Food in review: The Boat House

Allison Mueller

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The Lucy Burger served at The Boat House is stuffed with cheese curds. LEAH PERRI

Leah Perri/ Winonan

Not all burgers are created equal.

Over at the Boat House restaurant and bar, located on Johnson Street by the Levee, a burger unlike any other is served.

The infamous “Boat House Lucy” is a grilled half-pound, all beef patty stuffed with cheese curds. Garnished with lettuce, tomatoes, grilled onions, truffle oil, garlic mayo and a side of freshly cut fries, the Lucy is a burger you won’t soon forget.

Let’s just say: this is not a burger you want to order on a first date.

I recently had the opportunity of trying the Lucy for the first time. I had never been to the Boat House before, and I had heard mixed reviews about the food. While the Boat House is pretty well known by locals, not many Winona State University students seem to eat there. I decided to get the scoop myself.

A friend and I entered the Boat House on a rainy, stormy Thursday evening. We had hoped to sit on the patio overlooking the river but because of the rain, opted for one of the spacious and dry, wooden tables inside the restaurant.

The staff was extremely friendly and attentive, ushering us to our table, and swiftly bringing our drinks. We decided on an appetizer of mushroom and artichoke gratin; a garlic parmesan herb cream sauce served with grilled bread.

The cream sauce was delicious, but we were only served five pieces of bread – not enough for the generous bowl of creamy gratin. Our waiter brought out more bread upon request.

Meanwhile, the staff had a lot of good things to say about the establishment.

One kitchen staff member, Josie Gheen, said the establishment buys locally and organically as much as possible.

“Our mission is to provide the community with homemade food they can eat on a patio overlooking the river and beauteous Levee Park,” she said.

The Boat House is not only known for their Lucy burger, but also for their fish entrées: fish and chips, trout dinners and walleye and catfish specials, Gheen said.

After a short wait, our food was brought out. The highly anticipated Lucy burger was so large I had to cut it in half. The melted cheese curds stuffed in the middle of the patty were delicious and something I had never had before.

However, the burger was a little overdone, and I would have liked even more cheese in or on the burger.

My friend opted for the beef stew special. The beef was very tender and was mixed in with garlic-mashed potatoes, chunky carrots and corn, set in a broth-like sauce. While we were expecting something a little thicker and more gravy-like, the flavors of the dish were excellent.

Overall, the atmosphere and the service were excellent at the Boat House. The food was good— but not amazing — and was a little overpriced. I can see why many students shy away from the establishment because of the high expense. I still think it is priced adequately for the quality, organic food being served.

The Boat House—and the infamous Lucy burger—is something people will have to experience for themselves.