Lookout Bar and Grill in Maple Grove, Minnesota

Before Maple Grove, MN became home to every chain-restaurant known to man, the locals were regulars at “The Lookout”. You can still play pull-tabs, listen to a band, or work up the nerve to try karaoke. The restaurant donates money to back to local schools on fund-raising nights and caters wedding and other special events.

Known for their chicken dinners and bottomless lunch buffet (don’t be surprised to see the local teamsters union in a booth next to a bunch of suits and ties), you can find traditional burgers and fries as well as a salad bar with iceberg next to mixed greens.

The best part of The Lookout Bar and Grill is the back patio. Encased in a fenced-area, the backyard patio has volley ball courts, horse shoe pits, a fire-pit, tables under a giant oak tree, and a playground structure. Why every restaurant in the world has not adopted this idea, is completely beyond me. Kids meals are served on a take-home Frisbee  (the “greenest” plate in town). While the self-entertainment is happening, parents enjoy a glass of beer or wine.  I never worry about getting a sun burn, as the oak trees favor those of us without pigment in our skin!

Many a night, we have met up with neighbors, co-workers, or friends…this is a place where one hour turns into three and before you know it the sun is shining more on California than the Midwest. Local coupons are always available for The Lookout (hint: stop at the Maple Grove Community Center just down the road and ask the ladies at the front desk). Or join the eClub online.

Lookout Patio Family Road Trip

About the Author

Julie Henning
Julie Henning is a freelance writer and journalist based out of Eugene, Oregon. She is a member of the Society of American Travel Writers and owner of the family-travel website RoadTripsForFamilies.com. She is a recent past member of the Midwest Travel Writers Association and the Association for Great Lakes Outdoor Writers. Julie is the Oregon Coast destination specialist for Bindu Media, an itinerary-focused website launching in Spring 2016 and featuring the work of 200+ professional, indie travel writers. Julie has been published in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, the Wisconsin State Journal, The Daily Journal (Kankakee, Illinois), the Rochester Post Bulletin, Wisconsin Natural Resources (DNR) Magazine, Sustainable Chicago Magazine, Group Tour Magazine, Student Group Tour Magazine, Silent Sports Magazine, Intercom Magazine, Roadtrippers.com, and FTF Geocacher Magazine. Julie has appeared on Wisconsin Public Radio, Ohio Public Radio, and KCBX FM Central Coast Radio and is an affiliate producer with the Journeys of Discovery with Tom Wilmer, a National Public Radio travel podcast. She has blogged for TravelWisconsin.com, Travel Oregon, and VISIT Milwaukee. Julie travels with her three kids and black lab as much as possible and lives by the motto, "Not all who wander are lost." Check out some of her best work at www.juliehenning.com.