Good Eats at E-Town River Restaurant
Visitors to Elizabethtown between mid-March and mid-November won’t want to miss a meal at the E-Town River Restaurant, a barge converted into a floating restaurant on the Ohio River. Local fishermen provide fresh catfish caught locally about three days each week.
“We process it here on site and fry it up to a golden delicious state, and that seems to be bringing the people in,” says Patrick Jorner, who bought the floating restaurant in 2007.
Jorner says the river fish dinner special is the most popular item on the menu, which includes about a half-pound of fish, a potato side, beans, slaw and hush puppies on one platter. The restaurant serves both river-caught fish and pond-raised fish, and customers’ palates and preferences have changed since they first opened.
“We used to sell quite a bit of pond-raised fish, but in recent years we are selling more river than we are pond,” he says.
The menu at E-Town River Restaurant also includes traditional items, such as hamburgers, chicken, pork tenderloin and salad. The dining room seats just 48 people, but a two-story floating patio and 50-foot-span dock off the back of the boat add capacity for another 100 customers. The restaurant opens seasonally and keeps summer hours between Memorial Day and Labor Day by extending the dining hours by one hour at the end of each day.
“It’s kind of a unique little place,” Jorner says. “It’s not a fine-dining establishment by any means. In the summertime, we’ve got boaters and bikers galore coming in here. It’s just a unique spot to stop and have lunch or dinner and just enjoy being out in southern Illinois. This is a draw down here for E-Town. I’m happy to be part of it.”
If You Go...
Location: 100 Front St. in Elizabethtown
Phone: (618) 287-2333
Open mid-March to mid-November Hours: Sunday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Summer Hours (Memorial Day to Labor Day): Sunday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Website: E-Town River Restaurant
As always, please call ahead before traveling long distances.