Hello readers! I figured it is high time I shared my favorite place to eat in Forest Lake: Vannelli’s on the Lake.
Vannelli’s has been a part of Forest Lake for many years, but not always in it’s current location. Before moving to the corner of Broadway and Lake St. in downtown Forest Lake, Ron Vannelli owned and operated the restaurant at the Castlewood Golf Course. Stella’s on 97 is now operating there. Vannelli’s moved into their current locale in 2010 and have been a leading dining establishment in Forest Lake for many years.
Why I Love Vannelli’s
So, why exactly do I love Vannelli’s? There are many reasons! Everyone has their own favorite place to dine, that go-to place that no matter what you order or who is working that night, you know you’re going to enjoy yourself. Here are just a very few reasons why I love to frequent Vannelli’s on the Lake:
The Wait Staff
- BEST SERVICE IN TOWN. Hands down. The days I tend to be there, we most often have the pleasure of Barb Pederson working in our seating section. Barb was recently awarded the 2018 Readers Choice Award for best Wait Staff ALL ON HER OWN, beating out entire restaurants in the Forest Lake area. I asked Barb a few questions today at lunch, figured I’d go directly to the source!
- What is your favorite food to eat here?
Oh my gosh, I have so many. Baked penne with sausage and boursin sauce.
- Most often ordered meal by customers?
Definitely the prime rib sandwich.
- Why do you love your job?
People. I love people.
- What keeps you coming back?
Same, definitely people. I love the team!
Barb is just one of the excellent staff they have at Vannelli’s. No matter what time of day you’re there, you will be taken care of!
- The menu at Vannelli’s is enormous. Understatement of the year, right there. There literally is something for everyone. From burgers to pasta, steaks to chicken, they’ve got you covered! Here are a few of my favorites that I’ve had in the past:
- Favorite dinner special: Alaskan Crab Legs
- Menu item (dinner): Marinated grilled chicken breast and risotto
- Favorite lunch: Spinach raspberry salad with feta cheese, almonds, and bacon (add a blackened chicken breast to it).
- Best burger: California burger
- Favorite pasta: Baked mac and cheese (add buffalo chicken breast)
The best part about their food? It is consistent. You can order the same thing each time you’re there and it won’t surprise you. Yes they have several chefs there and they’ll do their own spin but it is the same dish, therefore no guessing involved.
- 3 pm – 6 pm every day. 2 for 1 on MOST drinks. Long Island Teas or Moscow mules aren’t included for obvious reasons. They also have deals on some of their apps including chips and queso…the queso is awesome!
- Did you know you can order online from Vannelli’s for pick up? Yes, you can! I’ve done it once and it was slick! A lot of people order pizzas and carry them out for dinner. It is easy, self-explanatory, and convenient.
Catering and Events
- Biggest fear of catering or hosting a large event like a rehearsal dinner or big group? Cost. Don’t worry. Vannelli’s catering is extremely affordable and is of very high quality. I ordered some catering for a large group at church, I think I was feeding 20 – 25 people. All in for food, salad, bread, etc. was under $150 easily. In fact, it may have been closer to $125 now that I think about it. We had two pasta options (one sausage, one chicken), their house salad, and dinner rolls. My brother had his groom’s dinner at Vannelli’s and it was held in the large banquet room on the lakeside of the restaurant. Again, cost was excellent but more importantly the EASY of which we were able to set it up was amazing. because of the size of our family group, we were thinking we didn’t need that large of a room so we went across the street to Za’s (when it was still open) to see if we could rent the restaurant for the event. Because they never responded and then when they did it wasn’t as easy to get it set the way we’d like as it was at Vannelli’s, we booked the banquet room at Vannelli’s. We did the Italian pasta buffet with italian sausage and the whole works. It was perfect and the service was superior.
Vannelli’s on the Lake is a great place to grab some lunch, catering a wedding reception, and everything in between. My real estate team and I often have our team meetings there over apps. It is a friendly and hometown kind of place that anyone can feel comfortable in. Whether you pop in for happy hour or if you throw a surprise party in one of their banquet rooms, you’ll be well cared for. Above all, their service really can’t be beat and you can’t put a price on that.