Lakeside Tavern has been sold to Lake Life Hospitality Group, owners of Zorbaz, the Fireside, Hotel Shoreham, Long Bridge and other local restaurants.

Lake Life Hospitality president and CEO Cole Hanson confirmed the sale following a public hearing at Tuesday night's Detroit Lakes City Council, regarding a Dec. 16 application from Hanson Properties of Lakeside LLC — doing business as Lakeside Tavern — for an on-sale intoxicating liquor license and Sunday liquor license.

"Our intention is to continue to make Lakeside Tavern the best version of itself that it can possibly be," Hanson said. "It's an iconic location, with a fantastic staff in place, and we're very excited to support that staff in ensuring that every guest who walks through the door has a fantastic experience."

The liquor license, which was approved unanimously by the council following Tuesday's hearing, will extend from Feb. 1 through Dec. 31 of this year.

"Regardless of the ownership of Lakeside, the staff of Lakeside will always focus on taking great care of our guests," Lori Blonigan, Lakeside's general manager, said last month in a statement to the Tribune.

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On Tuesday, Dec. 31, former Lakeside Tavern owner Chet Collins signed over the property and lots at 200 West Lake Drive to Hanson Properties of Lakeside LLC, according to a warranty deed document on file at the Becker County Recorder's Office.

As for the Tavern Brewery, which is part of the Lakeside facility, Hanson said they "will continue to brew fantastic beer," noting that having their own brewery inside the restaurant "is a wonderful differentiation, and we certainly want to build on it."

He added that Lakeside Tavern will be locally owned and operated by Detroit Lakes residents Matt and Tina Pierce, under a similar arrangement to that employed by Lake Life Hospitality for its other restaurants.

"Dec. 31st was our first official day there," Matt Pierce said in a later interview Tuesday. He and his wife have been residents of Detroit Lakes for the past four years, and they have two young children, a 3-month-old daughter and 6-month old son, who they are raising in the community.

"I think people tend to get a little worried that their favorite spot is going to change when somebody new comes in," he continued. "Our plan going in is to just make it the best version of the Lakeside that it can be, and keep things rolling along as they have for the last 20-some years. It's a fantastic business, run by awesome people, and we have no interest in making it anything other than what it is. ... We're excited to be a part of it."

Lake Life Hospitality is already accepting online applications for employment at Lakeside Tavern.