It was a part of the Illinois Rivers boating lore if you will.
T he Boatel in Naples, Illinois.
It's history dates back to the 1960s.
All of that came to an end in 1991 when the restaurant and bar were destroyed in a fire.
But now the Boatel has risen again and this time it's ready to serve not just the boaters on the river, but people from across the area.
One of the people responsible for bringing The Boatel back to life is Eric Van Gundy. He grew up near Bluffs Illinois and he remembers when his mom and dad use to bring him to the restaurant that was nestled along the Illinois River. For more then 15 years, the lot stood vacant and in 2007 VanGundy bought the lot not sure of what he was going to do.
"O nce they learned we had bought this property, they were like, wow, we need that restaurant back. And everybody you talked to said, I heard you bought that property. And you are going to rebuild that restaurant down there right? Maybe we should, so that's how it all started," VanGundy said.
So after years of planning, meeting certain guidelines and putting together what he wanted, VanGundy opened the Boatel just about three weeks ago. It's open for lunch and dinner seven days a week and he wants to make sure that it's a place people will come back too. It features a full dining room, a 50 foot bar, a patio outside for when the weather is seasonable and even a small convenience store.
" It's really nice with the holidays coming up, how many people come here and eat and say I have family coming in from St. Louis, Chicago or New York or any where and I can't wait to bring them down and show them this place and that really makes you feel good," he said.
Vangundy's partners in the business are Charlie and Nancy Evans from Scott County. He said there are 50 employees both full time and part time. And he adds that just like the old boatel, the prime seats are the ones next to windows do people can get a good view of the river and the traffic that passes by.
VanGundy broke ground on the new restaurant in August of 2011.