Boaters pack Buckeye Lake businesses for Memorial Day


Boaters are back on the water in Buckeye Lake and that means for some businesses, it's booming again. The unofficial start of summer brought cash flow to some of the restaurants and bars running dry.

It's the signature smoky taste on the lake that keeps Mark Bernhard's customers coming back to his barbecue restaurant and bar. During the Memorial Day weekend, Bernhard estimates he went through several hundred pounds of meat.

"Finally got a little bit of cash flow. Last couple years was a little bit of a struggle for everybody," Bernhard said.

The unofficial kick off to summer started strong at The Port Smokehouse on the east end of Buckeye Lake. People came in by the boatload this year because they finally can.

"Just seeing all the boats, it's just a welcome sight we haven't seen in a few years now," boater Stacie Wortman said.

Construction of the Buckeye Lake Dam has kept boats off the water for two seasons. For some places on the lake, no boats mean not much business.

"We were down for 2 years, now we're back on. So that's better," Bernhard said.

Spots like The Port Smokehouse are getting back to normal and so is life on the lake. Residents say it's been a long two summers because they haven't been able to use the lake.

"As far as I'm concerned, yeah we're back to normal. It's normal. Get rid of some of those weeds, it's nice to see people out here," Steve and Cindy Carson said.

Memorial Day weekend brought out the boats and the business back to Buckeye Lake.

"It's so great to have the lake back. Our family's back, our friends are back," the Carsons said.