Port 104 adds large meeting spaceLake City has a variety in dining options ranging from sandwich shops to upscale dining overlooking beautiful Lake Pepin.
By: Ginger Holm, The Republican Eagle
LAKE CITY — Lake City has a variety in dining options ranging from sandwich shops to upscale dining overlooking beautiful Lake Pepin. However, dining in Lake City lacked one thing until now: a big space.
“We didn’t have a facility that could host large events,” said director of economic development Erin Sparks.
Enter Port 104, formerly Port of Call located at 104 N. Washington St.
“It’s really nice because when they are done, they will have a much larger capacity than any other place in town,” he said.
Jerry and Jennifer Gerken bought the property in October 2010 and began renovations in March 2011.
“This is something that is needed in Lake City. We are already getting reservations for weddings,” general manager Chad Kruempel said.
The new facility was two separate buildings, which the Gerkens have joined together to create one building equipped to serve many needs.
Jennifer Gerken stressed the versatility of the new facility in being family friendly.
“We knew when we bought it we needed to do some renovations, so, if we were going to do this, we might as well do it all. It’s a family fun thing.”
The buildings are being renovated in stages. The first project was the liquor store, which is now located in the southeast corner of the building.
Phase 2 was the bowling alley. The new owners tore out the old alley, which ran west to east, and replaced it with an alley which extends into the second building toward Lake Pepin.
Phase 3 is the bar and banquet area.
“The banquet area will seat 125 people so if you have a small wedding we can close it off from the rest of the building,” Kruempel said. “You can rent the whole building and seat up to 350.”
There is a stage and dance floor in the banquet area. The bar seats 150, and the new dining area will seat another 75. Previously the facility could seat about 90 guests.
The banquet area is where the old liquor store was located in the second building. From there guests can step up into the new bar area, which was formerly the bowling alley.
Phase 4 will be a new kitchen.
Phase 5 will transform the old dining room and kitchen into a dining area suitable for formal or casual wear.
“I thought this would be a wonderful thing for Lake City,” Jerry Gerken. “We’ve gotten a lot of very positive feedback from the community.”
They expect to complete the project by the end of March or middle of April.