Pending vote, new vendor may replace Tin Fish

There’s now a fight over which restaurant will operate at Lake Calhoun next spring after the owners of Tin Fish decided to step away from their restaurant after 14 years.

Then the city's park and recreation board opened the spot up for bidding. A large crowd flocked to Wednesday’s meeting to get a say in who will open their doors next.

Now, a new five-year lease with Lola’s Café to operate Lola’s on the Lake from will go forward to the full board for consideration at a future meeting.

People said the park board was not transparent at all with the process of which restaurant will open at Lake Calhoun, but others say it's time to give more opportunities to minority restaurant owners.

The former owners of the Tin Fish decided to step away after running the popular restaurant for 14 years at Lake Calhoun, refusing to sign a new lease with the park and recreation board. They wanted to hand it over to their longtime employees after being asked by the city to invest $3 million into the building.

Instead, the park board decided to open the site up for bidding.

Twelve applicants applied, including those Tin Fish workers who wanted to keep it in their hands.

But a committee decided to move ahead with Louis King, the well-known owner of Lola's Café, who also has stands at US Bank Stadium.

King spoke about his new venture at that spot, which would be called Lola's by the Lake.

“I’m going to show folks that we will continue the tradition, put people to work,” he said.

Lola’s on the Lake proposes offering a combination of seafood, “grab and go” smoked products, beverages and frozen treats from mid-April through mid-October, according to a release.