For almost two decades, Pine Lodge Steakhouse has been a go-to favorite for fine dining and friendly service. New owners Rhonda and Bob Cox plan to follow the successful formula that has made Pine Lodge a favorite among visitors and locals alike.
Pine Lodge Steakhouse opened its doors on May 22, 2002. Built and conceived by local developer Jonathan “Smiley” Kessler and his wife Kathy, the restaurant with its rustic lodge atmosphere and delicious food based on old family recipes was an immediate hit.
Rhonda started working with Smiley and Kathy eight years ago and became General Manager of the restaurant in 2018. When Smiley decided to retire this past spring, Rhonda was a natural choice to take over the business. Over the past thirty years, Rhonda has worked at some of the most popular restaurants at Deep Creek Lake. She started at Red Run working withJim and Kathy Gibson, then worked at Will O’ the Wisp with Martin Heise, at Black Bear with Keith Handyside and, most recently, Smiley. “I’ve had the privilege of working with some of the really great restaurant owners in our area,” says Rhonda. “They taught me everything from the importance of customer service, how to treat employees fairly, and the finer details of presentation — they have all had an influence on me,” she adds.
With his expansive business experience and, most importantly, willingness to take on any aspect of the business for its success, Bob has also found his niche in the restaurant industry. The two have been together nearly twenty years and are enjoying this new adventure together. In fact, it has truly become a family business with their three grandchildren helping out as they can.
Pine Lodge Steakhouse is just that – a beautiful lodge with a rustic log cabin feel, a number of cozy fireplaces and beautiful views. In addition to several spacious dining rooms, there is also a saloon on the ground level as well as pet friendly outdoor and deck seating during the warmer months.
While the two have put their own spin on a few aspects of the business, for the most part they have kept Pine Lodge as it has always been. “We are still focusing on quality food while trying to keep our menu items affordable to everyone,” says Rhonda. “We understand the importance of community,” adds Bob. To that end they have kept the same menu their regulars have enjoyed for twenty years and the fun Happy Hour and Local VIP specials.
The menu at Pine Lodge Steakhouse includes a large assortment of soups and salads featuring their Legendary Creamy Crab Soup. Made from an old family recipe, the soup features jumbo lump crab meat with a cream broth and a hint of sherry. They also have classic steakhouse style French Onion Soup, along with a variety of salads.
The appetizer and Lite Fare menu include everything from Lobster Bowl to Crispy Calamari and two customer favorites: Prime Rib Bites and Sweet Thai Sriracha Shrimp. Steak lovers will enjoy the hand-cut Black Angus steaks prepared on a special searing grill. The steaks are perfectly seasoned and perfectly seared and finished with a dollop of garlic butter for a melt-in-your mouth sensation. The entrée menu also includes prime rib and French cut lamb chops.
Seafood lovers can enjoy everything from grilled salmon to beer battered fish and shrimp. If you love a good crab cake, you won’t be disappointed. Made with no fillers and broiled to perfection, they are available as an entrée or on a sandwich. Available also is a fabulous selection of pasta and poultry as well as a diverse saloon menu including a large assortment of sandwiches and flatbreads. The entire menu is served both upstairs in the restaurant and downstairs in the saloon.
Pine Lodge Saloon offers a Happy Hour every Monday – Friday with discounted drink specials. “The Saloon is a fun locals bar,” says Bob. They have a special cocktail menu (available for viewing online), and the Bloody Marys are not to be missed! They also feature a good wine selection and have fourteen beers on tap including six rotating seasonal offerings.
In addition to the diverse menu, what sets Pine Lodge apart in Rhonda’s eyes is her awesome crew, some of which have been on staff since she started working there over eight years ago. “The restaurant industry has one of the highest turnover rates in business,” says Rhonda, “but it doesn’t have to be that way. We found that if you treat your employees well, cultivate their ideas and creativity and make them feel like they are part of the business, they will stick with you. Our wonderful crew has stood by us through the ownership change, covid and supply shortages. They have willingly and happily picked up extra shifts and have gone the extra mile to make it all work. Bob and I are extremely grateful to them all,” she explains.
In fact, many of the restaurant’s weekly features are inspired by the staff. Planning a holiday get-together this season? Rooms are available for groups up to 70 people, and it is a great place for your local club to meet or for your next special event.
During summer, there are docks a short distance from the restaurant as well as a six-person golf cart to pick you up or to take food directly to your boat.
You can also find many popular Deep Creek Lake items in their Mercantile located on the ground floor. They have their popular Deep Creek Lake wine glasses, cute stuffed bears and unique t-shirts and sweatshirts. Be sure to check them out for some special holiday gifts. If you can’t decide, a Gift Card is always appropriate, and this month they will be offering a $60 gift card are being offered for $50 (or $120 card for $100).
Pine Lodge Steakhouse is open for dinner from 4 – 9 PM Sunday — Thursday, and for lunch and dinner on Friday and Saturday from 11 AM to 10 PM. They are open during the summer at 11 AM daily. Bob and Rhonda both encourage reservations either by calling directly or through the Open Table application.
For the finest cuts of beef, fresh seafood and more, try Pine Lodge Steakhouse today. Bon Appetit!