Business Spotlight: The Lakehouse Grille
The Lakehouse Grille in Culver has prioritized making people happy since its opening in May of 2012. The award-winning restaurant is known in the area for their ribs, crab cakes and Reubens.
“So, I call us high-end casual,” says owner Mark Damore. “If you had to put a cuisine title to it, it’d probably be American cuisine, but it’s a very diverse menu.”
The phrase “high-end casual” may come across as confusing to some, but it reflects the variation and uniqueness in the menu, as well as in the people that come from near and far to dine at The Lakehouse Grille. Consistently, people can be seen within the restaurant for all kinds of different reasons: some come to celebrate anniversaries, birthdays, retirements and the like. Others are there to grab a bite to eat after a day relaxing at the lake. Damore describes the restaurant as a gathering place for all different kinds of people.
“We get people from all over] and that means the world to me and my staff,” he says. “They walk over from the beach, in swim trunks or a tank top, or it can be upscale, with people celebrating their golden anniversaries, dressed to the nines.”
Part of the appeal of The Lakehouse Grille is the sheer amount of awards they have won over the years. For multiple years in a row, the restaurant has been voted number one in a total of six categories. Marshall County recognizes The Lakehouse Grille as being number one in Fine Dining, Restaurant Service, Romantic Restaurants, Hamburgers, Seafood and Steak. The recognition means a lot to the staff. Damore mentions consistently how “eternally grateful” he is for all of their patrons who vote for them and support them, as they have since the opening of the establishment.
Award-winning service is not a surprise. The staff at The Lakehouse Grille is friendly, courteous and involved with their customers.
“Sometimes restaurants get that stigma that they’re a temporary job, but I love when people embrace that this is a very good career,” Damore says. “I have several servers who know our guests’ families. They come in, and our servers know their grandkids’ names. That’s impressive, seeing as how we serve [thousands of] people a year.”
The staff is truly always looking to make a guest’s experience in the restaurant a good one. Providing a quality experience is partially why they renovated their banquet rooms in 2015. The two rooms can be combined to hold up to 70 people for events, and they are becoming popular for their quality food and views.
Their banquet room, the larger of the two, typically holds about 45 people. It is usually set up with four round tables for guests to sit at. The other room, the conference room, holds about 20 people. The conference room usually has one large table running down the middle.
“I got this idea to do these two banquet rooms, and they’re more soundproof,” Damore says. “The conference room has nice wood-paneling. We can do Christmas parties, rehearsal dinners, birthdays, anniversaries, retirement parties. My kitchen is wonderful at doing large groups. The banquet room has south-facing windows overlooking our patio.”
Not only does the staff work to make their patrons happy, but The Lakehouse Grille also works to provide positive experiences in the community, too. Whether it is donating time, money or space for events, Damore loves giving back. It’s part of owning a small business in a small town, he says.
None of what Damore does, though, would be possible without his hardworking staff and his family.“My wife Dana, she helps me in so many ways run this restaurant, and I can’t thank her enough, he says. “I have a young son, Liam, and he’s really in so many ways the motivation for so many things for me.”
The Lakehouse Grille is located at 620 E. Lake Shore Dr. in Culver. They are open Tuesday through Sunday, opening at 11 a.m. You can give them a call at 574-842-2234 or visit them online at thelakehouseculver.com for more information.