For a relaxing venue with casual fine cuisine and heritage rich surroundings look no further than The Bob-lo Island Beach House Restaurant. Located at 144 Bob-lo Island Blvd, Amherstburg, Ontario, it is accessible by private boat, which may be docked next to the restaurant at Bob-lo Island Marina, or a five minute ferry ride from the mainland. Making restaurant reservations ahead of time will discount the ferry trip down to $6. Reservations can be made by calling (519) 992-5770.
Executive Chef Wayne Girard, a native of Windsor, spent twenty years of his culinary career at various South Western Ontario hotels, restaurants, country clubs, and golf courses. Current owners, Larry and Christine, took over operations this season. Larry actually operated the restaurant fifteen years ago. Together the trio have creatively revived the restaurant. The Beach House officially re-opened on May 24, 2013. Open Mid May to around Labour Day, except for a few holidays, the hours of operation are Thursday and Sunday from 11am to 9pm and on Friday and Saturday 11am to 1am (the kitchen closes at 10pm). Both Island residents and the public are invited to dine here.
The casual interior provides air conditioning, large windows overlooking beautiful Lake Erie, and seating for eighty people. The huge outdoor patio seats 140. While the covered patio boasts beautiful ceiling fans Chef Girard explains, “nine times out of ten guests enjoy a breeze coming off the lake.” The patio has an outdoor bar with a few seats. A large outdoor wood burning stone oven is utilized during special events like pig roasts. The restaurant is available for private functions with onsite catering. Offsite catering is also available.
Special events are held monthly with a six course wine tasting event tentatively planned for August. On weekends guests will enjoy live musicians.
Sourcing local wines and fresh local ingredients is highly emphasized by the chef. Six area wineries are featured on the wine list. Fresh produce is seasonal and picked up from Amherstburg roadside produce stands or Essex County farmers. In addition, Chef Girard’s passion for freshness and flavour shines through because he grows some herbs and vegetables used in meals in the garden adjacent to the restaurant.
Originally, a burgers and fries type menu was planned. Instead a sizzling selection of casual fine cuisine is available to tantalize taste buds. Of course, the kids menu reflects the burger and fries idea but adventurous adults can enjoy varieties of shrimp, escargot, muscles, Cajun beef tips, creative salads, wings, sandwiches, and pitas. The dinners include hand dusted Great Lake perch (usually caught and served the same day) and the chef’s specialty chicken almandine amaretto. Vegetarian options are available too.
Remnants of The Bob-lo Island Amusement Park closed in the early 1990’s and the Bois Blanc Lighthouse built in 1836, designated a National Historic Site of Canada, still stand. History can be discovered along the relaxing hiking trails after enjoying the delightful cuisine at The Bob-lo Island Beach House Restaurant.
This article, written by Eric Bonnici, was first published in the August 2013 edition of Snapd Windsor