Skyport Lodge on Devil Track Lake
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When The Landing at Devil Track closed in May 2015, the community was saddened at the loss of this lovely resort and restaurant. The Landing was a favorite not just of the people in the tight-knit Devil Track Lake community, but also of many folks who traveled from afar to enjoy a meal and good company. The Landing was a perfect spot to land, whether arriving by car, truck, snowmobile, boat, plane or seaplane. Those wanderers will be happy to hear the news that The Landing has been purchased by Cory and Rachelle Christianson of Grand Marais. The couple plans to open the doors for business in early December, 2016.

Rumors have been floating about the purchase for several months, but the Christiansons were quiet until the final closing on Wednesday, September 28. Rachelle contacted the Cook County News-Herald at press time to share the news.

And what experience does the couple have in resort/restaurant operations? Plenty, it turns out. Rachelle, who most recently was the patient support and enrollment specialist at Sawtooth Mountain Clinic, worked for many years in sales with Upper Lakes Foods. She said she has also worked in restaurants “almost all my adult life.” She has been involved in many aspects of restaurant operations from the kitchen to front of the house, as server and server trainer.

Cory, a fishing guide and outdoors columnist for the Cook County News-Herald, has kept his culinary talents hidden for many years. Rachelle explained that he has a “pretty impressive” background in managing a kitchen, having worked as a district manager for three diners in Des Moines, Iowa, including the five star Drake Diner.
And will he continue to be a fishing guide? Rachelle laughs, “He doesn’t want to give that up!”

So it is a good thing the guiding season is winding down. The couple will spend the next few months doing deep cleaning, painting and decorating. And of course determining what will be on the menu. “Cory’s really excited to get back in the kitchen, to establish the flow of our kitchen,” said Rachelle.

They will be looking for employees, she added. Anyone interested is encouraged to give her a call at (218) 388-0315 or email Christianson.rachelle@gmail.com.

In addition to the restaurant, the couple is looking forward to welcoming guests to the four vacation rental units and helping them get to know the area. They will be offering pontoon, motorboat, canoe and kayak rentals. Rachelle has a lot of ideas for other offerings for guests and community members. She is already planning an upgrade to the playground on the lawn and programs for kids—something the Christianson children— Sophia and Bo can also enjoy.

“Our goal is to be a fun, family-focused resort,” she said.

A resort that might bring back old memories for many. The Christiansons are also considering a name change, from The Landing, back to what the location was called when it was owned and operated by Dorothy and Clarence Krotz—Skyport Lodge. The old lodge was demolished and the current lodge built in 2000 and while everyone appreciates the look of the new resort, with its comfortable rental units, attractive dining area overlooking the lake and banquet room exiting onto the lakeside patio, there are some who miss the old resort name.

Skyport Lodge was so named because of its proximity to the Devil Track airfield and seaplane base—both of which are still nearby, so the new-old name would be very appropriate. Skyport could just be the perfect place for the Christiansons to land.

This story was published on October 4, 2016 by the Cook County News-Herald.
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