Friday, January 1, 2010

Salmon-chanted evening: the beautifully restored Big Fish Supper Club of Bena, Minnesota

Here it is in 2006...

...and how it looks today. Holy Mackerel!

One of the thrills of traveling the open road in search of eccentric roadside attractions is stumbling upon an unexpected awesome vintage place. This happened to us back in 2006 while cruising down Route 2 in northern Minnesota when we spotted the Big Fish Supper Club in the small town of Bena. It was a fantastic 65-foot building in the shape of a gap-mouthed muskie on the grounds of a lake-front cabin retreat. It was built the 1950s and showing signs of its age, which only added to its roadside charm.

Some recent web surfing led me to an item of great joy. The Big Fish has been beautifully restored. So much of the time places like this either rot away or are demolished that it's a modern miracle someone would put the love and attention (and bucks) into bringing a roadside gem like this back to its former fishy glory. The whole place is up for sale so apparently the owners want to put their best foot, or fin, forward.

I got the recent pictures from this flickr address belonging to Josh Porter, the talented fellow that did the restoration:

Here's what he had to say:

This is a picture of the newly refurbished "Big Fish" statue in Bena, MN.
I was hired to repaint the statue.
The final look of the fish is meant to mimic the original paint finish applied in the 1950's (folksy / nostalgia)
The interior structure was rebuilt by the current owners.
The fish, restaurant and cabins are all up for sale.

If you have a roadside attraction that needs rebuilding or repainting, give me a call
Josh Porter (Avalon Studios)

Kudos to you, Josh, for putting your heart and sole into a job well done. On a "scale" of 1-10, this is an 11. Let's hope they find a buyer for this magnificent roadside attraction. Cod knows we could use more plaices like this while driving down the pike.


Mod Betty / Retro Roadmap said...

First off, I always crack up at your titles, love 'em!
2nd I remember seeing a movie years ago that featured a building shaped like a fish, I'll have to do some more research on that- will let you know if it's the same fish!

Jeff Blackwell said...

G&S -

I consistently enjoy your observations on Americana along the highway.

Best you you in 2010, and keep on rollin'.

If you are on I-94 passing from Madison to Milwaukee (or east-to-west) you better stop for a beer in Delafield, OK?

~ Jeff

Gunnar and Sherry said...

Betty: Thanks! I'd love to know what movie that is.

Jeff: Thanks right back atcha. We'll be there!

Bill said...

Ya gonna need a bigger boat.

Anonymous said...

The phone number should be