Alibi at Froggy Bottoms owner Lisa Zarza, who made national headlines following her decision not to close her Lakeville establishment for in-person dining following an executive order in the deadliest stretch of the pandemic last December, is selling her Northfield and Lakeville businesses.

Zarza, who owns Alibi Drinkery in Lakeville, made the decision less than one month after the Northfield City Council denied her request to renew her liquor license by a split vote. The decision meant she cannot legally serve alcohol at her Northfield establishment. Council action came after Northfield Police Chief Mark Elliott recommended not renewing the license based on her noncompliance with the governor’s order and because of the preliminary suspension of her Lakeville liquor license.

“The state and their tyrannical dictatorship and overreach has destroyed both businesses,” Zarza said Monday. “The City Council should be disappointed in their actions.”

Zarza said she plans to “wait for our state to be reformed,” before she decides to own another restaurant. She said she could decide to do so in another state, adding that she has been “asked to run for numerous positions, and was actually running for lieutenant governor,” dropping out “due to the slanderous things that people said about me and the death threats I received.”

David Hvistendahl, who owns the Alibi at Froggy Bottoms building on Water Street and the Froggy Bottoms trademark, said not having a liquor license severely reduced the likelihood Zarza could remain in business since a large portion of the revenue restaurateurs make comes from alcohol sales. 

Hvistendahl said he hopes a new tenant is in place by the end of May. He noted that he is looking for someone with experience in running bars and restaurants. Hvistendahl and Zarza have interviewed people interested in operating Froggy Bottoms. One applicant is reportedly working toward an agreement.

“I really want to see Froggy Bottoms open this summer,” he added.

During the April 6 council meeting, Zarza said she did not follow the executive order because she deemed it “unconstitutional,” adding she that didn’t feel the governor’s decision was based on proven evidence. She framed her argument as coming out of concern that people’s basic rights were being eviscerated.

Alibi at Froggy Bottoms was first licensed in 2019 in Northfield under the ownership of Heart of the Lion LLP with co-owners Zarza and Ricardo Baldazo. Baldazo has since been charged with attempting to kill two Burnsville police officers.

Following Zarza’s refusal to abide by the order, the state filed a lawsuit against the business. A court trial in the case is scheduled to begin July 12.

Reach Associate Editor Sam Wilmes at 507-645-1115. © Copyright 2021 APG Media of Southern Minnesota. All rights reserved.

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