Plans moving ahead on Pine Knoll’s renovations

April 11, 2019

WATERLOO -- The roof on the Pine Knoll Supper Club was replaced last week as new owner, Juan Perez, proceeds with plans to make the former supper club on state Highway 89 in the town of Waterloo an event center.

Last month, the Jefferson County Planning and Zoning Committee unanimously approved a conditional use permit for the property. The CUP was filed in October of 2018 by former owner Ammat LLC (Fekri Zainoba) of N7744 State Highway 89, Lake Mills.

The revised conditional use permit is for an eating and drinking place and an event center in the existing business zone.

The county application was made by the former owner and according to the revised application, the new buyer sought a similar permit before the Waterloo Town Board late last year. The application is made to renovate the existing structure and build a new structure for an events center and recreational purposes.

Under reasons for the permit, the application states the new owner will offer a service that does not exist in the area and complement existing services and uses.

The buyer is looking to develop an event center, an area for events, assembly and recreational activities. A new building will be constructed to hold larger events.

The event center will have a variety of uses which include assemblies, banquets, conferences, meeting rooms, receptions and outdoor recreational activities.

According to the CUP application, the existing structure will undergo major renovations. The mobile home on the property is currently being removed and a new structure is planned. The new building, approximately 12,000 square feet, will be constructed in order to offer more alternatives to future customers and maximize the use of the site.

Land modifications include improvements of the existing parking area and improving the surrounding landscaping. The existing fence that currently retains animals at the front and rear of the property will be removed. Additional parking will be considered, if needed, where the mobile home sits.

The hours of operations will be in accordance with the need for the activity to be carried out.

According to the CUP, music must cease by midnight and cannot resume until 8 a.m.

In December, Perez appeared before the Waterloo Town Board to revive the former Pine Knoll Supper Club. The town board made a unanimous recommendation to approve the request to the county.

Perez’s proposal was the second one presented to the town board regarding the supper club. Prior to Perez’s request, Zainoba presented preliminary plans to renovate the existing building and use the property for business retreats and a summer camp.

Jefferson County Planning and Zoning Committee held a public hearing on the CUP Feb. 21. The unanimous decision to approve the permit was made on Feb. 25. The permit does not have to go before the county board, according to planning and zoning Director Matt Zingl.

The Pine Knoll Supper Club was started by Gerald and Jane Moldenhauer and Don and Jean Zimmerman on Sept. 24, 1968. Additional facilities were built in 1973 to accommodate weddings, banquets, private parties and meetings.

James D. Topel started as chef in September 1968 and joined the corporation in 1970.

Originally, seating was for 124 people in the dining area and 66 in the cocktail and bar area. The 1973 addition allowed for serving in the “sky terrace” for 75, dining/cocktail area and dance floor for 95 and a party room with dance area, dining and bar for 225.

The business slowly closed in August of 2010. It discontinued serving to the public, but continued to host members of the Lake Mills Rotary Club for the club’s regularly scheduled meetings and luncheons on Tuesdays.

Moldenhauer was still co-owner of the business when it closed after 41 years of service. It was one of the area’s favorite restaurants when it came to hosting special events, holiday dinners and Christmas parties.

According to an article in The Cap Times earlier this year, Perez owns the La Rosita grocery store at 6005 Monona Drive and the La Rosita all-you-can-eat Mexican buffet next door at 6001 Monona Drive. His aunt and uncle own a chain of La Rositas stores in Illinois.

Perez’s business has grown quickly and was named the Latino Chamber of Commerce’s Latino-owned business of the year earlier this year.