By Lisa Lance
Patrick Boylan didn’t set out to be a restaurant owner, but when the opportunity to purchase one of his favorite dining spots presented itself, he couldn’t pass it up. J. Bruner’s, “the Lake’s Classic Steakhouse,” is located in the popular city of Osage Beach at Lake of the Ozarks. Chef John Bruner opened the restaurant in 1980. Upon his death, his daughter Deanna Bruner inherited the establishment, and Boylan, who said he had been visiting the establishment as a diner for 20 years, purchased the restaurant in November 2006. The Bruner legacy lives on not only in the name of the establishment, but also in its daily operations, as Deanna Bruner continues her involvement as a manager, along with Noelle Frazier. The restaurant’s menu reflects Chef John’s work, as well.
“We both have kept the original breadings, seasonings, famous salad dressings and all the homemade items that make J. Bruner’s so special,” said Boylan. Boylan is president of PDC Productions (www.pdcproductions.com), an awardwinning event planning company based in Norman, Okla. He said he enjoys owning the restaurant, although his busy schedule often keeps him out of town. “I have a lot of fun,” he said.
Space for dining , presenting and more
J. Bruner’s offers several options for events. The Red Room Lounge on the first floor can be reserved for a private party of up to 44 guests, but it most often serves as a gathering place for cocktails and conversation prior to an event, “which is great for networking,” said Bruner. The second floor has three semi-private dining rooms. The front room can accommodate 50 guests, the side room can hold 24 and the back room can accommodate up to 45 people. The side room features a 50” plasma screen, and the back room has a screen available for groups that need a projector for presentations. The restaurant has hosted medical meetings, presentations for pharmaceutical representatives, company parties, corporate events and association meetings. There is no room rental fee. “If I get the opportunity to serve a group, I will make it happen,” said Boylan. Fluid Equipment, a water and wastewater equipment provider based in Lee’s Summit, Mo., has held its customer appreciation dinner at J. Bruner’s for the past three years. About 35 people attend the event, which takes place during the Missouri Water Environment Association’s and Missouri American Water Works Association’s combined annual meeting at Tan-Tar-A Resort. Jerry Vernon of Fluid Equipment said his company was very happy with the venue, and he plans to return next year. “The restaurant staff went above and beyond the call of duty taking care of our needs,” he said. “Every comment I heard was very complimentary of the staff. They were very friendly and courteous. Very little waiting occurred when there was a need for refills or any other item. From my point of view, they were top notch!”
Classic Steakhouse Fare
A Lake of the Ozarks fixture for the past three decades, the restaurant is known for its food. “Probably the number one thing is the seasoning the chef created 30 years ago,” said Bruner. “You find it on all the steaks.” Bruner also takes pride in the quality of the food served at J. Bruner’s and said this sets it apart from other restaurants. “You can definitely taste it when it gets on the plate.” The most popular appetizer on the menu is the onion rings ($11.00), followed by the lobster macaroni and cheese—chunks of lobster with cavatappi pasta in a blend of four cheeses ($17.00). Soups such as the J. Bruner’s prime rib soup, and salads such as the lettuce wedge with bacon and blue cheese, range from $6.00 to $8.00. These can be substituted for any of the sides that accompany each entrée. Entrees include farfalle with Italian sausage marinara sauce served with salad and garlic bread ($19.00), a 20-ounce porterhouse steak with salad and choice of side ($46.00), and two six-ounce lobster tails—batter-fried or broiled—with salad and choice of side ($55.00). For groups, Boylan recommends estimating $30.00 to $35.00 per person. “We encourage everyone to order off the menu so the guests can have what they want,” he said. Steven Kahrs of Osage Catfisheries, Inc., said his organization has chosen J. Bruner’s as the location for its employee Christmas party and summer employee party, and as a venue to entertain international customers. The events range in size from four guests to 40 and usually begin on the ground floor for drinks before moving upstairs to a dining space. Kahrs said he chose the restaurant because of the quality and consistency of the food, as well as the staff and owner. “[We’re] always very happy with the friendliness of the staff and the accommodation that Bruner’s will make for our foreign guests, our family and our employees,” he said. Terri Rae Hall, CTFA, director of fund development for the Lake Regional Health System, said she chose to hold an event at J. Bruner’s for several reasons. “Patrick is a very loyal supporter of Lake Regional Health System and we wanted to support his business,” she said. “J. Bruner’s has a great reputation and excellent food.” Her organization held an estate planning seminar at the restaurant in 2009. About 20 people attended the event, which included a presentation and dinner in one of the semi-private rooms. She said the group chose a limited menu of three items from which guests could choose.
A Planner ’s Perspective
Boylan feels his background as an event planning professional is an advantage for groups considering J. Bruner’s. He is an active board member of the Lake of the Ozarks Convention and Visitor Bureau (CVB), as well as other CVBs throughout the country, and he has more than 25 years of experience in the industry. He noted that when other event planners call with their questions and challenges, “I understand it a little better than your average restaurant owner.” The attention to detail and level of service Boylan cultivates is noticed by patrons. “They went out of their way to make sure everything was perfect. They treated us like we were the only people in the restaurant,” said Hall. “It was a very enjoyable evening.” MM&E
(Lisa Lance is a contributor from Towson, Md.)
Contact information :
Patrick M. Boylan, Owner
5166 Highway 54
Osage Beach, MO 65065