Lake Life: Restaurant Tour Pt. 2

Published: Jul. 24, 2019 at 4:18 PM EDT
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Brothers, Mike and John Gordon own and operate two restaurants at Smith Mountain Lake.

“Working with family is fun, but it can be very, very stressful because you expect more from the people that are closest to you,” John Gordon said.

John runs Blackwater Café, alongside their father.

“Upscale dining in a casual atmosphere…We have some people in here that have a good, good time, and flip flops and tank tops are encouraged because that’s…it’s lake life,” John Gordon said.

They opened Blackwater first, back in 2005. And it’s become a staple for locals and vacationers alike.

“We do all certified angus beef, and fresh seafood. So all of those items sell very, very well. Our pork chop is fantastic, and we get a lot of compliments on our Alfredo.”

He says the way the restaurant is split, also makes it nice for people to decide what kind of environment they want to dine in.

“It’s the same menu, same food, same service. When I start new servers sometimes they feel more comfortable over here because the table cloths…it’s more formal, but I still have people coming out in shorts and boat shoes sitting over there, and I’m not going to discourage that because it gets dark close to 9 o’clock, 8:30, this time of year. Get off the boat, come out to eat.”

And if you’re still on the boat, you can pull right into a slip at Jake’s Place.

“Everybody here at the lake loves to come sit on the water, we’ve got a great staff here, friendly, the food is really good,” Mike Gordon said.

People can hit this summer spot for breakfast, lunch or dinner.

“We’ve got a lot of new menu items this year. We brought our Cuban back. It’s an authentic Cuban, bread comes from Miami. That’s probably our most popular sandwich right now other than a burger,” Mike Gordon said.

Mike works with his son at Jake’s Place, making it a three-generation business.

But Jake’s Place wouldn’t be the same without its namesake, Jake, the dog.

Both restaurants are open all year long, and both brothers say it’s the customers that make everything worth it.

“My day is different every single day. Getting to meet somebody new every single day is a joy for me,” Mike Gordon said.