Weekend Eating at a Boatyard
Rick's Cafe Boatyard
It was a bright, sunny day in Indianapolis with temperatures in the 70s, so we decided to have lunch outdoors. But not any outdoor restaurant would do. We wanted an adventure filled with scenic views, cool breezes, and great food. It also had to be close to home, because we were not traveling far just to have lunch.
You might think it would be a difficult task to find a restaurant that fit our criteria in the heart of Indianapolis, but you would be wrong. About 30 minutes and 21 miles from our home, sits a unique restaurant and boatyard that has one of the most beautiful views in the city, Rick's Cafe Boatyard.
Not only is the view spectacular, but outside dining is great and the food is worthy of the scenery. On a cool, bright summer day sitting next to the water with the breezes blowing is an absolutely breathtaking experience.
I am going to share this experience with you, because I am bursting to tell everyone about it.
Photos: All photos were taken by me or my husband.
It Actually is a Boatyard
Rick's Cafe Boatyard got it's name from the owner who used the word cafe to invoke casual dining in a friendly atmosphere on a waterfront that contains over 100 boat slips. Those slips a rented by the year to those who look forward to sailing, boating and fishing.
The restaurant is built around a nautical theme. Inside you look out at the water from portholes as well as large windows and the decor is decidedly aquatic. Outside you feel like you are on the deck of a ship with a beautiful view of the sea.
The cafe offers a panoramic view of Eagle Creek Reservoir. This reservoir is four miles long and is filled with sailboats, rowboats and anglers. The water is loaded with fish, since it is continuously stocked with catfish, carp and walleye by the Indiana Department of Natural Resources
The Great Outdoors
The outside deck has a casual bar with glasses hanging overhead and lots of bottles just waiting to make the variety of drinks offered. There are lots of round high top tables as well as lower seating near the railing. But it is the view that makes eating outside an exciting experience.
As far as the eye can see there is water dotted with boats, lots of green trees and on a clear day the sky is a beautiful blue. There are several sets of stairs leading to the dock from the deck, but those have been closed off to avert potential disasters. No children are allowed on the deck because of the bar.
The waitresses wear shorts, black and white tee shirts, with various sayings on them, and a cap. Their attire adds to the casual feel of the dining area. Everyone is dressed casually.
The atmosphere is so comforting and welcoming and the staff so friendly that you hate to leave.
Views from the Deck - Boats, Seascape, BirdClick thumbnail to view full-size
As Good As the View
It is nice to have a great view, but we were at the restaurant to eat. The menu was filled with lots of great choices.
My husband chose the Islamorada Mahi-Mahi sandwich. The fish is blackened cajun style and comes on french bread with roasted red pepper aioli and topped with very thinly sliced chile fried onion rings. The side was fresh fruit.
I ordered the grilled pork tenderloin sandwich with house seasoning and steamed vegetables.
The reason for the healthy sides will become very apparent later.
The food was excellent. We always share our meals, so I had half the Mahi-Mahi and my husband had half the tenderloin. We also split the vegetables and fruit. We have always done that if we order different entrees or sandwiches. It gives us the opportunity to enjoy different dishes at the same meal.
The Reason for the Fruit and Veggies
I know, I am supposed to be a health conscious eater, so I rarely indulge in oversize desserts. But I also don't have exotic lunches everyday, so indulge we did.
But we shared it! That should count for something anyway.
For dessert we ordered a Mud Pie that had nuts, coffee ice cream, fudge syrup and was topped with whipped cream. It was huge, even after sharing we could not eat it all, but we did eat about 2/3 of the pie. If it would have been possible we would have taken the rest of it home, but alas the result would have been completely melted.
This was the best dessert I've had in a long time, but it was an indulgence, so tonight we will have something light.
Decisions - Should I or Shouldn't IClick thumbnail to view full-size
Lunch is Over
But Not the Scenery
After lunch we took a stroll around the dock. If I thought the scenery was beautiful from the deck, on foot it is breathtaking. To reach the better views you walk under the deck. At the end of the deck is a small waterway filled with ducks. Beyond that and across another waterway there are people fishing or just sitting and looking at the view.
There is a water spout that springs up from the center of the duck area and a tent where special events are held.
At night the boatyard offers a tour around the Eagle Creek Reservoir after your dinner. I've never been there at night, but it must be beautiful in a totally different way.
Enjoy the outside tour with our photos.
Outside Views - The Walking TourClick thumbnail to view full-size
Of Course We Will Be Back
I really hated to leave. It was an idyllic afternoon. I would like to say that there will be a boatyard near you someday, but I can't promise.
Right now there is a Rick's Cafe Boatyard in Omaha, Nebraska, also on the water in a site that enhances the restaurant's nautical theme.
The owner has said there are more of these restaurants in the making, but not where they are or when they will open, so stay tuned.
Waterfront Dining - In Your Experience
Have You Dined at a Waterfront Restaurant
Additional Possibities - For Outdoor Dining
I tried to find books that might suggest different outdoor dining places or experiences along the waterfront or waterways. Hope you find something near you.
This Lens Received a Purple Star
I'd love to know if there are places in your area like Rick's Cafe Boatyard?