Pine Lodge Steakhouse is operated along with Smiley’s and The Lodges at Sunset Village! Jonathan Kessler has assembled these three favorites of Deep Creek Lake over the past thirty-five years! Kessler was nicknamed Smiley at college. The businesses are all operated with a dedicated staff proud to provide excellent accommodations at The Lodges at Sunset Village… a growing cabin hotel suite property. The Food and Fun offered at Smiley’s B&G/Fun Zone provides great attractions and food at a great value! Pine Lodge Steakhouse steps up the dining experience in a rustic casual flavor fit for all western Maryland mountain resort guests! Get outside and when your done come to see us too!
Rustic Elegance since 2002
Pine Lodge Steakhouse begins our fourteenth season at Deep Creek Lake. Guests love our diverse menu serving outstanding hand cut beef, lobster, Chicken and pastas for lunch and dinner. The building is an impressive log lodge designed and built by local craftsmen in just 82 days! Pine Lodge Mercantile is an added bonus to the experience offering an exclusive selection of lake apparel and gift! We serve guests inside our four distinctive dining areas and outside on the Saloon level patio or the upper level deck.
Many people have asked why did you build a restaurant at Deep Creek Lake? And then how in the world did you do it in less than 90 days?
I have been lucky to enough to find a place to call home called Deep Creek Lake since 1981. I grew up near Hanover Pennsylvania and moved to Garrett County after graduation from college at the State University of New York at Alfred and originally found employment in the surveying engineering profession.
In the twenty years I have lived at the greatest place in the world I have made a living by identifying opportunity and developing the business to fulfill the need. Within a year of moving here I started down my business adventure road by opening a moonlight surveying company that took advantage of the energy that a 21 year old has and that my diary farming experience ingrained in me. That being…that your just getting warmed up after a forty-hour workweek.
I evolved into a real estate land developer because in the early 1980s that is where the opportunity presented it’s self at Deep Creek Lake. I have developed eight different projects of over 200 lots. This after being turned down at every local bank for a $1000 loan to buy my first 7 acres and having to visit the local neighborhood lending agent and pay 28% interest to make the first deal happen.
In 1990 I started building a miniature golf course then called Frontier Adventure Golf. I must admit my motive was largely directed by the fact that I loved to ski and had just bought a second home in Breckenridge Colorado. Since a mini golf business would only operate in the summer I would have my winters free to do one of my life’s passions…slide down hill at high speeds. That business has evolved into Smiley’s of today offering great family pizza as well as some quite impressive real food and the entertainment side of the operation includes the original golf course, batting cages, lazer tag, arcades, two go-cart tracks and bumper boats. With the help of terrific local talent we now operate a business that employees eighty full and part-time staffers. In 1996 when I saw the need for a better pizza restaurant; I teamed up with Joe Refosco as my food manager. Last year we exceeded our original revenue target by ten fold and Smiley’s is a productive profitable member of the community.
The fall of 2001 found Deep Creek Lake with a void of quality dining establishments. Deep Creek Lake is a particularly difficult place to operate business because we experience vast swings in the seasonality of our operations. Those swings put an extreme pressure on the labor pool as well as the facilities. The franchise players don’t like the fact that we generate nearly 75% of our revenue in the 14 week summer season. We have another advantage though…. great local labor talent. Couple that with the fact that Joe was ready to spread his wings a bit and it made the consideration of satisfying our resorts opportunity in fine dining very enticing.
The criteria for my new restaurant would be to serve great quality food in a relaxed atmosphere and in a building that would be in harmony with what people expect when they visit our mountain resort. I wanted a distinctly different theme than the corner franchise operations that our vacationers can have in their own neighborhoods back home. I wanted to explore the construction of the round log lodge buildings I have visited in other resort communities. Ohh and of course I wanted this all at prices competitive with the franchise units of the business.
Every year my wife Kathy and I travel to Tennessee for a buyers show for her business The Tourist Trap. In November we made the trip and since the seed was planted for this new restaurant we looked at the log dealers that had models along the way. I ultimately found a log company that I was impressed with and whom represented that this kind of commercial project on a very strict timetable was possible. I decided on a property that had been a restaurant in the past called Stray Cat Café. I signed a contract to purchase the property on November __, 2001. I began the design phase of the project immediately with local architect Robert Pernell. In less than 30 days we had the essentials of the design and had made submissions to the permitting agencies for building permits. The contract with Heritage Log Homes was negotiated and compared with several other log vendors and on December 27th we signed a contract for the log building material on the target of March 21, 2002 (my birthday). Heritage was committed to making the building design amendments necessary to contract our layout from the round log material that would provides the character we had decided would fill our desire for a great log lodge.
– Jonathan Kessler
- Maryland’s 10 Best Steakhouses!
- Google Cardboard Virtual Tour
- Lunch Features
- Art & Wine Festival Pairing Dinner!
- Oakland Farmer’s Market
- Legendary Creamy Crab Soup
- 2 Refreshing Summer Beers!
- Welcome to the Pine Lodge Steakhouse blog! A great restaurant at Deep Creek Lake!
- Teaser Salad
- Group Sales & Catering by Pine Lodge Steakhouse on site or off site
Pine Lodge offers freshly prepared food at a great value. Our dining experience feels like a secluded mountain retreat with exceptional views, knowledgeable staff, and a casual and relaxed atmosphere. Serving only the finest cuts of beef, fresh seafood like jumbo lump crab cakes and Pacific Rim Ahi Tuna, BBQ Baby Back Ribs, and more. A specialty of the house, and as must have, is the famous creamy crab soup- it's a favorite among the locals.
Mon - Thurs - 11am-10pm
Fri - Sat - 11am-11pm
Sun - 11am-9pm