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Pictured left to right: Brandon McVey, Christian Waver, and Evan Freeberg

Featured Article

Discovering a Well-Cultured Taste

Tasting Teamwork in Every Bite

Article by Jesse Bergstrom

Photography by Maria Claire Photography

Originally published in Waconia City Lifestyle

Evan Freeberg knows the secret ingredient in creating delicious meals that guests keep coming back for, and he should, as he has been creating dishes for hungry diners for 27 years. Evan caught the bug as a dishwasher at fourteen years old and would get chased out of the kitchen by the cooks for trying to discover that secret ingredient. He explored what it meant to work in a kitchen by starting out as a line cook but he wanted more, so he entered Scottsdale Culinary Institute. Upon graduating, he worked with some of the greatest culinary teams in the Twin Cities. Still, it wasn’t until he landed at Lola’s Lakehouse in October 2019 that he was finally able to put the secret ingredient he discovered along the way to work.

That special ingredient you taste mixed into every dish at Lola’s Lakehouse is a culture centered around positivity. As executive chef at Lola’s, Evan found the kitchen staff to be talented and hardworking. Together the team has infused positivity into everything you eat, drink, and see at Lola’s. Offering guests a positive experience starts with a warm welcome that leads into the incredible culinary adventure that is Lola’s.

The culinary team prides itself on bringing guests back time and time again through the food that they create. The Truffled Shrimp and Lobster Risotto is a chef and guest favorite. This complex ‘plat delicieux’ takes a team working in unison to make it come to life. The art of this dish starts with meticulous planning by ordering the right food to be delivered at the right time. Then Josh Moonen, “Foodie”, Lola’s diligent prep cook, blends just the right flavors to create the creamy lobster sauce. Having a reliable, consistent prep cook means the dish will taste the same every time a guest comes in. Once ordered, one of the night cooks gets to work building this rich delight with its nutty, sweet roasted butternut squash, fresh spinach, savory roasted tomatoes, and Foodie’s heartful contribution, that delectable sauce. This beauty is then sautéd to perfection right before it gets to the expo station where final garnishes are added to complete this taste and texture-filled masterpiece. Finally, it is ready for the server to present to the guest.

Evan stresses how important it is to have a balance between texture, flavor, and presentation in every dish. You eat with your eyes first, then when you’re hit with a combination of multiple flavors, they have to work in unison just like the team serving you. 

As a destination restaurant, Lola’s is often much busier in the summer when more people travel to spend time on our wonderful lake, but Evan wants you to know that Lola’s is a must-visit all year round. In the winter, the warm food, and cozy atmosphere are often overlooked gems. Let one of the chairs by the fireplace envelope you as you warm yourself from the inside out with a glass of your favorite wine or cocktail. You will undoubtedly find the charm in yet another snowfall when you watch it through the large windows that face the shimmering frozen lake. When spring arrives, celebrate deck opening so you can smell spring’s sweetness come to life as you spear yourself a forkful of one of their colorful and delicious salads. In Minnesota, we’re raring to go when the ice is out, and we can enjoy all our well-deserved sun. Food just seems to taste better when it’s eaten outside and the experience on Lola’s deck is akin to dinner and a show. Relax with a few appetizers and drinks while you gaze out at the boats bobbing in their slips. And there’s nothing like taking in one of Waconia’s famous sunsets over the lake. The beginning of sweater weather pairs nicely with the beautiful dining area complete with a firebrick oven and nautical décor. You’ll be ready to indulge in some clam chowder or a flatbread pizza as you say farewell to summer. As the seasons change, the service and heart that goes into all you experience at Lola’s Lakehouse will not. Yes, the ambiance and food are second to none but the teamwork and the love for their guests and craft are what is so inviting, almost as inviting as the Truffled Shrimp and Lobster Risotto. 



  • Pictured left to right: Brandon McVey, Christian Waver, and Evan Freeberg
  • Chef Evan Freeberg presents the visually and taste bud appealing Truffled Shrimp and Lobster Risotto
  • From dishwasher to chef, Evan Freeberg has worked hard to be where he is, creating  delicious and positive experiences for his guests.

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