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Pestello reflects on time under the bobber

Mike Pestello has owned Pestello's Bar and Grill for 14 years, and has locations in Pequot Lakes, Backus and Outing. Photo by Dan Determan

There are plenty of bars and restaurants in the lakes area, including Pestello's Bar and Grill with locations in Pequot Lakes, Backus and Outing.

The restaurant is owned by Mike Pestello, who purchased the Pequot Lakes location 14 years ago.

"It has been a good bar for a long time," Pestello said. "It is in a nice area with good people. The business has changed a lot, and this area has lost a lot of young people, but the people here are good, hard-working, honest people. I have had a lot of bars in the Twin Cities area, but these are pretty good people here."

The Fridley native has owned bars - along with used car dealerships - for roughly 40 years. Having moved to the area in 1980, he bought and sold a number of bars in the Twin Cities before looking into locations closer to home.

"It is not an easy business," Pestello said. "You really have to pay attention and watch. The bar business is not easy anymore. It is all a little tougher now. It makes money though."

He and his wife, Elaine, have been married for 55 years. Together they have five children - two sons and three daughters.

His sons, Billy and Curtis, have followed in their father's footsteps. Billy owns Billy's Bar and Grill in Breezy Point and Curtis helps his father with his three restaurant locations. Pestello believes both of his sons have been doing a fine job in a difficult profession.

Plans are in motion to possibly "fix up" the Pequot Lakes location in the near future. Pestello plans to add a new bar top and more TVs to the building, as well as alter the restaurant's specials.

"Age comes into play when you are in your mid-70s," Pestello said. "We don't want to do much work anymore."

In his free time, Pestello enjoys golfing, fishing and spending time with his grandchildren.

He also uses the bar in a charitable effort as well, with proceeds from the establishment's pull tabs going to the Northern Lakes Youth Hockey Association for more than a decade.

"They were just starting when we got on board, and we have a hockey background," Pestello said. "Billy played a lot growing up and we were involved in coaching. It just seemed like a good fit."

Pestello hopes to sell the restaurant in the near future, and plans to retire after a deal is made. However, he knows that people won't forget his time serving the community.

"We have had nothing but good things to say about the whole community," Pestello said. "It is going to be passed on to someone. Even if I dropped over tomorrow, it would still be Pestello's."

Dan Determan
Staff Writer for the Pineandlakes Echo Journal weekly newspaper
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