Rumors have circulated around Culver in recent weeks that popular local chef Larry Surrisi will once again be pleasing palettes in his role as one of the community’s several in-demand food gurus. This following the closing last year of the City Diner, Surrisi’s most recent prior food venue. Now John Zehner, owner of two eateries here, has confirmed Surrisi will join another of Culver’s chefs of renown, Greg Ogle, at two newly reformatted restaurants.
The first, The Yacht Club, replaces the Maxinkuckee Bistro as the presiding restaurant at the Culver Cove on East Jefferson Street. The Yacht Club will open April 5, and -- as evidenced at its website, www.culveryachtclub.com  -- will provide seasonal dishes, “using the highest graded meats (and) produce, with a first-class wine selection.” Hours of operation, according to the site, will initially be 4 to 10 p.m., Tuesday through Sunday.
“The Yacht Club will have a few higher end items,” explains Zehner, “but enough moderately priced items to satisfy any budget.”
Zehner describes the restaurant as “family friendly” and non-smoking, and with “a great view of the lake. The Cove did a remodel this winter and created a bunch of comfortable seating in the restaurant waiting area that also looks at the lake. You can park your boat at the Cove docks and enjoy drinks, appetizers and dinner at the Yacht Club.”
Surrisi and Ogle will also be part of the Club’s catering offerings, both at the Cove’s banquet facilities or at customers’ homes.
Rumors have also persisted as to the future of 115 East Jefferson, the site of the former Culver Cabana. Zehner says the building is still a “work in progress” but is nearly remodeled inside, and will reopen April 26 as The 115 Grill, also boasting Ogle’s and Surrisi’s talents.
The new restaurant (www.115grill.com ) will be non-smoking, says Zehner, “with the patio and a new seating arrangement that is family friendly.”
And yes, the popular, vintage school bus will still be there, but other seating, and much of the interior, will be altered from the look it sported during the Cabana days.
“We (will) have TVs and great food,” Zehner says. “Pricing will be moderate so that all families can enjoy. We are trying to configure a family game room so the kids will have a distraction to allow the parents more enjoyment.”
Both venues, he adds, will have “a relaxed, resort-town feel with two chefs ‘dueling it out.’ Greg Ogle and Larry Surrisi both have extensive experience with high quality food. (They’re) a great team.”
Says Surrisi, “We hope to build excitement around fresh new spaces, fresh faces and thoughtful, different menu selections. All of our staffers are pumped about the opportunity to serve the area’s most discerning diners and add in a big way to Culver’s reputation as northern Indiana’s dining destination.”
In addition to the already-mentioned websites, notes Zehner, readers may follow both restaurants on Twitter and Facebook.