Brainerd's downtown Log Cabin served grub, weighed game
TJ’s Log Cabin Bar & Restaurant on South Seventh Street was popular for many years before it permanently closed. Everett Lassig formerly owned the place known for its “moose feed” and wild game weighing, but the downtown building is now home to a Mexican restaurant.
The Log Cabin in downtown Brainerd no longer exists except as a fond memory for many local residents and hunters.
The South Seventh Street establishment was known for its “moose feed” and where wild game could be weighed before processing.
“It was a great tavern. Of course, my dad had Grain Belt beer in there, you know?” Carl Faust, a local historian, said Friday, Nov. 5.
Located in the 300 block of South Seventh Street, it changed ownership until finally the Mexican restaurant Senor Patron’s opened at the former site of TJ's Log Cabin Bar & Restaurant.
Faust said of Lassig’s Log Cabin in the late ‘60s and early ’70s, “He was the weigh-in station for the city, basically. You had a bear or you had a moose or you had a deer or whatever that's where you go to weigh them in. … And, of course, that brought in a lot of business.”
Photos from the Crow Wing County Historical Society in Brainerd date as far back as the 1930s with a log bench in front of the business before Lassig owned and operated it beginning in 1950.
“He had his annual moose feed and that thing was absolutely huge,” Faust said. “It was at least one whole day. And then he’d start probably at 10, 11 in the morning. And you’d hear stories about business being so good it was lined up around the corner, around the block.”
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Lassig reportedly hosted a wild game feed in the spring with at least a dozen different kinds of animals to sample and supposedly attracted sportsmen from all over the state.
“If anyone was the P.T. Barnum of Brainerd, it was Everett,” Faust said. “We had several active bar owners in town … but only Everett was always at the bar, always tending the bar, directing traffic and promoting his business.”
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Faust raved about the establishment’s Alley Burger on Facebook posts and on his website, writing “SOFT bun, big and good. Just a good old-fashioned tasty burger,” while others on social media also commented on the good food.
Faust said of the eatery’s annual “moose feed,” “It was probably moose meat and gravy, I suppose, and potatoes, you know? And the old joke was how little moose is in Everett's moose feed this year because I think he highly subsidized it with hamburger, you know?”
Others on Facebook remembered the aquarium at Lassig’s Log Cabin in downtown Brainerd, which Faust said made the establishment an attraction.
“He had live fish there — walleyes, Northern sunfish, bass and all the species that you find around here — and that was kind of towards the back of the building towards the restroom,” Faust said. “This thing was probably 10 feet long, 2 feet deep. And that was just quite a sight.”
According to Faust, an addition was later built on to the north side, right up to Lassig’s right of way in the alley, called the “Friendship Room.”
“They wanted a place to lease out for parties and this and that. He was the first one to have a drive-up liquor store, so I don't know if that extension to the north was built for that first and I seem to recall city council wasn't really tickled pink with a drive-up liquor store,” Faust said.
“If anyone was the P.T. Barnum of Brainerd, it was Everett.”
— Carl Faust, local historian
Lassig was born in Rhinelander, Wisconsin, and died in Brainerd in 1986 at the age of 80. But like his establishment, he is still remembered fondly in Facebook posts about his business.
Faust said of Lassig’s drive-up liquor store, “You'd pull up with your pickup, there, and you’d order a 12-pack or whatever, and never even have to get out of the vehicle so he was kind of light-years ahead of time.”
FRANK LEE may be reached at 218-855-5863 or at firstname.lastname@example.org . Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/DispatchFL .