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Docks on the Lake to open near Pavilion

Jeff Jasperson outside the work in progress that will next year be a restaurant. NATHAN BOWE/TRIBUNE

Jeff Jasperson has big plans for the former Giovanni’s Pizza building at the corner of Washington Avenue and West Lake Drive, kitty-corner from the Pavilion.

If all goes according to plan, next spring he’ll be opening Docks on the Lake, a nautically-themed restaurant and bar.

He’ll offer a  full lunch and dinner menu, complemented by a walleye dish and menu items with creative theme names like the Yacht Burger, the Walk the Plank Burger and Overboard Nachos.

“It’s not a bar, it’s a restaurant with a full complement of beverages — beer, wine and liquor,” he said.

The kitchen will be open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. seven days a week, and the bar will stay open until midnight.

Jasperson, who is co-owner of Quizno’s sandwiches in DL and formerly managed the Detroit Lakes Holiday Inn, says the building will look completely different by the time he’s finished.

“It will be a navy blue and nautical grey exterior,” he said, with a ship’s wheel and antique directional equipment on display.

He is considering adding touches like half of a vintage boat on the deck, with sails on the deck that can be raised on nice days to give the place even more of a lake feel.

His logo will be “drop your anchor here,” and the design will complement the city’s sailboat logo, and the sailboat sculpture on the city beach just a short distance away.

He plans to employ 12 to 15 part-timers, working two shifts, starting in June.

He had originally hoped to open this summer, but unforeseen problems with the building’s roof and heating, cooling and ventilation system sank that plan.

“We missed the window this year,” he said. “We’re looking at opening it — right — in the spring of 2014.”

The building is undergoing a complete renovation — floor, walls and ceiling, he said. Windows and a main entrance door will be added to the west side, which is currently just a brick wall.

There will be booth, counter and table seating, with counters lining the windows on three sides to provide a good view of the beach. Tables will be in the middle and booths on the east side.

There will be seating for 25 inside and another 95 on the spacious deck outside. The deck is set off from the ordinary with a nautical post-and-rope perimeter.

Jasperson hopes to mesh with Zorbaz, and says his target market is “all age groups — the entire family can come and enjoy the facility.”

He plans to be closed during the winter, at least at first, and expand seasonally as business warrants. He may also expand the existing building at some point, which he leases from the Wimmer family.

Scott and Dustin Bristlin are the main contractors on the project, “and they’re doing a great job for me,” Jasperson said. The subcontractors are all local as well, he said.

“It’s absolutely going to create something new for the city, and those neighbors and friends who will come over to visit,” he said.