I have some sad news to break to Twin Ports diners. The Boathouse Restaurant, one of the brightest lights on Superior’s culinary scene, has closed.
Jack Bratrud, who owns the restaurant with his wife, Nancy, said the decision to close was largely the result of a weak economy and a failed bank loan.
The couple was in the process of trying to sell the business to their son and chef, Kirk Bratrud, and he had been approved for a loan to purchase the restaurant, so long as an appraisal backed up the value of the property.
But Jack Bratrud said that appraisal came in much lower than expected, scuttling the deal. He said he was greatly surprised, because the latest appraised value of the property was
“much lower than just five years ago.” This was even more remarkable to Bratrud in light of recent improvements to neighboring property, including Vista Fleet’s recent build-out of a shop and ticket station.
The Bratruds were counting on the loan, and Jack said there simply wasn’t sufficient time to switch gears and approach a new lender.
The Boathouse Restaurant structure is owned by the Bratruds, but they lease the underlying land from the city of Superior.
The Bratruds opened the Boathouse, located on Barker’s Island, in 2003. Their son, Kirk Bratrud, a well-known and respected chef who earned a reputation for his former prowess at Bayport Cookery, headed up the Boathouse’s kitchen.
Bratrud was known for his commitment to using fresh local produce, Lake Superior fish and other regional ingredients in his dishes. The 80-seat restaurant also featured a wood-fired grill.
The Bratrud family also formerly operated the popular Mrs. B’s Inn in Lanesboro, Minn., where Kirk cut his teeth as a chef.
No word yet on where Kirk Bratrud will direct his talents in the future, but I, for one, hope he’ll stay in the area.