The Old Log Theatre’s major facelift brings new life to Greenwood
Greenwood is known for being the City on the Lake. Just as endearing is the theater on the lake, the Old Log, having taken residence near Lake Minnetonka for the last 75 years.
Greg and Marissa Frankenfield purchased the Old Log Theatre from longtime owner Don Stolz in May 2013. Greg said it was always a dream of his to own a theater, and that Marissa’s dream was to open a restaurant.
“It was a rare opportunity for us to be able to do both at once,” Greg said.
The Frankenfields live on Christmas Lake and enjoy a life nestled in a quiet neighborhood outside the bustling Twin Cities. Marissa said she loves the small-town qualities of Greenwood and recognizes that the city is coming back to life.
She also said she’s excited to be able to give back to the community that her children grew up in now that the Old Log will be better than ever.
Since the day the Frankenfields bought the Old Log, they knew they wanted to make some changes. While the official groundbreaking was a mere five weeks ago, the entire building has already seen improvements.
One of Greg’s main goals was to bring the theater up to today’s entertainment standards. All the technology in the theater was updated, including the lighting and the sound system. And on top of the obvious visual improvements, the Frankenfields are especially proud of one improvement you cannot see.
“We isolated the entryway to the theatre and we soundproofed the wall,” Marissa said. “We wanted to make sure the theater had its ultimate privacy.”
The now-soundproofed wall directly behind the stage was once home to a modest desk without running water or much visual appeal. Now, upon entering the Old Log, patrons are greeted by a large, granite-topped bar that doubles as a ticket counter.
Adding to the newfound convenience of the Old Log, a generously sized coat room is located directly adjacent to the bar and across the hallway from the large, renovated bathrooms.
“They used to look like elementary school bathrooms,” Marissa said, laughing.
In each bathroom, walls are adorned with wood from the Old Log pre-remodel. Marissa said they chose to incorporate the original wood décor to make sure to preserve the charm of the classic Old Log.
Leading out of the bathroom and into the dining area, visitors can admire the massive brick fireplace that is as permanent as the Old Log itself.
A new addition to the room, however, is a window allowing people to see directly into the kitchen.
Upon entering the dining area, a brand new world awaits. As the Old Log expanded under Stolz’s ownership, the porch became enclosed to allow for more indoor seating, and several other small accommodations were made.
This summer, Greg and Marissa are excited to announce some major changes to the restaurant portion of the Old Log.
Private and semi-private dining areas will be showcased in the dining room. A portion of the old four-seasons section will be separated from the rest of the room with theater curtains to create the semi-private space. Marissa said using theater curtains helps give patrons privacy as well as connect the theater to the restaurant.
“We knew we wanted to have a full-time operational restaurant like the Guthrie,” Greg said. “… A restaurant that would support the theater but was independent from it.”
Marissa said it’s important to them to maintain two separately functioning venues – a theater and a restaurant – but that they’re both integrated within one another.
In addition to using theater curtains to block off the semi-private seating area, Marissa said the private dining room, immediately inside the dining room to the left, will have four walls and a door, and will be called the Green Room.
Paying homage to the theater across the waiting area, the green room will remind people they are in a creative place. A wine wall will decorate the room and will add to the sophisticated nature of the building.
Finally, Marissa said she plans to drape scrim throughout the dining area. Theater scrim is often used for special effects and to create interesting stage lighting.
“If you shine a light on scrim from a certain side, you can’t see through it,” Marissa said. “It will create the illusion of privacy so people can feel comfortable if they want to have parties.”
The kitchen itself is being thoroughly renovated, soon to be complete with brand new equipment the chefs themselves helped pick out. By October, Marissa expects the kitchen to be running smoothly, allowing everyone the benefits of the “Cast & Cru” eatery.
Chefs Remy Pettus and Alex Konopacky are stars in Marissa’s eyes, especially since they have been testing recipes in the Frankenfield house while the kitchen on site comes to life.
“Our staff has been going over to our house to try things out,” Marissa said. “We want it to be so good that we’re always giving them new ideas.”
Pettus and Konopacky were especially excited to make use of the Old Log’s 11 acres. They’ve already started growing produce to use for meals at Cast & Cru at their private gardens on Old Log property.
Fresh modern American cuisine will be served at Cast & Cru and will surely add to the charm of seeing a live production in the City on the Lake.
The Old Log’s summer children’s show, “Free to Be You and Me,” opened June 23 in the midst of construction. Shea Architects and Alta Construction have been working closely with Greg and Marissa to master the $2.5 million renovation.
“I can’t speak anything but high praises of the builders,” Marissa said.
The public will be able to enjoy the completed project come August. The Old Log will have a fine dining soft-opening Aug. 21, and the official restaurant opening will be the following day. Marissa said a formal Cast & Cru grand-opening will be held in October after the chefs work out all the kinks.
Contact Stephanie Gonyou at [email protected]