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LakeHouse Restaurant and Grill in Buffalo Park Maryville IL

The LakeHouse at Buffalo Park is the latest reincarnation of a Maryville landmark, still offering food and drink in a park-like setting, but now resembling a more traditional restaurant.

For decades, the 6,500 square foot building served as the Maryville Knights of Columbus Hall. Volunteers organized Friday night fish fries, bingo and other activities before it sold out in 2012.

For the past four years, the building and property have been leased by Brad Menard, also owner of Schatze’s Bar and Grill in Belleville. He gradually oversees the renovations and expands the menu.

“What we’re aiming to do is serve the food your mom used to make, only better, giving it a more upscale touch,” he said. “We have no great illusions. We are a bar and a grill. But we still want to offer a few more sophisticated items. We want people to be able to come here on a date.

The LakeHouse menu includes hand-garnished appetizers, salads, sandwiches, main courses and half-pound burgers. Chicken wings cost 45 cents each on Wednesdays. Other specialties include fried chicken on Sunday, meatloaf on Monday and fish on Friday.

Chef Chuck Woolery is best known for his sauces and condiments, including chocolate barbecue sauce for pork steaks, crisp Guinness mustard for the kids, bourbon onion jam for burgers, and maple bacon sauce. for the wings.

“I come up with new sauces pretty much every week,” he said. ” It’s my thing. They can turn a bland meal into something overdone.

Brad, 41, of Troy, grew up in the restaurant business. His parents, Robert and Jerry Menard, opened the first Bobby’s in Fairview Heights in 1978 and then operated a second location in Meadowbrook.

Robert owned Schatze’s from 1992 to 2001 before passing it on to his son. Plans for a second location in Edwardsville failed, so Brad turned his attention to Maryville.

The Buffalo Park property has a rich history dating back to the days of the Kickapoo tribe.

Today, tall trees shade picnic tables, washing pits, an outdoor bar and gazebo. Brad repainted the building’s rust-colored siding and doubled the size of a patio that overlooks a lake with a fountain.

“It’s just a nice park-like setting,” said Russ Geisz, 53, a Knights of Columbus member of Collinsville, who helps with the maintenance. “And the food is fantastic.”

His favorite menu dishes? Pork steaks, fried chicken and fried Brussels sprouts.

Brad first named Bobby’s @ Buffalo Park restaurant after his father’s last name in 2013, but ran into legal issues with Bobby’s Frozen Custard down the street. This led to The LakeHouse.

Inside, Brad installed a new kitchen, removed the suspended ceiling, opened up the bar, covered some walls with oak, and decorated with neon beer signs and white ice cubes.

“The Knights of Columbus guys milled the ground of all the trees they cut to build the place, so we weren’t going to get rid of them,” he said. “But we cleaned a lot. “

Chuck came on board as a chef about seven months ago. He previously worked at the Sheraton Westport Lakeside Chalet and Baileys’ Chocolate Bar in St. Louis, the Beast Craft BBQ in Belleville and the Hilton Garden Inn in O’Fallon.

A common joke is that he stays calm no matter what. He calls the kitchen his “happy place”.

“I didn’t go to school for that,” said Chuck, 36, of Belleville. “I have a bachelor’s degree in English and an associate in psychology. Love the food.

The LakeHouse can accommodate up to 200 people. It has three pool tables, a disc jockey after 9:00 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays and live bands from 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. on Sundays. The outdoor bar is open Wednesday evenings in conjunction with a washing machine league.

Brad thanks his wife, Lauren, Project Manager at Basler Electric Co., for supporting all of his catering businesses. The Ménards have three children.

“None of this would be possible without my wife’s help,” Brad said.

  • What: The LakeHouse at Buffalo Park Grill and Bar
  • Where: 2822 N. Center St. in Maryville, Illinois 159
  • Hours: 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. Sunday to Thursday and 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. Fridays and Saturdays
  • Seats: around 200
  • Entertainment: Disc jckey at 9 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays and groups from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Sundays
  • Other: Party room, take-away meals
  • Accessible to people with reduced mobility: Yes
  • Information: Dial 618-288-2200 or visit the Facebook page
  • LakeHouse Burger – Half-pound burger, hand au gratin and seasoned at home, grilled and served on a toast bun with sautéed or raw lettuce, tomatoes, pickles and onions ($ 7.98 with fries)
  • Beef Medallion – Seared beef medallion, topped with beef and mushroom demi-glace ($ 12.98 with two sides)
  • Chocolate BBQ Pork Steak – 14 oz pork steak with dry seasoning, grilled and glazed with homemade chocolate barbecue sauce ($ 6.98 with two sides)
  • Fried Chicken – Hand breaded and fried to order with choice of two sides, including mashed potatoes with sawmill sauce ($ 9.98 for four pieces or $ 6.98 for two; add $ 1.50 for all white)
  • Friday Fish – Cod, Jack Salmon or Catfish, Hand Breaded with House Seasoning and Deep Fried ($ 8.98 with two sides)

This story was originally published July 14, 2017 8:00 a.m.

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