Sportsman's seems to be a bit overshadowed by the Dunes Saloon, the brew pub down the street that all the locals seem to recommend. It's housed in an uninspired building that has the feel of a typical northern tavern. Inside, the high-ceiling room is adorned with mounted moose and deer heads and miscellaneous faded historic photos. Overall, the look is kind of drab. On a Friday night, you're likely to spot locals drinking beer and playing cars around the big round dining tables. Still, you won't feel uncomfortable grabbing a booth and having dinner here.
Fresh lake perch—a Midwest staple that's getting harder and harder to find—is on the menu, along with whitefish, burgers and sandwiches. The perch was lightly pan-fried to perfection, moist and flavorful, not greasy. Sides are basic baked potatoes or fries, and steamed vegetables. Soups and salad dressings are homemade, a pleasant surprise. It's also the only spot in town for breakfast. Hearty plates of bacon and eggs run about $8.
Another surprise is the service—polite and attentive. Maybe with a new coat of paint, this tavern restaurant will get the kudos it deserves.