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Weekend Eating at a Boatyard

Updated on August 21, 2012

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.

The Boatyard
The Boatyard

It Actually is a Boatyard

The Story

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 Deck
The Deck

The Deck

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, Bird

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Bird Posing for Photo on Deck RailingMe Looking At MenuSailboat on the ReservoirBoasts on the ReservoirThe Distant Landscape
Bird Posing for Photo on Deck Railing
Bird Posing for Photo on Deck Railing
Me Looking At Menu
Me Looking At Menu
Sailboat on the Reservoir
Sailboat on the Reservoir
Boasts on the Reservoir
Boasts on the Reservoir
The Distant Landscape
The Distant Landscape
Lunch at the Boatyard
Lunch at the Boatyard

The Food

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.

Mud Pie
Mud Pie

The Dessert

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 I

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Me contemplating the size of the mud pieCutting the pie
Me contemplating the size of the mud pie
Me contemplating the size of the mud pie
Cutting the pie
Cutting the pie
Under the Deck
Under the Deck

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 Tour

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Me on the ramp to the boatsView of Boat RampDucksFishingRelaxingFamily OutingFlowers
Me on the ramp to the boats
Me on the ramp to the boats
View of Boat Ramp
View of Boat Ramp
Ducks
Ducks
Fishing
Fishing
Relaxing
Relaxing
Family Outing
Family Outing
Flowers
Flowers
Rear View of Rick's
Rear View of Rick's

Final Thoughts

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

Waterfront Dining
Waterfront Dining

Have You Dined at a Waterfront Restaurant

See results

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

This Lens Received a Purple Star
This Lens Received a Purple Star

I'd love to know if there are places in your area like Rick's Cafe Boatyard?

Comments are Always Welcome

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    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      At lake Keystone in Mannford Oklahoma The Marina Cafe is a wonderful place to eat after a wonderful morning water skiing and swimming

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Yes, there are several - I live in Michigan which in addition to being surrounded by great lakes, has hundreds of lakes. I love eating on the water. Thanks for sharing your experience. Blessed.

    • iamraincrystal profile image

      Rosyel Sawali 5 years ago from Manila Philippines

      Lovely! Now I want to dine in an outdoor cafe too ^_^

    • profile image

      athrunzala 5 years ago

      nice featured lens

    • profile image

      athrunzala 5 years ago

      nice featured lens

    • DrBillSmithWriter profile image

      William Leverne Smith 5 years ago from Hollister, MO

      Beautiful photos. Love that mud pie!! Congrats! Blessing! ;-)

    • aka-rms profile image

      Robin S 5 years ago from USA

      Congratulations, this lens is being featured at SquidooHQ today: http://hq.squidoo.com/lensmaster-spotlight/what-ar...

    • poldepc lm profile image

      poldepc lm 5 years ago

      great lens Thanks for sharing...

    • artbyrodriguez profile image

      Beverly Rodriguez 5 years ago from Albany New York

      Dining by the water is relaxing and enjoyable. Congratulations on your Purple Star!

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      We have riverfront restaurants here. The food is great.