Nearly two years ago, Zorbaz made headlines in Detroit Lakes by opting to cancel all live music at its beachside restaurant, in response to a decision by the Detroit Lakes City Council to sanction the business for repeated noise violations.
After undergoing more than $1 million in facility improvements over the past couple of years, including sound suppression upgrades, they're bringing the music back — just in time for Zorbaz's 50th birthday.
"We're confident this (excessive noise) will not be an issue going forward," said Cole Hanson, who co-owns and operates the Detroit Lakes restaurant with partner Tate Jansen. "We'll be having a regular live music schedule."
Zorbaz will kick off that live music schedule Friday and Saturday, Sept. 6-7, with performances by The Cropdusters and Hardwood Groove, respectively.
The Zorbaz stage, which has been used as a gaming area for the past couple of years, will once again be transformed into a music venue, with coming attractions to include performances from The Fat Cats and other local favorites.
"We're still building out our schedule for the remainder of 2019 and into 2020," Hanson said. "In the winter we'll have two or three performances a week, and during the summer, up to seven a week, as we did before September 2017."
That was the month Zorbaz was sanctioned by the city for three separate noise complaints that the police department had responded to during the summer. The council opted to suspend the restaurant's 2 a.m. liquor license for three days — one day for each of the violations — and Zorbaz's response was to cancel all further live music events "indefinitely."
Since then, however, Hanson is confident that Zorbaz has taken the necessary steps to sufficiently dampen the noise from its stage area to avoid further difficulties with the city.
"Based on how the ordinance is written, a permit is only required if you intend on your music being heard beyond a certain distance," Hanson said, "which our music will not be, because of the updates we have made to our facility."
The acoustic upgrades were just part of Zorbaz's $1 million facelift, however.
"We added new HVAC systems, improved insulation, new windows — basically, we just did a complete exterior and interior 'fit and finish' upgrade," Hanson said.
But at the same time, he added, they were concerned about preserving Zorbaz's unique personality — and as far as he's concerned, it's mission accomplished.
"I’m very happy with the way it turned out," Hanson said.
If you go
What: Zorbaz celebrates 50 years in Detroit Lakes
When: Friday and Saturday, Sept. 6-7
Where: Zorbaz on the Beach, 402 West Lake Drive, Detroit Lakes
Info: Besides drink and food specials throughout both days, the festivities will include a Friday night "pre-party" featuring music by The Cropdusters, and a Saturday night concert by Hardwood Groove, starting at 9 p.m. Call 218-847-5305 for details.
What else? Zorbaz will have its own 50th celebration beer: "Zummer of '69" is an American golden ale bottled through a partnership with Bent Paddle Brewing Company of Duluth.