Hey! My name is Spencer Pankonin for those who don’t know me. I am a local Realtor here in Prior Lake. I grew up in Lakeville and went to Lakeville South High School where I graduated in 2011. Headed to college in Aberdeen, SD to play division II basketball for Northern State University and get my degree in Marketing and Advertising with a minor in Entrepreneurship. After graduation, I dove right into the world of Real Estate. I am a third-generation Realtor following in my Grandpa and my Dad’s footsteps. I moved to Prior Lake in September and I absolutely love it. I am extremely passionate about food and would absolutely label myself as a “foodie”. I a going to start a blog series and I thought what better way to start than naming my top five restaurants in Prior Lake. Once things get back to normal, make sure you get your reservations at these awesome restaurants. I hope you enjoy it!
Coming in at number five we have The Pointe Bar and Grill. I am going to be honest; you won’t necessarily be blown away by the food. Although, the entertainment and atmosphere of this bar are hard to beat! They have a stage that is booked with live performances throughout the week. They have A TON of TVs and a large projector screen for the big games. This place is perfect for large group gatherings or a night out. Not to mention their kids special, Sunday-Wednesday kids eat free with the purchase of an adult meal!
Now let’s talk about food. They have great bar food with a ton of options and a huge menu. My personal favorite is their pork belly Cuban. Braised and seared pork belly on ciabatta with ham, swiss, pickles & mustard. Overall you are going to have a good time when you come to The Pointe and most likely a few beers as well.
At number four we have PLate on Main. An American eatery at its roots. Plate brings an Uptown Minneapolis feel to downtown Prior Lake. The aesthetic of the restaurant is modern and chic. PLate is perfect for a business meeting or the first stop for a night out. They have an outstanding menu and went for a more high-end feel with the pricing and options. Its location is very convenient on main street. Allowing you to stop and grab a craft beer at Boathouse Brothers Brewery before dinner.
Like I said, their menu is well thought out and I have yet to order a dish I don’t love! If you like seafood, I would highly recommend their Seven Seas Pasta. This dish includes shrimp, scallops, clams, mussels, crab, oysters, portabella mushrooms, cherry tomatoes, and linguine in a lobster-red sauce. It will blow you away! Plate is, in a way, ahead of its time as it reflects the “look” and “vibe” of the future Downtown Prior Lake.
This may come as a surprise to some people but at number three we have Edelweiss Bakery. This is an absolute staple to downtown Prior Lake. It is definitely a “before noon” kinda place. Stop in here for a meeting or to just simply relax and have a cup of coffee. They offer donuts, loaves of bread, and a variety of pastries bringing you back to your childhood. The atmosphere is incredibly welcoming and cozy. They want you to feel like family when you walk in the doors and they sure do a great job of that.
Established in 2005 after the owners lived in Europe for 14 years. They knew this town needed that small-town bakery and made it happen. Edelweiss also offers custom cakes for weddings, birthdays, and really any event in life. You can walk into Edelweiss and meet new people over a cup of coffee in a welcoming environment. Truly a great addition to the downtown area.
At number two we have Perrons Sul Lago. An elegant Italian eatery with a high-end feel. Located in downtown Prior Lake this is one of the very few options for Prior Lake residents to enjoy a high-end meal in a fancier atmosphere. A lot of reviews labeled this place as a “hidden gem” which I would agree with. It is sort of hidden and you truly wouldn’t expect much as you walk up to the storefront. I promise you will be pleasantly surprised when leaving this place.
They have a huge wine selection which is a favorite for many locals. It’s a great place for a martini or a higher-end cocktail. I have loved every meal I have had here, although, by far my favorite dish was the scallop gnocchi. Sea scallops, bacon, onions, peas, fresh herbs, cream & parmesan, tossed with gnocchi. This dish has it all. Overall, we are very lucky we have this option for that special occasion.
Last but not least, we have Charlies on Prior. A restaurant and marina located right on the lake. The atmosphere of Charlies is VERY hard to beat. They offer various dining experiences which makes it feel like a new trip every time. They have an indoor upper dining room with a patio and a full menu with awesome selections. They also offer brunch and a bloody mary bar on weekends. Downstairs they have a waterfront bar and a large outdoor patio. Their menu is a little smaller down there offering more appetizers, small bites, and handhelds. The patio area is also “dog on leash” friendly! This is also where a lot of their live music happens during the summer months.
This place is perfect for large gatherings, parties, drinks, and really anything when the weather is nice! Sitting on the patio in the summer is like going on a vacation in your own town. It’s truly hard to beat the atmosphere and energy of Charlies.
Now let’s talk about food! Some favorite appetizers are the big buoy pretzel and the fried avocadoes. The pretzel is…I kid you not… the biggest pretzel I have ever seen. It will feed at least four people! The fried avocadoes are a very unique item that doesn’t seem to make sense texturally, but it works! They are beer-battered, dusted with queso fresco and southwest seasoning, and served with a jalapeño ranch. Are you hungry yet!? The rest of the menu has a ton of options whether you are feeling Mexican, seafood, or pit BBQ they will have something you are craving. One of my personal favorites is the Charlies BBQ plate. Beef brisket, pulled pork, hot link, sweet corn cake, and choice of two sides. This one is perfect for sharing and their sweet corn cake with jalapeño bits is to die for! I could go all day about their food and the quality. Yes, the atmosphere is amazing, but they don’t forget to also put amazing food on your plate.
For me, this was a very easy first place. Charlies on Prior just simply does it right and we are very lucky to have such an awesome spot to spend our Summers together.
Prior Lake is ever-changing and growing. We still have the small-town feel with places like Edelweiss Bakery but get crowds from all over the Metro area coming into town for a meal at Charlie’s on Prior. It’s such an awesome mix of different dining experiences. With new restaurants popping up almost monthly, I look forward to making an updated list in the coming months. Last but not least, if there is a restaurant on this list you haven’t eaten at yet, reach out to me and I would love to meet you and pay for dinner or lunch! I moved to Prior Lake in September 2019 after living in Lakeville my whole life and would love to get to know more people in the area.
Everyone stay safe and cheers!