Business Spotlight: Boat club cafe reopens as Riverboat Grill

John Moschella (left to right), Megan Farney, Megan Allan and Jacob Allan are the new owners of Riverboat Grill. (Alfred Miller/alfred.miller@state-journal.com)

Four friends who share a love of the Kentucky River are looking to make a splash downtown by revamping the Frankfort Boat Club’s riverside cafe.

Now called the Riverboat Grill, the restaurant reopened for the boating season this month with a new menu and a refurbished interior meant to give it less of a concession stand feel.

Jacob Allan, who owns the grill with his wife, Megan, and friends John Moschella and Megan Farney said he hopes the endeavor will help Frankfort move toward embracing its identity as a river town.

“A place like this hopefully will bring on that change,” Allan told The State Journal.

Located near the base of the Singing Bridge, the grill will be open seven days a week until the fall — one of the few downtown restaurants open on Sunday.

“There are small things you can do to make it really awesome,” said Farney, who designed the new menu.

The grill’s chicken and tuna salads are made fresh daily, and its onion rings and corn dogs are hand-battered, Farney said. Produce is sourced from nearby Pic Pac grocery store, according to Moschella, who formerly worked at the Dragon pub and the Capital Plaza Hotel.

A desire to make items mostly by hand was influenced heavily by Moshella’s grandfather Thomas Ramsey, who owned a bakery in Youngstown, Ohio, when Moschella was growing up.

“When I was 3 or 4 years old we’d go up to the bakery — go right through the back door — and smell all his donuts,” recalled Moschella. “He was always my idol. Everything was homemade from scratch. That’s what we do here.”

The idea of revamping the Frankfort Boat Club’s cafe came to the four friends last summer when they stopped in for breakfast during the annual “Poker Run,” a gathering of local boaters, said Megan Allan.

“We were, like, oh my word. Let’s do it. Why not?” recalled Megan Farney.

The grill is celebrating its grand opening with live music on Saturday. It will also have a Chamber of Commerce ribbon-cutting ceremony next Thursday at 11 a.m.

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