The folks in Clear Lake, Iowa certainly know how to celebrate. We visited this lake-centric city on the 3rd of July, and found everyone kicking it with a patriotic twist. The crowds were already in the holiday spirit and a weekend at the lake makes for a perfect escape. Pulling up to PM Park, it was hard to imagine that this place is over 100 years old. This popular hangout was designed for entertaining, so we knew we were in for a treat.
We want to thank Clear Lake Chamber and PM Park for hosting our visit. Rest assured all opinions are our own.
When we stepped through the entrance to the restaurant, we were a little taken back by the lack of customers. The indoor spaces were decorated with a patriotic twist, so we had expected quite a crowd. Servers were busy dispensing drinks and prepping orders. One of them spotted us and explained that the party was out back. Whew! We were thinking that we may have landed in the wrong place.
Once we moved outdoors, we found that there was quite a party atmosphere going on out back. Rows of picnic tables were packed with diners lounging in the shade. The staff had reserved us a table that landed us in the middle of the celebration. As we scanned the crowd, a band caught our attention. They were playing in a boat, that had been transformed into a stage. Their music was a nice background for all of the revelry taking place in this lakeside space. The Tiki Bar portion of PM Park was built in 2007, so it’s barely used in comparison to the restaurant building.
Sip and Study
Our server stopped by to check on us and take our drink orders. We picked out a summery cocktail that would be perfect for our lakeside retreat. In a flash, she returned with our mixed drink and a couple of waters, to boot. The menu is filled with hands-on dishes and finger foods. The descriptions of their meals all sounded tasty, but in the end we chose a couple of sandwiches.
Crystal was really enjoying the lake atmosphere, so she chose the Hawaiian Burger. They take a hearty Iowa beef patty and top it with Swiss cheese, grilled pineapple, and teriyaki sauce. I spotted a Cuban Sandwich on the menu, and just knew I had to go with it. This version of my favorite sammie is made with deliciously smoked pork, much like one we found in our hometown. An unexpected flavor came from a sweet ham, but it worked well with the pickles, Swiss cheese, and grilled Texas toast. Each order comes with a small side, but we tossed in an order of crispy Onion Rings, as well. The outdoor setting provided plenty of ambiance that added a patriotic twist to our meal.
Being our last stop for the day, we found it easy to linger and enjoy the setting. Nearby, we could watch the activity on the lake. As the sun sank into the horizon, the party atmosphere continued to climb. Everyone was ready to celebrate Independence Day and this was just a precursor leading up to it. Unfortunately, we would be in a different state by the time the fireworks began bursting, but for a while we just savored the moment. If you enjoyed this article, check out some more of our Iowa destinations.