When I go home, especially when I bring friends, I make it a point to head into Park Rapids. I always have one, very specific place in mind, The Royal. It has been around for as long as I can remember. No trip up from college with my best friends was complete without a stop. It is home to the Royal burger – a perfect, hot, melty burger wrapped in red and white checkered gingham square paper, tucked into a bed of sizzling onion rings or crinkle-cut french fries.
They are also the purveyors of the infamous Root Beer Float. Fun fact: this was my first drink, ever. I hit legal age and my parents sat me between them at the bar and ordered a round of the fermented saccharine. Let me tell you, I could, and still can only handle one of those. It’s a total dive but it’s a staple in my family’s history. It’s hard not to have a soft spot for the dark, laid-back, fluorescent lit, no-pretenses small town bar. When you come through Main Street, you can’t miss it. Just look for the sign that says, in true Minnesota-esque fashion, “POSSIBLY the best burgers and fries in Northern Minnesota.”