Inside one of northern Illinois’ largest state parks is a one-stop-shop where boaters, hikers, campers and just about every other kind of visitor finds something helpful.
Rock Cut State Park is a hidden treasure in Northern Illinois. This Loves Park, Ill., landmark is where outdoors enthusiasts crave the rolling hills, hike the trails, set up camping sites and bask in the sparkling lakes.
With all of these recreational activities, it’s nice to know that Rock Cut Concession and its Lone Rock Café cover many of the essentials that come with a day at the park. For years, this business has been serving visitors with warm meals, cool treats and recreational equipment at the edge of the 162-acre Pierce Lake, which is the focal point of Rock Cut.
“We took over the concession area here in May 2021, and it’s been great for us to provide guests with what they need to enjoy their visit,” says operator Kevin Versino. His experience as general manager of Rocktown Adventures in Rockford flowed naturally to what he offers at Rock Cut.
Before or after hitting the trails or the lake, a fresh, made-from-scratch breakfast or lunch at the Lone Rock Café can hit the spot.
“Our burgers are popular, but we also serve healthy wraps, chicken, delicious sides, and Ashby’s Ice Cream for a cool treat,” adds Versino. “We have the finest food and the most reasonable prices, too.”
The Outdoor Store offers rentals at Pierce Lake by the hour or day. Equipment includes kayaks, paddle boards, pedal boats and motorboats, along with the necessary life jackets. Pierce Lake has a boat launch and is a fully stocked fishing retreat with large-mouth bass, bluegill, northern pike, walleye and more. To pull in those beauties, the Outdoor Store’s bait fridge is stocked and the minnow tank is full.
In addition, the Outdoor Store provides essential grocery items, sundries and souvenirs for those who are planning an overnight stay within the park. To further serve this crowd, Versino plans to open a Camp Store inside the campground this summer. The new venue will sell such items as firewood, ice, ice cream, soda, snacks, camp games, basic gear, live bait and various pantry items. The store will generally be open Wednesday through Sunday.
Also new this year, Rock Cut Concession has added rentals of Aqua-Cycle Water Trikes.
“The three-wheel bike floats on the water with a capacity for two adults and one child,” says Versino. “It’s human-powered and fun for the whole family as they pedal a water tricycle through the water. Pierce Lake is a no-wake lake, so it’s safe to maneuver all of the recreational boats and trikes.”
Visitors also have the option to take part in paddleboard and kayak instruction as well as yoga classes. Plus, Rock Cut Concession accommodates private events, celebrations and teambuilding excursions.
Because Rock Cut Concession and the Lone Rock Café are seasonal businesses, it’s best to check on the latest details online. Find updated information at facebook.com/rockcutconcession or visit rockcutstatepark.net. Sign up for classes at rocktownadventures.com.