Home cooking is trademark at new local eatery

Shauna and Robert Banta, owners of the new Screaming Eagle restaurant in Pelican Rapids, have a combined half-century of experience in kitchens.
PHOTOS BY CJ HOLL

By CJ Holl 

Special Correspondent

In the land of Pelicans, there is a new bird in town.  The Screaming Eagle has landed.

A new restaurant, the Screaming Eagle, opened November 28 in the old Tastee Freez and most recently Taqueria El Manantial location on north Highway 59 in Pelican Rapids.

Rotisserie Chicken dinner at Screaming Eagle, Pelican Rapids.

Owners are Robert and Shauna Banta and the menu features breakfast, lunch and dinner items to include scratch made biscuits and gravy for breakfast and their signature pecan and mesquite smoked brisket. Shauna also makes a black cherry bourbon barbeque sauce to go with the brisket and other menu items.

“It’s not a big menu, it’s a good menu,” said Robert.  He says that the response since opening has been great and he is happy with the business so far, even opening in what is traditionally a slower time of the year.

Banta said that he has found a welcoming community in Pelican Rapids and has gotten many compliments, thank you comments on opening, and already has a regular base.

The Bantas have extensive experience in the restaurant industry and not the mom and pop variety.  Robert has been working restaurants since he was 15 years old and has been an executive chef at the Nicollet Island Hotel in St. Paul, the Radisson South and the Crown Plaza/Northland Inn (now Marriot).

He also had several stops in Las Vegas at Bally’s, The Orleans and Caesar’s Palace in Lake Tahoe. His wife, Shauna, has worked by his side at some of those places including the Northland Inn. Together, they have over 50 years of experience in kitchens.

Homemade cornbread at the Screaming Eagle, which is specializing in made-from-scratch food and local sources for food–such as Heart O’ Lakes meats in Pelican.

They were looking for an opportunity as working in the Twin Cities, they found themselves heading out of town when they had time off.

“All we ever did was go up north,” said Robert who found a need in Pelican Rapids for a homemade, quick-serve style restaurant.  Banta said while they make everything from scratch, he strives for a 4-6 minute serve time.  He said many of their customers grab-and-go for both breakfast and lunch and folks appreciate their fresh, but fast approach.

The Bantas also offer full service catering and their hotel restaurant experience sets them up perfectly to cater to local businesses, weddings and events.

“I’ve probably fed over a million people,” said Robert. He said they have already gotten requests and bookings for their catering.

They have a few other staff besides themselves and expect to add more in the summer. The Bantas say they will evolve as they respond to their guest’s needs with hours, menu items and services such as catering.

This summer, the Banta’s want to develop a “Waiting For You” menu. He said many who vacation in the area or weekend travelers want to have a meal package ready to serve they can take to the lake. They also plan to use the outdoor patio on summer evenings with steak and rib nights among others.  Banta said he has firepits, will do some of his cooking outside and wants to have a ‘Party on the Patio’ atmosphere.

Pot Roast dinner at the new Screaming Eagle.

They are also proud of not only the made-to-order, made-from-scratch items, but their partnership with local businesses.

Robert said he met with Jason Stetz at Heart ‘O Lakes Meats to get just the right grind for their hamburger and sources his other cuts from there as well.  He said it is a big advantage to be so close to his butcher.  They also use other local sources for their cheese, eggs and produce among other items.

Prices are reasonable at the Screaming Eagle with burgers and sandwiches ranging from $7-$12 and include a side item. Breakfast ranges from $6-$8 and there are daily specials that range from $11-$17 such as Friday’s BBQ Ribs with baked potato and corn or Saturday’s Pot Roast dinner with mashed potatoes, gravy and carrots.

The Screaming Eagle is open Monday through Saturday, 7 a.m. – 7 p.m.  They can be reached at 218-863-1741.

Also visit their website at www.thescreamingeagle.net and follow them on Facebook at The Screaming Eagle Restaurant.