With a soft opening for their bar this past weekend and a grand opening this weekend, Pokegama Lakeside officially has new owners with David and Monica Orozco.
The couple also are new owners of Northland Resort, which they bought late last year and opened in May after renovating and upgrading the cabins.
At Pokegama, Monica Orozco said she and her husband, David, jumped at the opportunity when former owners, Rick and April Kershaw announced they were closing and selling the business earlier this year.
“We thought this place is beautiful and Chetek needs a variety of food,” Orozco said. Their menu will feature Mexican dishes, house margaritas as well as local favorites, including hamburgers and pizzas.
The bar will open this week on Thursday, Aug. 6, at 12 p.m., and will have a limited menu before they open up their dining room with a full menu. For a grand opening Friday through Sunday, Aug. 7–9.
Orozco said it was important to her to make sure their staff was fully trained and ensure everything would go smoothly. They will hold event banquets in their hall.
She said the name Pokegama Lakeside will be kept because she felt people liked the name. Cantina—which is Spanish for a bar with food—was amended to the name to reflect the change.
Orozco said she has 23 years of experience at a family restaurant in Appleton, where she learned everything she knows about running an establishment. David previously worked opening franchise kitchens for a company. The couple have one adult son.
From the Fox Cities area, the couple came to Chetek in October when they were looking to buy Northland Resort. They had been looking for a business to buy, and her former boss—who was from Chetek—told them about the resort. Orozco said she fell in love with the area and the resort was a perfect fit for them.
“It’s just amazing, meeting new families every week,” Orozco said of the resort.
Now as new owners of the bar and restaurant, she said the area’s welcoming spirit has been truly felt. “The support we received from the community, I cannot say enough about it.”
Other business owners, like Bob and Julie Stangle, owners of Gilligans, and Jennifer Blatz, owner of Crimson Hue Resort, provided information on suppliers and distributors to help set up Orozco’s new business. She really appreciates the collaborative nature of the community.
She said they will not change the decor at Pokegama Lakeside Cantina, noting the building is beautiful, as is.