Heading up three Lake of the Ozarks restaurants comes with its fair share of challenges but you’d never know that stepping into one of George Tucker’s successful businesses. With three restaurants under his wing, Tucker has joined the ranks of some of the most visited hotspots at Lake of the Ozarks.
Heading up three Lake of the Ozarks restaurants comes with its fair share of challenges but you’d never know that stepping into one of George Tucker’s successful businesses. With three restaurants under his wing, Tucker has joined the ranks of some of the most visited hotspots at Lake of the Ozarks. Whether it is catering to a crowd of locals during the winter, or tourists out enjoying the Lake on a summer weekend, it is safe to say if you visit any of the restaurants you won’t leave disappointed.
The success of Tucker’s Shuckers Oyster & Tap in Lake Ozark, and the waterfront locations Paradise Tropical Restaurant and Franky & Louie’s on the Lake’s west side comes down to two things — taking care of the staff and creating a great guest experience. Tucker speaks highly of his team of employees, saying any one of them would be missed if they decided not to show up to work.
“The reason we are so successful is because of the team we created,” Tucker said. “Everyone serves a purpose and is treated with the worth they deserve. Other things that attribute to our success is training and our constant desire to improve on things most people don’t notice or think would need tweaking — from the physical environment of the restaurant to the staff training to the menu and recipes. We are always evolving and reconfiguring to better the customer experience.”
Making sure staff earn a living wage and work in a positive environment ensures great customer service. Customers will find these restaurants are a place they can relax, enjoy time with friends and family, and get a delicious meal at a fair price.
As the only restaurant open year-round, Tucker’s Shuckers stands out with its two stories in the middle of the Bagnell Dam Strip. About a year ago Chris Bond took over as head chef at Tucker’s. He came from The Blue Heron where he spent a few years in charge of the kitchen there. He had relocated to the Lake from Edwardsville, Ill. after being offered the job.
His culinary education includes one year in Florence, Italy at the Apicius International School of Hospitality.
Bond says when he came onboard at Tucker’s there was already a good, core menu. A few new additions appear on the menu like the Korean Wings, Steak Salad, and desserts — to keep up with the changing seasons and offer something new.
The Corona Fish & Chips is the most popular menu item but Oysters are right behind it. Other specialties include fresh pasta, signature sandwiches, seafood and the steaks which are cut in-house. The full menu has every type of food imaginable while the bar is stocked with everything you would want including more than 20 beers on tap.
“My vision was to bring great food to a casual atmosphere, at a fair price. As well as something appealing to the Lake, yet different than what was currently out there,” Tucker said.
Two bars with dining areas, one on the main level, and one upstairs that is great for private gatherings, make it the perfect spot to watch the traffic coming and going along the Bagnell Dam Strip. Upper deck seating and open windows keep diners a part of the action even if they choose to stay inside.
Make sure to take advantage of frequent specials like steak on Tuesdays (offered until the spring), and Thursday’s seafood boil which has been a big hit for years.
Lobster Mac & Cheese
This rich, creamy dish is the perfect winter comfort food. Here’s how you can make it at home.
Drizzle extra virgin olive oil into a pan over medium heat. Add 1/2 teaspoon of garlic and 3.5 ounces of lobster. Let cook. Deglaze the pan with white wine. Add ingredients one at a time: 1 1/4 cup of heavy cream, 1/2 teaspoon of creole spice, 1/2 cup of sharp cheddar, 1/2 cup of smoked gouda, 12/ cup of parmesan. Cook until sauce thickens and add 10 ounces of cooked pasta (penne, macaroni, or desired pasta). Stir and plate. Top with panko bread crumbs and toast in the oven. Drizzle with truffle oil and sprinkle with parsley.
Restaurant Hours and Info
1339 Bagnell Dam Blvd., Lake Ozark
Open daily at 11 a.m.
Paradise Tropical Restaurant
430 Tropical Trail, Sunrise Beach
Opens April 12 through the season
Franky & Louie’s
1028 Deer Valley Rd., Sunrise Beach
Opens March 15 through the season
Tucker’s Shuckers opened in March 2015. Paradise opened in 1988 and was acquired by Tucker in 2007. Franky & Louie’s opened in 2003 and was purchased in 2016.