Borisch brings eatery, marina, jobs to Walloon Lake
This schematic drawing shows what the Barrel Back restaurant and Water's Edge marina should look like once complete. (COURTESY PHOTO / February 1, 2013)
Matt Borisch says he bought a series of properties in the little village last year with a simple intention: to bring life to the town and create something lasting.
A marina, restaurant, boat showroom and service center are all planned for this summer.
Construction of the buildings to house those businesses is progressing as planned. The boat dealership is currently open to customers by appointment, the service center will open April 15 and the marina and restaurant are expected to open by Memorial Day weekend.
Just this week Borisch selected an executive chef to lead the 150-seat Barrel Back restaurant.
The restaurant, named after a type of classic boat popular in the 1930s, 40s and 50s, will be open year-round, seven days a week in the summer and five in the winter.
Borisch expects to employ about 40 people at the restaurant and another 30 to 40 at the marina attached to it during the busy season.
DJ Flynn, 36, of Charlevoix, was chosen as executive chef for the restaurant.
Flynn cut his teeth in the kitchen as a 14-year-old working for Stafford's Hospitality. He attended culinary school in Grand Rapids, then went on to work at Tapawingo, a four-star restaurant in Ellsworth and, for the last eight years, was executive chef at the Bay Harbor Yacht Club.
Flynn and Borisch sat together in a booth at the Walloon Village General Store this week chatting about plans for Barrel Back.
"I think good food is just simple food," Flynn said.
He plans to offer a wide variety of lunch and dinner dishes at the restaurant.
"Primarily wood-fired pizzas, wood-fired, grilled items, barbecue," he said.
"We're going to have a menu that crosses boundaries and a price point that allows something for everyone," added Borisch.
The building the restaurant and marina will be housed in, located across from the general store, is one unique aspect of the business, according to Borisch, who went to great lengths to preserve its historic structure and facade.
The entire upstairs dining area will allow for open-air meals. Rather than windows looking out over the lake, there will be large garage doors that can be opened when the weather is nice, or closed when it's cold.
"Any seat in the restaurant is going to have a view," said Borisch, "With the exception of the kitchen, but we're making a window for them." He and Flynn laughed.
"That was one thing I insisted on," said the chef. "A window."
"I can imagine the restaurant will feel very attached to the surroundings (because of the al fresco seating)," he continued, "You'll feel connected to the setting, the lake."
Follow @aebracoe on Twitter.