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Progress means tapping into the community

Econo Lodge open, neighbourhood pub going strong

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The iconic Dakota Hotel at the corner of St. Mary’s Road and Dakota Street is no more.


That’s because the building that has become a staple in St. Vital, along with the Cold Beer Store and the increasingly popular Tapp’s Neighbourhood Pub, has been transformed into an Econo Lodge by Choice Hotels. At press time, the grand reopening was scheduled for Jan. 1.


The drastic renovations to the hotel have been in the works since its owners bought it four years ago.


"When they bought this hotel four years ago they started three phases. The first phase was the Cold Beer Store, the second phase was Tapp’s and the third phase was obviously renovating upstairs (the hotel)," said general manager Jeff Rogers.


A hotel, cold beer store and pub located in a residential area is not common, but Rogers insists the location and the owner’s family values are the key to its success.


"This location is brilliant. Community and family mean everything to us. When this hotel came up (for sale) it made sense because the values they have can absolutely be transferred into this (hotel)," Rogers said.


There are many places in St. Vital to grab a basket of chicken wings and pint of your favourite beer. But Tapp’s recently became a go-to place to watch the big game or for a casual night out with friends.


Since its transition from the former Club Dak, Tapp’s has renovated the dining room and lounge area into a modern pub with fireplaces and sports memorabilia, added multiple big screen TV’s and revamped the menu.


Rogers admitted the makeover has helped Tapp’s grow as a business, but said it’s not the only reason.


"We all (work hard). That’s kind of what it is. I think we have a phenomenal team here," he said.


Patron Devon Penner, 35, hadn’t set foot in Tapp’s since the remodel and was left with a good first impression: "Fantastic, I will definitely be back."


Chris Blais, 28, had one of the best nights of his life at Tapp’s. "It’s a place to meet good people. I met my fiancée here," Blais said.


With the return of the Winnipeg Jets, Tapp’s created something called season tables, where customers were charged $200 to reserve a seat at the pub for every Jets game.


Tapp’s put the money back into the community by donating more than $5,000 to the Children’s Hospital Foundation.


And although there has been a lack of hockey this season, Tapp’s held a street hockey tournament in its parking lot and raised $3,000 for the same organization.

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