“A diamond in the rough, just waiting for improvement.”

That’s what Jim Smith and his wife Pamela saw when they first laid eyes on The Popple Bar in Laporte.  Undeterred by the prospect of long days of hard work, they bought the bar on Jan. 3 and have been laboring to improve its appearance, atmosphere and reputation.

The Smiths bring years of experience to their new venture — and they have a Laporte connection.

Jim is a graduate of Laporte High School,  earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of San Diego and his law degree (LLM) from the University of California. He is a retired US Army attorney.

Pamela graduated from Roseville High School, earned her bachelor’s degree at the U of M and spent 28 years with Northwest Airlines Corporate Sales and Marketing. She also owned a travel agency and dog-sitting business.

One of the Smiths’ priorities has been to create a friendly, welcoming and inclusive atmosphere for customers old and new.  

As for physical changes, the Smiths have  been busy. They installed a new kitchen, expanded and refurbished the patio, installed new lake view windows and new bar furniture, repainted the exterior, installed a new POS (point of sale) system, added a new six tap nitrogen beer system, and hired new staff.

In the summer, The Popple Bar and Grill will feature live music outdoors, or customers can relax on the patio and enjoy the beautiful view of Garfield Lake.

Their long-range goal is to offer the best bar food and customer service in the area.

“We’ve gotten lots of 5 stars on Facebook and lots of in-person compliments,”  Jim reports.

The Popple Bar and Grill is located at 230 Central Ave. S., Laporte. It is open for lunch and dinner, dine in or take out. Happy Hour is Monday through Friday, 5-7 p.m.

Jim and Pamela invite everyone to drop by during business hours to see how they’ve transformed The Popple Bar.

Like us on Facebook or call (218) 224-2281.

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