For those who want a lakeside meal beyond the cooler full of sandwiches and drinks, a number of restaurants are here to serve you with courtesy boat slips and dockside delivery.
Both Fish Tales and Pig Tales in Flowery Branch allow boaters to dock their watercraft and walk up to the restaurant. Fish Tales in Hideaway Bay Marina focuses on seafood, while Pig Tales at Aqualand Marina is the only barbecue restaurant on the lake.
“We have 22 courtesy slips and can hold around 200 guests,” said Fish Tales general manager Derek Weatherly.
Fish Tales recently updated its menu, adding mussels, new salads and entrees like the Floribbean grouper. The restaurant also has traditional staples like grouper fingers and fish tacos.
“Our grouper fingers are really what we are known for,” said Jackie Shuback, head of marketing and public relations for Fish Tales and Pig Tales.
Pig Tales focuses more on carry-out options that people can pick up and take back on the boat for the day.
They are also planning to begin a delivery service.
“We are going to begin dock deliveries within Aqualand Marina,” Shuback said. “It should be running by June 1.”
The barbecue restaurant, formerly Dockside Grill, can accommodate approximately 175 guests, and seating at the new location is completely outdoors. It is also dog friendly and has multiple courtesy slips for boaters.
“We allow dogs of all sizes on both the upper and lower patios,” Shuback said.
Another option with a courtesy dock is Skogies at Gainesville Marina.
Owner Tony Jonovitch noted that the restaurant has 34 available slips for boats along with pet-friendly areas. They are also the only restaurant on the lake to offer breakfast.
“We will do breakfast from 8 a.m. to noon Sunday and Monday,” Jonovitch said. “We always do breakfast on a holiday Monday with our regular breakfast menu.”
Skogies is also prepared for the weekend with a new menu offering lobster macaroni and cheese, Mediterranean plates and fresh salads. Jonovitch and other Skogies personnel invite people to bring their own drinks if desired.
“We are BYOB, so people can bring their own wine or a six-pack of beer,” Jonovitch said. “We just charge them a one-time cup charge.”
An addition to the lakeside atmosphere at many restaurants is live music.
Skogies will begin offering live music on weekends after Memorial Day.
Beginning on Monday evening, Fish Tales will have live music every night of the week with no cover charge.
“We do live music every summer from Memorial Day to the time kids go back to school in August,” Shuback said.
Pig Tales, in contrast with Fish Tales, will offer live music during the lunch hours some days. Weatherly mentioned that the barbecue restaurant has a larger lunch following, so they plan to bring music to the larger crowds.
Other options with courtesy docks include Pelican Pete’s at Port Royale Marina, Sunset Cove at Lanier Islands Resort and Big Creek Tavern in Buford. The Twisted Oar at Holiday Marina is still under construction.
Access to some restaurants is limited to certain boat sizes.
“There’s a long channel leading (to Fish Tales) from the lake, and you have to go under McEver bridge, so a lot of larger boats can’t get back here,” Shuback said. She noted that the restaurant gets about 50 percent of its business from boaters and 50 percent from those who drive to the marina.
Hideaway Bay Marina offers a large parking lot with access to Fish Tales for those who wish to arrive by land. This weekend, however, part of the lot will be occupied by activities for waiting guests.
“We will have helicopter rides on Sunday at Hideaway Bay so those who are waiting to be seated can take part in that,” Shuback said.
Weatherly and Shuback emphasized that there will be wait times throughout Memorial Day weekend.
Boaters and other patrons are encouraged to be safe and smart when on the lake anywhere.
“Wherever you go, please be courteous of other boaters, the no wake zone, and watch out for kids,” Weatherly said.