An iconic St. Louis dining destination recently reopened with a new operator. Forest Park’s longstanding Boathouse officially debuted under the management of Sugarfire Events on April 25 with a full menu of appetizers, entrees, sandwiches and more.

The space received a kitchen remodel as well as a contemporary facelift, with a fresh paint job and nautical photographs to accentuate the dining room’s classic aspects such as skylights and double-sided fireplace. The annex building next to the restaurant will serve as a private event space.

Chef Jack W. MacMurray III oversees the restaurant’s kitchen. His lengthy culinary resume includes cooking and consulting for area businesses, most recently including Kirkwood Station Brewing Co., Schneidhorst’s, Chandler Hill Vineyards and Candicci’s Restaurant & Bar.

“Mike Johnson and I have been good friends for many years. When he got the place, he knew I’d be a perfect fit,” MacMurray says. “Boathouse has an American menu with regional and [global] influences. It’s definitely the core of my cooking style.”

Some of MacMurray’s signatures include an almond-encrusted and flash-fried shrimp appetizer served with citrus Thai sweet chile sauce. His Mac Daddy BLT comes with avocado, vine-ripened tomato, butter lettuce, toasted sourdough and chipotle aïoli. The Boathouse salad comes 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.

Additional highlights include bacon-wrapped pork tenderloin with sweet potato-asparagus hash and spiced cherry glaze; smoked chicken and shrimp penne sauté with andouille sausage, tomato, spinach and Cajun alfredo; and platters for sharing featuring local charcuterie, artisanal cheeses, house-cured salmon gravlax and more.

The concept’s revamp also includes two retooled patio bars with a beverage selection that includes six draft beers, 25 more canned options and a full spectrum of spirits. Batch cocktails  available in single-serving carafes as well as pitchers  will include options such as Margaritas, a peach-mango Ice Pick and whiskey lemonade. The bar menu will also include a selection of grab-and-go picnic-friendly items such as sandwiches, salads and cold appetizers.

“We looked at what we had here, and tried to elevate the experience by completely utilizing everything this property has and how it should be used to really pay honor to the beauty of one of the most iconic landmarks in St. Louis,” says bar manager Dan Jameson, who is also in charge of the venue’s live entertainment.

“We’re excited to give people a fulfilling experience with the Boathouse at Forest Park,” MacMurray adds. “Great food, great music, great service, a beautiful atmosphere, an iconic bar and an iconic location.”

Boathouse at Forest Park’s current hours of operation are Monday through Saturday from 11am to 10pm (bar until 12am) as well as Sunday from 10am to 9pm. Brunch is available Sundays from 10am to 2pm.

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

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