Pizza restaurant, ice cream shop coming to Canadian Lakes

From left, Jim Wood and Una Ebert pose inside the new CL Pizza Co. and Dockside Ice Cream restaurant, located in the heart of Canadian Lakes. Ebert, the general manager of the restaurants, said she hopes to open by July. (Pioneer photo/Tim Rath)

MORTON TWP. — After a relaxing day spent outdoors on Canadian Lakes, Jim Wood and Una Ebert say, there’s not too many better choices for dinner and dessert than pizza and ice cream.

That’s the idea behind the CL Pizza Co. and Dockside Ice Cream restaurants, a new establishment at 8401 100th Ave. The two co-owners say that while they serve thoughtfully produced food in a cool atmosphere, they want to make it a comfortable restaurant for everyone to enjoy.

“We want it to be a family-friendly, come as you are kind of place, where you can come with your kids after a day on the lake and not have to worry because you might still be wearing swimming trunks and a t-shirt,” said Wood, the executive chef. “You can have a drink and a pizza and continue to relax.”

Ground was broken at the two restaurants — which are adjoined and total about 3,600 square feet — in October. Ebert, the general manager, said construction is going well and she hopes to be open by late July.

When it’s open, CL Pizza’s menu will include a number of different Italian-style food items, including sub sandwiches, salads and pastas. Its main event is, of course, pizza — but Wood hopes to offer something a little more than what locals may be used to from other pizza restaurants.

“Pizza is kind of a blank canvas,” said Wood, who also works as executive chef at the Antlers Fireside Grill, located just a few doors down from CL Pizza, and the Sanctuary Ranch, in Stanwood. “This is a scratch kitchen — we want to show everyone that you can make everything from scratch, eat some really nice food and still have it be really affordable.”

What sets CL Pizza apart, Wood said, is an intense focus on the ingredients in the pie. Tomatoes are imported from Italy and CL Pizza makes their own sauce. “Double-aught” style dough — used in world-famous Neapolitan pizza crusts — is made fresh, on-site, every day. As many kitchen items as possible come from Michigan, Wood said.

“We want to make this something everyone can be proud to have in their backyard,” he said.

Dockside Ice Cream, which is seasonal, will offer 16 flavors to start. Ice cream is produced by the Country Day Farm Store, in New Era, which milks their cows and makes their own ice cream in-house, according to Ebert.

“The ice cream has a high percentage of butter fat, so it’s going to be really rich and creamy. We’re in the process of creating that menu, so we’ll have a lot of fun and different things,” Ebert said.

The interior of the restaurants evokes a fashionable feel of industry, with its exposed ventilation, high ceilings and gray-colored walls, but also offers casual touches, such as wood chairs with high tops. The kitchen is exposed, which Wood said offers diners the opportunity to see how their food is being prepared. Pictures of boats on the lake dot the walls, making sure patrons know they’re in the heart of Canadian Lakes.

CL Pizza seats 60 inside and another 40 on the patio. Dockside seats about 12. A room for small, private parties is available.

Building new restaurants from the ground up is challenging, Ebert said, but it’s been fun — and the payoff should be huge.

“I’ve learned an awful lot,” she said, “and it hasn’t been easy. But the people I’ve talked with are so excited about having this come into town. It’s something new and exciting.”

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Posted by Tim Rath

Tim is the Pioneer's associate editor. He also coordinates the Family & Friends, Religion and Veterans pages. He can be reached by phone at (231) 592-8386 or by e-mail at trath@pioneergroup.com.

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