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'Destination' restaurant planned for LaPorte

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The city seal — LaPorte is French for "the door" — is in the sidewalk in front of LaPorte City Hall.

LAPORTE — The door has opened for waterfront-type dining in LaPorte.

Plans for a 7,100-square-foot restaurant across from Pine Lake were given final approval Monday by the LaPorte City Council. The multilevel restaurant with outdoor dining will go up on the former Thunderbird Lanes site, 1251 Pine Lake Ave., across the street from Pine Lake.

Bert Cook, executive director of the LaPorte Economic Advancement Partnership, said the city and owner have worked together for the past six years on developing the parcel into something beneficial to both parties.

Cook said a high percentage of residents want more dining options in the city. Plus, a restaurant aimed at bringing visitors from across the region to enjoy a meal close to the lake reflects efforts to capitalize on local natural resources.

“This is without a doubt a destination location,” Cook said.

LaPorte native Brandon Jones of Pine Lake Development LLC is behind the restaurant, which plans to offer traditional American cuisine once construction is completed in 2023.

Jones is involved with other food-related operations, including Buffalo Wild Wings at the Pine Lake Shopping Center in LaPorte.

Cook said the name of the restaurant has not been decided.

While the site is not on the shoreline, it’s close enough that a waterfront atmosphere was drawn into the design of the structure.

“There will be unique aspects to the dining experience,” project manager Tony Oss of Larson-Danielson Construction said.

The council voted in favor of placing the site in an economic development zone for it to be eligible for tax abatement.

A 10-year abatement was approved a short time later for the estimated $4 million investment, which could employ up to 65 people in the coming years.

“The multilevel experience will have beautiful views of Pine Lake, and the restaurant will be family-friendly,” Cook said.

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