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Lakes Area Dining: McCabe's: not what you would expect

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On the long stretch of County Highway 3 after Merrifield and before Crosslake, there is one building that sticks out for a couple of reasons.

The first reason one might notice McCabe’s Pub in Mission Township is because there are so few buildings around it. The bar and grill is positioned in an area surrounded by lakes, cabins, small resorts, large lake homes, a handful of small businesses and little else.

The other is the sign. A shamrock is positioned right behind the word McCabe’s which leads one to believe they are entering an actual Irish pub. Don’t expect to find any leprechaun’s in the former Cheek’s. What the new establishment lacks in Irish flair, however, they make up for in a clean environment and fairly priced food.

Potato soup, hunter’s pie and Irish stew were absent from the menu, but that doesn’t mean it lacked surprises.

Right away on the appetizer menu are two versions of lavash, or a thin flatbread that is popular in the Middle East. The barbecue chicken lavash with tomatoes was interesting, new to this writer and not something you would expect to experience at an Irish pub. Quesadillas, wings, nachos and potato skins are also available for appetizers.

Burgers range from $8 to $8.95 and specialty sandwiches are available. On this night, a steak sandwich sounded good. The well-cooked steak was placed between two pieces of Texas toast. The fries, either homemade or crunchy, fit the bill for a filling dinner. Nothing outrageous or spectacular, but well prepared and for $9.95 not overly priced.

There is a kids menu as well as pizzas, which are cooked in a large pizza oven. What may surprise visitors is McCabe’s modest, but unexpected dinner entree list.

Italian dishes like cheese tortellini and penne pasta are available along with the chicken Marsala, walleye, French cut pork chops and flat iron steak. It’s nothing flashy, but for those wanting to break away from a burger and a beer there are options. The walleye and steak are the most expensive items on the menu at $14.95.

The bar area is nice and looked to be well stocked. There was even Guinness beer, which is about the only Irish thing one can find at McCabe’s.

There are pool tables, dart boards and video games in the game area.

There isn’t much for views looking out from McCabe’s other than that long stretch of highway. But if you’re on that road and need a little luck of the Irish, McCabe’s is a worthy (and your only) choice.

JEREMY MILLSOP, sports writer, may be reached at 855-5856 or Follow on Twitter at

Jeremy Millsop
My career at the Brainerd Dispatch began May 11, 1999 after graduating from North Dakota State University. My areas of emphasis includes local high school sports, Central Lakes College, the lakes area golf mecca and once a year I dabble in the NHRA when the Lucas Oil Nationals come to Brainerd International Raceway.
(218) 855-5856