During a process that, at times, appeared to progress as slowly as my own personal maturation process, the good folks at Boatyard Bagels in Lake Geneva have finally opened. I say finally due, at least in part, to my own generous caloric requirements, and the thought that another dining option in Lake Geneva would further my apparent goal of slowly, but surely, growing black-out fat. So, upon the opening of Boatyard Bagels on Wednesday, I sauntered into the shop with May, and I was pleased.
There has been a common thread running through the last 821 posts on this blog, and this thread goes beyond my distrust of Michigan and my disdain for other lakes, rather, it’s a thread made obvious by what has not been included. I never talk about restaurants. If you saw my comments in the Chicago Sun Times a few weeks back about my feelings towards The Purple Pig in Chicago, you can understand that local restaurants have long rejoiced in my steely silence. The truth is, I don’t write about Lake Geneva restaurants because restaurant appeal is wildly subjective, and highly emotional. Oh, and there’s another reason why I haven’t written much about local restaurants- most of them are average at best.
There, I said it. I said what anyone who has spent much time in Lake Geneva over the past decade or three already knew. Lake Geneva might be an oasis of water-based fun, a destination more perfect than any I’ve ever experienced, but it most certainly has not been a culinary stalwart of any significance. I ate out very infrequently as a child, due in part to a talented epicurean mother, but primarily due to a father whose cheapness made dining out a near impossibility. Even so, there we meals out. There were Friday seafood buffets at Lake Lawn Lodge, that, for a while, were quite good. There was fried chicken from Doc’s, fried by Doc Boyd himself, and during the winter of 1993, some were even fried by me. There were other restaurants that we went to, but nothing that excited me then, or provide me with an exciting memory even now.
Crain’s Chicago Business ran a story earlier this week on the resurgence of the Lake Geneva retail scene. The introduction of new stores and shops with things you actually want to buy is quite useful, but the only way those shops can truly thrive is if there are stable, worthwhile restaurants laced in throughout that retail scene. Enter Boatyard Bagels. And Medussa, and Sopra, and Simple for that matter. All four are new restaurants in the past three years, and all four have served me excellent meals. Medussa might be the best restaurant that you still haven’t heard of, and if Michelin had found its way to Lake Geneva, I’m guessing two stars would have been the verdict.
I’m pretty sure Boatyard Bagels will be a success in town, as it combines a sleek aesthetic with quality ingredients. No restaurant can survive on aesthetics alone, just as even establishments serving divine food generally need a touch of style to succeed. Boatyard Bagels has both a high quality menu, diverse enough to attract a wide range of patrons, and a fitting, sexy motif made more perfect by nautical accents and Lake Geneva art. It’s a pretty shop to be sure, and only the addition of a few lounge chairs would make me happier.
The folks behind the restaurant are true lake lovers, and vacation home owners in the area, and I have no doubt their plan will succeed. Their challenge now will be to tweak and adjust their new menu with the desires of their new diners, and if they do that with smiles on their faces, they’ll be a fixture in town for years to come. The Lake Geneva dining scene is on the rise, and with it my weight is sure to follow suit.