Photos by Hillary Ehlen
Refreshing, ice-cold beer shot straight from a glycol-cooled line at 31 degrees. Locally-made wood tabletops. An outdoor patio seating over 100 people. A wall full of barbecue national championship accolades. And unforgettable woodfire dishes made from scratch. You can find all these things and more at Spitfire Bar & Grill’s new Detroit Lakes location.
Known for their rotisserie and flame broiled food, Spitfire has been a culinary staple in West Fargo since 2007. When the space at 1100 North Shore Drive in Detroit Lakes opened up, the Spitfire team decided to expand its reach to the water.
This new Spitfire was brought to Detroit Lakes by co-owners and brothers Craig and Bryan Wendt along with business partner Tyler Brandt and West Fargo Spitfire’s original owner Tim Olson.
In lakes country, Detroit Lakes often is seen as the center of attention, partially thanks to the number of exciting restaurants and businesses there. Craig Wendt said, “All the other restaurants help us by bringing people down here to Detroit Lakes.” He added that on a trip to the lake, one might be in the mood for casual dining one day and then a sumptuous steak the next. Lucky for them, Spitfire has both a patio and dining area to satisfy all of their cravings.
It’s no difficult task to find delicious food at any Detroit Lakes restaurant. However, Spitfire stands out in its attention to detail toward its environment and state of the art services. Wendt noted that there were no expenses barred when it came to designing the space, especially in terms of landscaping. Wendt’s other business being Valley Landscaping, this passion for landscaping shows.
Wendt joked that if you peer through the trees, you can see the lake from Spitfire’s patio. While not directly on the water, there is no confusion that this is a lake restaurant. With one of the largest patio seating spaces in the area and an overall atmosphere of a relaxing day on the lake, this space is the epitome of waterside dining.
The outdoor area alone features two gas fire features, two wood fire features and a water fountain. The custom landscaping includes an impressive stone couch and a privacy wall adorned with annual florals and vintage oars. The lawn has fresh foliage at every turn and ample space to play a game of corn hole while waiting for your table. Throughout the space are thoughtful lake-inspired decor pieces, like vintage skis crossed and hung above the fireplace and dock railing at the entrance.
While the pièce de résistance of Spitfire is its breathtaking patio, the interior portion is impressive in its own right. Most notable is the kegerator which keeps long island teas and wine on tap and flowing. There is a main dining area and two private banquet rooms, perfect for the busy summer season. All surfaces from the bar to the various styles of tabletops were custom made by local carpenter Kevin Phifer. Further keeping a local influence on the space, all the artwork hung throughout is by Fargo artist Mike Marth.
Before Spitfire was Speakeasy, and before Speakeasy was the Elks Lodge. To the Detroit Lakes regular, the building is different than what it was before. Wendt said, “We took a building that was really in tough shape and revitalized it and gave it a really unique facelift.” While the four walls of the space remain the same, Wendt noted that the entire inside was redone completely. He said, “There’s some history in the building. In today’s society where everyone tears down and builds new, we repurposed. And that gives it some of its character, too.”
Come for the slow-smoked ribs or come for a glass of wine under the shade of the pergola. Either way, Spitfire Bar & Grill is a must see and a must taste when in Detroit Lakes.
Spitfire Bar & Grill
1100 North Shore Drive, Detroit Lakes, MN
Monday – Friday: 11 a.m. – close
Saturday & Sunday: 9 a.m. – close
Saturday & Sunday Brunch: 9 a.m. – 11 a.m.