A classic St. Louis dining destination recently reopened with a new operator, a revamped bar program and a full menu of appetizers, entrées, sandwiches and more. The longstanding Boathouse at Forest Park officially debuted under the management of Sugarfire Events in April, with the kitchen under the direction of veteran chef Jack W. MacMurray III.

MacMurray’s lengthy culinary résumé includes cooking and consulting for area businesses, including Kirkwood Station Brewing Co., Schneidhorst’s, Chandler Hill Vineyards and Candicci’s Restaurant & Bar. He draws on nearly three decades of experience – such as cooking for President Gerald Ford – to put out a vibrant menu ideal for enjoying lakeside.

Some of MacMurray’s signatures include the Mac Daddy BLT with avocado, vine-ripened tomato, butter lettuce, toasted sourdough and chipotle aïoli, or the Boathouse Salad, with harvest blended greens, radish, pear, goat cheese, candied pecans and a maple-raspberry-herb vinaigrette – a dressing MacMurray created more than 20 years ago and has served at hundreds of weddings since.

How did you go about approaching the menu for an iconic spot like the Boathouse? First and foremost, by understanding the clientele. I built it around our locals that bring family and friends here. I’ve been in town for 18 years and have learned what works well. [Sugarfire owner] Mike Johnson and I have been good friends for many years. When he got the place, he knew I’d be a perfect fit. Boathouse has an American menu with regional and [global] influences. It’s definitely the core of my cooking style.

Tell us about the menu. I was able to create my own menu from scratch. I drew a lot from my years of experience, including my time at [the now-shuttered] Sage Urban American Grill; that won a lot of awards, and it’s the same style, for sure. When you have a diverse menu, you can please everyone.

What are some of your favorite dishes? Our signature [dish] is a Sugarfire smoked brisket and Provel toasted ravioli with Memphis marinara. The second appetizer I’d recommend is the almond-encrusted flash-fried shrimp, with a citrus-Thai sweet chile sauce. For an entrée, try a dish that’s a variation from Sage: smoked chicken and shrimp penne sauté with andouille sausage, tomato, spinach and Cajun Alfredo. We’re excited to give people a fulfilling experience with the Boathouse: great food, great music, great service, a beautiful atmosphere, an iconic bar and an iconic location.

Boathouse at Forest Park, 6101 Government Dr., Forest Park, St. Louis, Missouri, 314.366.1555, boathousestl.com

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