The original inn opened in 1907 near North Lake in Dexter Township. It’s within view of the Inverness Country Club, which opened in 1927. The inn had closed and fallen into disrepair long before Padden discovered it.
Padden has run several businesses in the Detroit area, but he’s never operated a restaurant before. Taking over the Inverness “must be fate,” he says. He spent two years and a lot of money renovating the place—installing new restrooms, a new kitchen, a new floor, and poplar paneling around the bar, and updating the plumbing and wiring.
Padden wants it to be “a joint, but a nice joint” where families feel comfortable and couples come on weekends. In the big back room, which has a large-screen TV and a few video games, there’s karaoke on Wednesday evenings. Padden plans to bring in oldies bands on the weekends.
He’s offering a more varied menu than the old place had. “People who came out here fishing remember all they could get were sloppy joes and root beer,” Padden says. He’s mixing bar food like batter-fried mushrooms with ribs, burgers (including veggie burgers), sandwiches, and plenty of pizza.