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“Go for the food, AVOID Leia!”
Review of Harpo's

Ranked #3 of 6 Restaurants in Merrifield
Restaurant details
Reviewed 8 July 2018 via mobile

We wanted chicken wings, pizza, and pool. All 3, at this adorable local lake bar, delivered in spades. We had buffalo chicken wings, garbage pizza, and the pool table to ourselves. The food was exceptional.

Why then would the listing receive only a 2?

We sat in the bar area and Leia, the server/bartender, worked very hard to make our experience - as well as all the other “tourists”, as she called anyone not deemed a local, awful.


My husband went to the bar to request drinks and menus and was ignored for 10 minutes. When he returned to our table, I approached the bar. I observed Leia interacting with a couple that wanted to purchase tequila off sale. They were polite and asked Leia a few questions about the two $25 options; she responded to each query rudely and with an overt aggression. Finally she noticed me and actually said, “What do you want!?” I requested a beer and menus. She informed me she would “Bring them out when she could.”

When she dropped off the beer, for my husband, she rudely said, “One beer for both of you? What, are you sharing?” We we’re both caught so off guard by her hostility, it took me time to respond. I let her know we wanted to order dinner, that I did not drink, and requested a water. She literally rolled her eyes, sighed, and walked away.

In the bar area, there are roughly 5 high tables. After we ordered, I overheard a family of 8 commenting on Leia’s treatment of them. They had been waiting over an hour for about 5 orders of wings and soup. When they politely asked Leia when the wings might arrive (they had 3 tween children) she told them they would get their food when it was ready. Further she informed them they ordered after a big table and would just have to wait. Her tonality and body language was beyond shockingly rude. BTW, most of the family left without eating. When the food finally arrived 20 minutes later, the mom packed it all in to go boxes to take home to her family.

Our food also took about 45-60 minutes to arrive. Because we were playing pool, it was fine with us. However, while waiting, I noticed 2 other tables arrive also with 2 patrons each. Leia immediately went to their tables, greeted them warmly, provided drinks quickly, and both tables received their food - also wings and pizza - before ours. The tables were clearly locals that Leia knew.

I began to understand. Leia provides 2 levels of service. One to “tourists” and a far more appropriate one to “locals”.

When we left, my husband checked Harpo’s Facebook page to see if anyone else had a similar experience go ours. He read at least 2 postings that referred to Leia and described similar treatment. He responded to a negative comment about Leia, described our experience, and posted a pic of her. He did not embellish or attack Leia, he simply reported our experience.

Because the food was so delish and we had really enjoyed the jukebox and atmosphere, we returned a 2nd time a few days later. Our table in the bar area by the ladies room was available. Again - we simply wanted dinner and pool. Sitting at 2 other round tables, also in the bar area, was Leia with a group of 5 people. She was off work and drinking: She was loudly talking about the “rude people” that had posted a comment and pic about her on Facebook. The hostility in the room was tangible. I ignored her comments until she actually pointed at my husband said, “That’s the loser that posted about me. He has nothing better to do with his life than post negative comments about restaurants.” The truth is, my husband has never negatively posted about a restaurant before commenting on Leia’s behavior.

I walked over to the table and said, “We are here for dinner. Is there something you want to talk to us about? I overheard your comment and wanted you to know your current behavior is precisely why we had made the post to Facebook.”

She informed me that I did not know her, that she was an excellent server, and that the posting hurt her feelings. Further the night we posted about was “busy” as though that should somehow give her a pass to behave in any manner she deemed appropriate. I was told that as a tourist, I did not understand the real world, was informed that I was rude, and was asked what I did for a living or was I just taken care of.

I politely asked that any further commentary on my husband or I be made more quietly. I stated we simply wanted dinner and pool, WITHOUT overt hostility and aggression. Shortly thereafter Leia and the entire table left.

I truly could not make this twilight zone experience up.

Once again, the food was delicious. We had the spicy buffalo wings and the blue gill basket. I would absolutely order both again.

Recommendation: Go to Harpo’s because the food is truly delicious. Sit in the dining area, avoid the bar, and Leia at ALL cost.

For us, sadly we will not return. Fool me once shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. We live on Big Pelican for the summer, our family has since the turn of the 20th century, and there are a host of yummy eateries where Leia will not negatively impact our experience.

Date of visit: July 2018
3  Thank OliviaCutlerF
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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6 - 10 of 16 reviews

Reviewed 25 June 2018 via mobile

Came in at 8:50 p.m. we were told the kitchen was closing at 9 p.m., but could still order. We did; the food was tasty! Server was efficient and friendly.

Date of visit: June 2018
Thank susanhC1485KX
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed 20 May 2018 via mobile

You gotta try the bluegill basket. My husband and I split the bluegill basket and the coconut shrimp basket...homemade dipping sauces were delicious. Beer is cold, bartender is friendly. Nice outdoor patio and lake view
Definitely worth the short drive if you're in the Brainerd Lakes area.

Date of visit: May 2018
Thank Colleen O
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed 26 October 2017

Every time my wife and I visit Harpos, we are greeted by friendly staff and customers. Jeff the owner has done a tremendous job keeping his staff in tact for a long time. This in turn results in consistent service and food. The food is great. The prices are better than fare. Stop in if you ever find your way to Merrifield, MN.

Date of visit: October 2017
    • Value
    • Service
    • Food
Thank Eric R
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed 28 August 2017

We stop here on occasion for a cocktail. Last time we also had basket food which was good. The waitress took the time to actually visit with us when she could.

Date of visit: July 2017
    • Value
    • Service
    • Food
Thank Kevin G
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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