When is the last time you indulged in a Drunken Pig or treated your taste buds to a Tipsy Cow? If you don’t know what I am talking about, then you have obviously never enjoyed a meal prepared by Lush Lola’s. A business that started in 2009 selling organically raised pork and eggs, Lush Lola’s is now a full-service catering company that specializes in creating unique, hand-crafted dishes for special events, festivals, and retail sale. Their most popular dish? The Drunken Pig!
Lush Lola’s is the brainchild of Shannon and Jim Malzahn. Shannon began her food career as a child working in her mom’s concession business. If there was a major fair or festival in North Dakota or Minnesota while she was growing up, chances are Shannon worked at it. Jim has a similar wealth of experience in the industry, so opening their own food business together seemed like a foregone conclusion.
Although their vision for creating distinctive and mouth-watering dishes has remained steadfast, Shannon and Jim have had to deal with a variety of setbacks throughout the years. The farming recession took their initial business in 2011. After creating Lush Lola’s in 2012, they endured a fire that took their main kitchen in 2016. Undeterred, they ventured on and wound up moving their business (and their entire family) to the Smokey Hills Wilderness Retreat in Osage, Minnesota. Thus began a new chapter for the Malzahn’s and Lush Lola’s.
The Malzahn’s now own Smokey Hills, which includes 19 cabins, their restaurant, an event center, a game room, a hot tub and sauna, and trails all tucked away on 67 acres. “We arrived May 15th, 2016 and were open by Memorial Day weekend. We opened the restaurant shortly afterward,” Shannon explained. “We started with Sunday brunch, which was immediately popular, and then experimented with a restaurant menu on some weekdays as well as special nights with specialties like BBQ ribs, a chicken buffet, and shrimp boils.”
Because the Malzahn family’s catering business is still in full swing, plans have changed a bit for the restaurant, which will now only have buffet style food and events on special days and evenings. “For 2017, that means BBQ ribs and chicken or the shrimp boil on Thursday nights (June through September), the Chuckwagon Supper Show on Friday nights (June 16th through Labor Day weekend) and Sunday Brunch (Mother’s Day through deer opener weekend),” Shannon explained. “The Chuckwagon Supper Show is new this year, but it’s a throwback to what a prior owner used to do with the same band of cowboys we have now.”
Shannon describes the restaurant, which seats up to one hundred, as Northwoods-styled. “Like our catering business, we are very ‘meat and potatoes,’ but with a twist — most of the time with the ‘twist’ being alcohol,” she explained. “We created the Drunken Pig (slow-cooked, beer-braised pulled pork) several years ago, and now have the Tipsy Cow, Wobbly Chicken, Saucy Shrimp, Champagne Dill Chicken, and several other favorites.” Lush Lola’s brunches include specialty egg bakes (including their popular Minnesota Wild Rice Eggs) and German Blueberry Pancakes, another crowd favorite.
Shannon would like to invite everyone out to the family restaurant and resort. “Come on out and take it all in,” she encouraged. “This property is very special and has so much to offer!” In addition to mouth-watering meals, the resort is also planning a variety of events including a new trail ride and an upcoming Halloween celebration. Next Memorial Day check out their seafood boil, complete with crawfish all the way from Louisiana.
If you are in the market for a Drunken Pig, or you feel like a Tipsy Cow is what has been missing from your life, give Lush Lola’s a visit. Keep them in mind for your next event as well! For more information on the restaurant, visit lushlolas.com. More information on the resort can be found at smokeyhillsretreat.com.
By Jamee Larson