The Flair of Cooking Cajun

Marie Krolikowski
Two popular dishes at Shorty Pants: the surf and turf features a center cut filet mignon topped with a crab cake, and the smothered catfish.

From the Jack Daniel’s Burger to the Jambalaya, there is something for everyone on the extensive menu at Shorty Pants Lounge and Marina. Thanks to the efforts and talents of head chef Scott Munsterman, the restaurant tastefully offers both traditional bar food and Cajun specialties and successfully brings a taste of New Orleans to the Lake.

Scott moved from Dallas to the Lake with his family in 1983, and has been working for the restaurant owners since 1999. Initially he worked at Salty Dog and then Wobbly Boots, which they still own. In 2005 Scott made the move to the newly-opened Shorty Pants and has been exciting the taste buds of diners there ever since.

“I’ve always enjoyed cooking,” Scott said. “I used to grill as a kid and help my parents out in the kitchen all the time. I was good at it and decided to stick with what I was good at. I’ve always liked food.”

Scott began his restaurant career at the age of 14 as a dishwasher. He worked construction for a while but found himself wanting to get back into the kitchen. He was hired as a dishwasher at Old Trail House in Camdenton and at the age of 19, worked his way up to kitchen manager. Jobs that followed included working as the kitchen manager at Salty Dog and working when needed at Wobbly Boots. Scott then landed his current role at Shorty Pants.

“I worked with a chef from New Orleans who flew in,” Scott said. “He taught me everything about the flair of cooking Cajun. I then designed the entire menu based on what I had learned.”

Scott’s talents and his unique menu makes Shorty Pants a standout. “I try to keep the menu authentic and mix it up,” he explained. “I blend my own spices, including my personal herb salt and blackening seasonings. We make everything here from scratch, including the salad dressings.” He manages 15 kitchen employees, including cooks, dishwashers and prep people.

Although Scott has mastered every item on the menu, his favorite dishes to cook are steaks and foods that are saute’ed. Popular dishes on the menu include both the blackened and fried catfish and the pasta.

“Everything on the menu sells well,” Scott added. “We update the menu and make changes every year, and the menu just keeps getting bigger and bigger.” Diners can choose from starters, salads and soups, sandwiches and po boys, wraps and tacos, specialty burgers, bourbon street eats, signature entrees, sides, desserts and more.

While at the restaurant, Scott encouraged this reporter to taste two beautifully presented dishes. One was the surf and turf, which featured a center cut filet mignon topped with his homemade crab cake and a seafood cream sauce. The other dish was his popular smothered catfish served on a bed of rice and smothered in his crawfish etouffee. Both dishes were served with a homemade muffin.

There was no steak knife needed as a butter knife easily cut through the tender filet. The crab cake was nothing less than delicious and the catfish literally melted in my mouth. The sauces were the finishing touches and were uniquely exceptional.

Previously known as Montego Bay Marina, Shorty Pants Lounge and Marina is an all-inclusive property. In addition to the restaurant, there is a marina, gas dock and vacation house rentals. There’s ample boat parking and ramps for PWS’s.

The restaurant gives a rustic feel with wood floors and a tall, exposed ceiling. There is indoor and outdoor seating, covered and uncovered. Fans keep diners cool and a fireplace is used when the weather is cool. There are both indoor and outdoor bars that serve up a long list of cocktails, beers and spirits, including mojitos and a few different varieties of their well- known hurricane. Live bands entertain patrons on Tuesday, Friday and Saturday nights. TV’s are placed throughout and the restaurant also offers merchandise for sale.

Although the restaurant initially felt the impact from the Covid virus, Scott said business has drastically picked up. “This is turning out to be one of our busiest seasons,” Scott explained. “Initially we could just offer carry out and curbside service. I had trouble getting beef and other supplies, and even had to cut my own rib eyes. Food prices from our suppliers went up, but we never raised our prices on the menu. But then things opened up and things got crazy.”

Scott and his wife Amy have two children: 16 year- old Kaiden and 12 year- old Olivia. When he’s at home, Scott does most of the cooking. “My family enjoys it,” he said. “I don’t get too many complaints about my food.”

About the restaurant

Open daily 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Closed for the winter a week before Thanksgiving reopening the first weekend in March.

1680 Autumn Lane, Osage Beach or 21.5-mile marker        

Chef Scott Munsterman