Como Lake Pavilion's concessions side just got its fourth owner in about as many years.
In 2018, local restaurateur Matty O'Reilly opened Spring Cafe in the space. Now, while it sounds like Spring Cafe's name and ethos is sticking, it's getting another new owner in Lancer Hospitality—a national catering company that also oversees concessions for the Como Park Zoo and Conservatory and the Minnesota Zoo.
The Star Tribune reports that Lancer Hospitality will take over with "few if any expected changes," according to a Parks and Rec spokesperson. (We hope very much that means Sweet Science, which opened lakeside last summer after O'Reilly became a fan, will continue serving ice cream.)
But that's not all! Lancer is also acquiring O'Reilly's Red River Kitchen, the restored-grain-elevator-turned-restaurant along the Mississippi River with one hell of a view.
O'Reilly tells the Strib it's all part of a "conscious decision to downsize"—he'd like to spend more time with his family in the summer, and owning a group of restaurants—especially a seasonal lakeside one—complicates that. He will continue running his other restaurants: Republic and Bar Brigade.
Como Dockside, the most recent pre-Spring Cafe pavilion tenant, replaced Black Bear Crossings in 2015 but closed at the tail end of 2017. Owner Jon Oulman remarked then that “The Como Lakeside Pavilion has so much potential," adding that "we could see that long-term we’d need to adjust—and we felt a different vendor would be a better fit for this space.”
Will Lancer—the pavilion's fourth owner since 2015—be the fit that makes it work?
The Strib says they're taking over O'Reilly's contract with the city, which runs through the end of 2023, so... maybe! No word yet on when the pavilion restaurant will reopen or exactly what it'll look like when it does, but we'll keep you updated with more info as we have it.