EAST GULL LAKE, MN JUNE 13, 2016 – Cragun’s Resort is excited to announce the opening of the newest Brainerd restaurant, Irma’s Kitchen Restaurant on Thursday, June 16. Irma’s Kitchen is open to the public and reservations are recommended. They can be made by calling 218-825-2700. Chef Brian Diumenti said the name “Irma’s Kitchen” was chosen to acknowledge the important role that Irma Cragun played in the food service at Cragun’s Resort over the years. All food items will be made in house using many of Irma’s recipes and the freshest local ingredients.
Irma’s Kitchen is located on the south end of Cragun’s Resort in the building previously occupied by the Hungry Gull Restaurant. The building is one of the most historic Brainerd restaurants dating back to 1926. Walter and Lena Frampton were the original developers serving early fishermen and adventurers at Island View Resort. Lena cooked and served three hearty meals a day, lumberjack style. In 1946, Ben and Eleanor Curry became the new owners and added the dining room’s north wing with timbers coming from the Pine Beach Peninsula. In 1988 Dutch and Irma Cragun purchased Island View Resort and connected it to Cragun’s Resort. The building’s interior has been refreshed and includes the dining room, a market area and a lounge.
As for the food, the restaurant’s menu is divided into sections titled Social Plates, Garden, Between Bread, Steaks, Supper and Sides. Diumenti plans on showcasing local products and ingredients and will serve dishes like Artisanal Cheese & Charcuterie, deconstructed Cobb Salad, Pan-Seared Scallops, and Grass Fed Filet Mignon for dinner. For lunch and snacks, the menu will include a sunfish sandwich, drunken ox burger, and fun items to snack on. The menu will be updated frequently to take advantage of the local growing season.
Chef Diumenti has formed partnerships with local growers including Wild Acres Farm in Pequot Lakes, Yellow Rose Organics in Sebeka, Patchwork Farms in Nisswa, Doubting Thomas Farm in Moorhead, and Sprout Food Hub in Little Falls. Chef Brian recently spent a day at Yellow Rose Organics in Sebeka with owner Larry Heidkamp. Brian was able to experience the free range chickens, up close and personal, and also the fields where Larry has planted 20 varieties of potatoes. Yellow Rose Organics is a certified organic farm and Chef Brian said it was a very “friendly and happy” environment. The Market at Irma’s Kitchen will include retail menu packages for “cook in your cabin” family meals as well as local produce, meats and cheeses and soaps, salves and honey from Kowalzek’s Soothing Salves. The Kowalzeks’, who are beekeepers of 15 years who raise bees in Morrison County and practice natural beekeeping, will provide this line of products for the Market.
Irma’s Kitchen is adjacent to the Outdoor Pool and just up the hill from the popular south beach area of the resort. It will be open for lunch and dinner Monday-Saturday and will include full cocktail service. Cragun’s invites the public to come by boat or car. There is boat docking available at any of the docks on the south end and then it’s just a short walk to the restaurant. Irma’s Kitchen features stunning views of Brainerd’s famous Gull Lake and a family friendly, resort casual atmosphere.