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Aug. 14, 2018
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New eats, frozen drinks, local brews highlight lake’s summer dining

By Pamela A. Keene 
 
Dining on Lake Lanier just keeps getting better and better. Restaurants at various marinas and near the shoreline offer year-round fresh seafood, signature items and more. 
 
But when Memorial Day arrives, not only do locals have a plethora of choices, visitors to the lake find that at Lake Lanier you can pick from some of the best eats in Northeast Georgia seven days a week. Read on to learn about what the lake’s restaurants have in store for the season.
 
Pig Tales owners Jessica and Dale Ozaki have literally raised the roof at Aqualand Marina. Over the past few months, they’ve replaced and expanded the covered patio to 1,500-square-feet of dining area. The tradition built on menu items featuring barbecued pork continues with its “Hog Heaven” barbecue sandwich in either 8-ounce or 1-pound servings of tender pulled pork and brisket served on the locally baked Kings Hawaiian rolls. New this year, Pig Tales has added a barbecue pimento flat bread, with house-smoked pork and locally sourced pimento cheese. Pig Tales was one of eight restaurants across the nation featured in the Travel Channel’s “Food Paradise” broadcast last fall. It was selected as part of the program’s “Dockside Dining” episode. 
Pig Tales will have live music on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. For info, call 678 828-7676 or visit www.pigtaleslakelanier.com.
 
Ozaki’s sister restaurant Fish Tales in Hideaway Bay is known for its fresh take on seafood. This season new menu items include Tuna Poke, pronounced pokey, an appetizer made with diced sushi-grade Ahi Tuna, plus jerk red snapper, citrus bacon salmon and Hawaiian steak kebabs. Favorites from previous seasons, such as conch fritters, Fish Tales/grouper fingers, fish tacos and grouper sandwiches are complimented by made-from-scratch crab cakes and coconut shrimp. Fish Tales is open seven days a week with music every Friday, Saturday and Sunday through Memorial Day when the entertainment schedule expands to seven nights a week. For info, call 770-967-3775 or visit www.fishtaleslakelanier.com.
 
Twisted Oar at Holiday Marina, which according to owner Cary Eubank had a great winter season by being open seven days a week, has expanded its food and beverage menus. Its hand-pattied burgers, in 5-ounce or 8-ounce portions can be served in more than a dozen different ways and toppings. Hand-tossed pizzas were added in mid-February and have already become a popular item. “Our seared tuna and salmon BLTs are huge with our guests,” said Eubank, who begins his fourth year in business at Holiday this June. “And we’ve just opened the twisted Hut Bar for walk-up drink service.” It serves six frozen drinks, draft beer and two specialty beverages, Voodoo Rum Punch and Moon Lemonade. Twisted Oar’s main dining room offers 20 draft beers, including Left Nut Brewery’s mango wheat, crafted in Oakwood. Eubanks recently hired Dani Leadwell as his general manager. “She’s been in the food and beverage business for 15 years, so many people around the lake know of her,” he said. “We’re happy to have her here.” Special events include Trivia Mondays, Taco/Tequila Tuesdays, Crab Leg Thursdays and prime rib on Friday nights. The restaurant has live music Thursdays through Sundays. For more info, call 678-714-7572 or visit www.facebook.com/twistedoar.
 
As Lake Lanier’s only floating eatery, Pelican Pete’s at Port Royale has added more seating and beefed up the back of the house with a brand-new walk-in freezer and cooler. “That’s a big deal, because now we can say that we serve the coldest beer on the lake,” said general manager Brian Grill. “The kegs are stored at 30 degrees and pulled directly from the kegs through the taps.” Pelican Pete’s has eight brews on tap from local craft beers to familiar favorites. “We’ve nicknamed the 500-square-foot cooler the Ice Berg, because it floats,” he said. “And of course we’ll continue our popular frozen drinks. The most popular are our Pina Colada and daquiris.” New menu items are “The Captain,” a 7-ounce hand-pattied burger with house-made pimento cheese and pepper jelly, Caribbean jerk chicken taco and its pineapple cilantro lime slaw. Open Thursday through Sunday in May, Pelican Pete’s is open seven days a week starting Memorial Day weekend. Guests coming by boat can park at the courtesy slips. For more info call 770 877-5717, or visit www.bestinboating.com
 
Skogie’s, at Gainesville Marina, serves up an all-you-can-eat brunch buffet every Sunday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Featuring Skogie’s famous Benedicts, it also includes shrimp, fish, pancakes, French toast, an omelet station and eggs to order. Owner Tony Jonovitch has kicked up the atmosphere at Skogie’s. “It’s Key West style here. We’ve now got seating for around 200 people and we’ve added a 30-foot bar with wine and 14 draft beer offerings,” he said. “And we’re the only restaurant on Lake Lanier that owns our own dedicated docks just for the restaurant.” They’re located near the gas dock at Gainesville Marina. Popular items like the prime rib sandwich, surf and turf, and the blackened or grilled salmon summer salad with strawberries and kale are back for 2018.
Skogie’s is open Wednesday through Sunday until Memorial Day, when it shifts to seven-day-a-week service. For more info call 678 450-1310 or visit www.skogieslakefrontrestaurant.us.
 
Located on Lanier Islands Parkway, Coastal Breeze serves lunch and dinner all year long, seven says a week. Owner Erik Nilson has done a growing business since he opened Coastal Breeze six years ago. The eatery is known for its fresh seafood, but also for the house-made hand-crafted sauces that compliment fish and meat dishes. Nilson said Coastal Breeze will be marketing take-home sauces and salad dressings.  The restaurant has added crab ragoons and red snapper this year. It is also serving prime rib on Friday nights. Popular signature menu items range from steamed mussels to crab cakes and Gulf shrimp, plus Mahi Mahi, grouper, tilapia, salmon and flounder, and its fresh seasonal catch of the day. For more info, call 770 945-9181 or visit www.coastalbreezega.com.
 
No matter what your tastes, check out the menu changes and additions, revisit your top picks from previous seasons and enjoy expanded space and frequent music to make this Lake Lanier’s best summer ever. Make it your mission to get to every one of Lake Lanier’s restaurants early in the season so that you can pick your favorites and get your fill of hand-pattied burgers, prime rib, fresh seafood, crab cakes and other delectable treats.

Posted online 4/30/18
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