The Lookout Bar and Grill continues to serve the community.
Celebrating 65 years in business this past May, The Lookout Bar and Grill serves a slice of Minnesota’s Northwoods charm with every order. From its mouthwatering house wings to its juicy burgers, all of the handcrafted eats are among the best in the Metro.
Maple Grove Fire Department assistant chief and resident Mike Kinnan is a second-generation owner, taking over his dad’s (Robert Kinnan) dream and making it his own, continuing its legacy from 1958. (Robert’s parents, George and Myrtle Kinnan, originally rented the bar, previously a barn, to Robert. Vivian Kinnan, Robert’s wife, also worked at the bar for several years.)
When The Lookout Bar and Grill first opened its doors, it looked drastically different from what folks know today. There was no kitchen or dozens of workers hustling and bustling, but it was run by one, Kinnan’s father, Robert.
“He wanted to be in business for himself,” Kinnan says. “It started out as a little bar, and then it took off from there.”
Built on the values of hard work, care and community-involvement, the restaurant has grown to be an “in town getaway.” Kinnan says, “[We] support the local community like we’re in small town USA because when we started, Maple Grove was a village.”
Although the city has changed, The Lookout’s core beliefs remain the same. “Take care of those who take care of you,” Kinnan says. “The day doesn’t end when it ends; it ends when you get everything done.”
Walking into the restaurant, originality seeps through its rustic wooden paneling. Visitors are met with The Lookout’s framed original menu, including a cheeseburger for 50 cents and french fries for 35 cents.
“All the way around the bar there [are] pictures from the old days,” he says. Images dating all the way back to the 1950s are hanging above the bar paying tribute to its roots.
Today, The Lookout has 80 items on its menu, three food trucks and 17 catering centers. Analogously to its start, the restaurant offers homestyle cooking, dishing up everything from barbecue to blackened Cajun steak power bowls. “[You get] a good old-fashioned meal for a reasonable price,” Kinnan says.
About 2,500 pounds of broasted chicken are sold each week, clearly a restaurant specialty. “If it’s Monday night, there’ll be buckets and buckets of chicken going out the door,” he says.
Residing out back is a flagpole that is one of the highest points in Hennepin County, proving the restaurant continues to be a pinnacle in Maple Grove both figuratively and physically.
“That’s where the name came from,” he says. “You can see the Minneapolis skyline. You can see The Shoppes at Arbor Lakes. It’s a beautiful view.”
That flagpole was put up in 2001 in dedication to the fallen victims of the September 11, 2001 attacks. “I’m one of the Maple Grove Fire assistant chiefs, [and] I’ve been with the city for 35 years,” Kinnan says. “We did a big celebration and honored the men and women that passed away.”