Silvermoon welcomes new owners behind the bar

Perham's Silvermoon Lounge and Steakhouse officially has new owners as of Jan. 1. They took some time to introduce themselves to the community.

Silvermoon's new owners (from left), Jennifer Smith, Cindy Murphy and Todd Murphy smile together behind the lounge's bar.
Elizabeth Vierkant / Perham Focus

PERHAM — For the first time since 1999, Perham's Silvermoon Lounge and Steakhouse will be changing ownership outside of Michelle Sazama's family. Sazama's parents, Gib and Teresa Ternus, originally purchased the restaurant in 1999, and, in 2016, Sazama and her husband purchased it from them. And in 2023, new owners officially took over behind the bar and kitchen on Jan. 1.

Jennifer Smith, Cindy Murphy and Todd Murphy — the new owners who've already been helping out at the restaurant for about three weeks — recently took the time to speak with the Perham Focus and introduce themselves to Silvermoon regulars and the Perham community.

"My husband came home one day and said it was for sale," Jennifer, who has a history with bartending, recalled how the process began. "I do a lot of businesses at home, so I kind of wanted to venture out of it a little bit. I mentioned it to these guys (Cindy and Todd) because they live in Perham, and they happened to come in here quite a bit. They were pretty interested too, so we just said, 'Let's do it.'"

Cindy continued, "We both really love coming here as customers, so we thought this would be really fun. It's always fun to have a new adventure."

The Murphys always loved the home environment of Silvermoon. Everyone knows your name, and everyone is so kind, Cindy shared. This always made them feel welcome. Prior to even considering ownership, the Murphys were coming about once a week to enjoy the food, drinks and socialization after they moved about five years ago to Perham from Detroit Lakes — where Jennifer currently lives.


The familiar entrance of Silvermoon may look the same, but the faces behind it will soon change.
Elizabeth Vierkant / Perham Focus

Cindy mentioned that she originally fell in love with Silvermoon when she witnessed just how much the restaurant supported community members in need. A few years ago, she reached out and asked if they could open on a normally closed day to help a community member having a tough time. Michelle Sazama immediately messaged waitresses, and many people were willing to come in and help out. Sazama shared story after story of wedding and funeral receptions being held in their building because the restaurant holds such a strong significance for many community members.

Sazama even joked that one day she noticed that a tablecloth decorated with chickens and checkers was missing. One couple, who went on many dates to Silvermoon, absolutely loved eating together at a table with that specific cloth. Sazama joked that she was grateful the tablecloth went missing because it was so ugly, and then she was invited to the couple's wedding. That mysterious missing tablecloth, which meant so much to the couple, was used to hold their wedding cake. Many community members have fond memories of Silvermoon, and Smith and the Murphys want to keep that environment.

"We have big shoes to fill," Cindy said to the community. "Please be patient with us, and we're going to do the best we can. And any advice — we're open to anything. They're our customers. They are the ones that we want to make happy, so they need to let us know. We can't fix something that we don't know is broken. If they see something that they're used to with Michelle and they just loved it and we're not doing it, we would like to hear that from them."

Todd continued, "We don't want to be here to change anything. We just want to be here to grow with the community … This is a huge life change for us, just like it is for (Michelle). She's got to let it go, and we've got to try to do this."

Michelle Sazama (center left), Silvermoon's previous owner, smiles as she stands between the new owners: Jennifer Smith (left), Cindy Murphy (center right) and Todd Murphy (right).
Elizabeth Vierkant / Perham Focus

Sazama's family has owned Silvermoon since 1999, and they've been involved with it since 1997. This is a strange and big change for her, but she's getting ready for it with the new owners at her side. As of 2022, she was renting the building from her parents while she ran Silvermoon until her parents wanted to sell the building. She knew that tackling the project wasn't right for her, so she decided to throw out some feelers about selling the business. She thought that maybe something would change by summer 2023, but the new owners have already trained to work in the space and officially took charge in the new year.

"Thanks for the business," Sazama said to the community and her regulars throughout the years.

She'll still be seen around Silvermoon as she helps the new owners get their footing, and she and her family plan to stay in the Perham community. Now, she'll just be on the other side of the bar. Smith and the Murphys are excited to switch sides of the bar themselves.

"It's a great community," Cindy said. "We've been in Perham long enough to know that they're huge supporters. We support them, and they'll support us. I've seen that over and over again with many different things. And they take care of people." While she's worked in Perham for a few years in customer service already, she's excited to be able to get to know more community members on a more personal level. She feels as though working at Silvermoon will help make this happen.


For more information on Silvermoon Lounge and Steakhouse, visit their Facebook page . Located at 1117 W Main Street in Perham, they can be reached at 218-346-3800 or

Elizabeth (she/her), 24, graduated with a degree in Journalism and Communications from the University of Wisconsin–Stout in 2020. Elizabeth has always had a passion for telling stories about people and specializes in community features, which she uses for her Perham-centered content.
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