Published January 03, 2010, 12:00 AM

Resort takes cafe and bar onto the ice

The concept of a “cool dining experience” is about to take a new twist on Lake of the Woods.

By: Brad Dokken , Grand Forks (N.D.) Herald

The concept of a “cool dining experience” is about to take a new twist on Lake of the Woods.

Zippel Bay Resort north of Williams, Minn., is introducing an on-the-ice establishment where anglers and other visitors can stop in for some hot food and a cold drink. There’ll also be satellite TV and drilled ice holes available for rent.

The Zippel Igloo, as it’s tentatively called, was hauled onto the lake Thursday and was expected to start serving customers this weekend, according to Deanna Painovich, who owns Zippel Bay Resort with her husband, Nick.

“We’re planning on putting it out in the area where we’re ice fishing and catering food and spirits out to this building,” Nick Painovich said. “It will be kind of a convenience for our guests if they would like to have a bite to eat and a cocktail or pop or whatever.”

According to Painovich, the menu will include short-order items such as brats and Polish sausage, soup and chili. All of the food will be catered from the restaurant and kept warm in heating trays. Beverages, too, will be catered from the resort and everything will return to shore at the end of the day.

As the name suggests, the sprayed-foam building is shaped like an igloo with a 12-foot ceiling in the main part of the structure, which measures 20x35, and a 12-foot dormer where people enter.

Painovich said the Zippel Igloo will seat about 40 people. There’ll be propane heat and gas lights, he said, along with a generator for supplemental electric light and the satellite TV.

The Igloo will be open from about noon until 10 p.m. or so, Painovich said. How many days a week will depend on traffic.

“We’re going to play that by ear based on reservations and people traveling through the area that like to stop in and enjoy it,” he said.

Zippel Bay Resort for years has plowed and maintained a marked ice road on that part of the lake. That means it’s easy enough to drive from the ice to the resort, but Painovich said some people have said they’d like the convenience of having a place right on the lake.

So, Painovich said, the resort upgraded its restaurant license to cater food and liquor. It’s no different, he said, than the license required for catering parties or other events. He said The Igloo also will provide another option for people who stay in the resort’s overnight “sleeper” houses or those who keep private shelters on that part of the lake.

Painovich said the resort will move the Igloo every week or two, but probably not as often as the rental ice houses.

“It’s something we’ve thought about for years,” he said. “We’ve always taken box lunches and whatnot out to our guests, and we thought this would be a great service to have right out on the ice.”

Brad Dokken reports on outdoors for the Grand Forks (N.D.) Herald, a Forum Communications newspaper.