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The Lake Room, located inside The 59’er Motel, Restaurant and Convenience Store, offers a tasty menu of fine-dining options every Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 5 to 9 p.m. DL NEWSPAPERS/Vicki Gerdes

Fine dining at the 59er: The Lake Room is their latest addition

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Fine dining at the 59er: The Lake Room is their latest addition
Detroit Lakes Minnesota 511 Washington Avenue 56501

Three years ago, Chris and Karen Heinz purchased The 59’er, a combination motel, convenience store and restaurant in Detroit Lakes, with the intent of reviving the local landmark.


“It had been closed,” Karen Heinz said.

Since then, the couple has poured as much of the profits from the business back into renovating the facility as they could manage.

“We’ve been remodeling everything,” Heinz added. “We started with the rooms upstairs (there are 12 units in all, with each containing two queen beds), and then the restaurant, and then the c-store.”

The most recent addition is The Lake Room, a fine dining establishment that serves up everything from steaks and prime rib to shrimp, fish and pasta dishes.

Open to the public every Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 5 to 9 p.m., the facility is also available as a private room rental for family gatherings and other special events such as family reunions, birthdays and wedding receptions.

“We had heard from our customers that we needed another good steak place in town,” Heinz said — and their motel guests were also requesting a special place to rent out for family events and other large group gatherings.

“We’ve had weddings and class reunions where they were renting the rooms upstairs, and they would have loved to have a gathering place” right in the same building, Heinz said.

The Lake Room opened last Friday night, April 4, and Heinz is hoping word of mouth will spread during the summer months, when the local population doubles due to the influx of seasonal lakeshore residents.

Though the fine dining room is only open Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings, The 59’er Restaurant will remain open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, seven days a week, starting at 6 a.m., Heinz said.

The 59’er and The Lake Room have two separate menus, with The Lake Room’s menu only being available when that facility is open to the public, or has been rented out for a special event.

Though she spent 20 years working for Meritcare prior to purchasing The 59’er, Heinz said that she and her family have extensive experience in running restaurants.

“Out of seven girls in my family, six of us are in the café business,” Heinz said.

While her husband Chris still works at Gateway Chevrolet in Fargo, this is now Karen’s full-time job.

“I run the show,” she said, adding that she has a staff of 10 full-time and 10 part-time employees to help keep the restaurant, motel and c-store running smoothly.

Follow Detroit Lakes Newspapers reporter Vicki Gerdes on Twitter at @VickiLGerdes.

Vicki Gerdes

Staff writer at Detroit Lakes Newspapers for the past 15 years, currently editor of the entertainment and community pages as well as obituaries. Living in DL with my cat, Smokey.

(218) 844-1454