s been here so long,” Fitzpatrick said. “(With) our history in the community, it’s nice to be able to do this and show people that we want it to work and we want it to be the best we can do. We want it to be the best food we can put out and the best drinks and the best service.”

Megan Buffington, Echo Journal intern, may be reached at 218-855-5854 or megan.buffington@pineandlakes.com . She is a 2021 Pequot Lakes High School graduate who attends the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

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