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The BoatHouse Restaurant Celebrates a Milestone

Photographer / Lana King

Known for its stunning view of Winona Lake, the BoatHouse Restaurant will officially turn 20 this October. The eatery is a favorite with students and faculty from nearby Grace College, local families, and summertime boaters. Throughout the years it has adapted with the times, and responded to the needs and desires of customers.

Co-owned by Peter Christos and Kyle Phelps, the restaurant maintains an upscale yet casual atmosphere. In 2012 a small lounge area was transformed into a full-service bar after the establishment received a three-way liquor license. Three years later the interior was renovated to update the dining areas. The menu features items that can be adapted for those with dairy or gluten allergies. Several dishes served are suitable for vegetarians. Recently the restaurant’s leaders responded to customer requests and reopened for takeout amid the many coronavirus-related closures.

“When we were first notified about the dine-in closures due to COVID-19, we decided to shut the restaurant down completely,” Phelps says. “After two weeks of lots of inquiries, we decided to open for takeout with a smaller temporary menu. We are offering a free 12-ounce bowl of soup with each adult entree, and 50% off of our bottled beer and wine. We have been utilizing gloves and masks where appropriate, and taking extra sanitation steps to do our part to slow the spread of the virus.”

The eatery focuses on high-quality food, great value and extraordinary service. Starters such as shrimp cocktail are priced starting at $9. Salads begin at $9, with entrée salads starting at $13. A variety of burgers range from $9.50 for the Cheddar Burger to $10.50 for the restaurant’s famous All-American Olive Burger. Well-loved desserts such as Fudgy Wudgy Chocolate Infusion Cake are also available.

“When people ask what our specialties are, it’s hard to narrow things down because so many people consider us to do different things so well,” Phelps says. “Some of the best-selling dishes are our nachos appetizer and any of our homemade soups. Other popular dishes are Asian cashew chicken, our baby-back ribs, prime rib, blackened and bleu cheese crusted salmon, fish tacos, chicken and bacon wrap, and oriental lettuce wraps.”

In the warmer months the restaurant offers a pier for boats, and guests can enjoy dinner inside or order takeout items from the menu. An outdoor patio dining space opens up when the weather allows. An upstairs dining area can be used for banquets or conferences, and accommodates up to 50 people. The south banquet room can seat 60. Both of the large areas are perfect for private events such as bridal showers and rehearsal dinners, as well as corporate functions. Information on room dimensions, plus menus for both large and small gatherings, can be found on the official restaurant website.

Phelps says the eatery brings in a wide array of customers.

“We are first and foremost a family restaurant, so we get a lot of families with children and we do offer a children’s menu,” he says. “We also get a large amount of people in their twenties in our bar, especially on the weekends. During proms and dances we serve many high-school-aged students. Since we are about a ten-minute walk from Grace College, we get many students and faculty from there. We also have an older crowd. There is something for everyone. Customers know us for our value, due to large portions and the right prices.” 

Phelps adds that he and his staff strive to provide a welcoming, clean environment for all guests.

“It’s hard for people to come to our restaurant and not find something on the menu that they like,” he says. “We aim to provide outstanding customer service, and hope to have all of our guests leave happy.”

The BoatHouse Restaurant is located at 700 Park Avenue in Winona Lake. For more info including details on private room reservations and menus for corporate and private events, call 574-268-2179 and visit boathouseatwinona.com.

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