Lake Mitchell Marina opens for seasonBy Emily Beckett Published 6:26pm Friday, April 25, 2014
The arrival of spring marks the start of a busy but exciting time for Diane Knighten and Beau Battaglia, co-owners of Lake Mitchell Marina.
The marina opened up again in March for the season, and Knighten, her husband Jesse and Battaglia, her son, are ready for the usual rush of customers returning to the lake as warmer weather sets in.
“Normally, everything kicks into full gear Memorial [Day] weekend,” Diane Knighten said. “We’re ready for the season to start. We’re excited about it.”
The marina is a multi-faceted operation consisting of a restaurant, fuel station, bait shop and convenience store.
The restaurant offers many of the same dishes that were served at Beau’s Po Boys and Pizza, the family’s restaurant in Clanton, before it closed about a year ago.
“Jesse does all the cooking,” Diane said of her husband. “We’re doing things now that we didn’t do at the restaurant. Everything is made to order.”
The marina’s restaurant serves lunch and dinner, with breakfast scheduled to start this weekend.
Fresh onion rings are among new items added to the menu, and special dishes will appear on the menu throughout the season, Diane said.
Chicken and sausage gumbo and corn and crawfish chowder are two of the marina’s most popular items.
Customers can “like” Lake Mitchell Marina’s Facebook page to see weekly updates regarding restaurant specials and other announcements.
At the marina, customers can order fresh seafood dishes infused with Cajun flavor as well as authentic beignets from New Orleans’ famous Café du Monde, compliments of the family’s ties to Louisiana.
Jesse said they order oysters from Bon Secour and shrimp from Bayou La Batre.
The family lived in St. Bernard Parish, Louisiana, until Hurricane Katrina hit the state in 2005.
Diane said they chose to relocate to Chilton County partially because she liked the hilly landscape.
“I wanted something that wasn’t flat,” she said.
When they heard the marina was for sale, they contacted their realtor and purchased it.
During the season, the marina is open Friday from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., Saturday from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Sunday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The season usually finishes at the end of September.
The marina is also open on holidays including Memorial Day, Mother’s Day, July 4 and Labor Day.
If a holiday falls on a weekday, the marina is typically open the days before and after the holiday, Diane said.
Customers can sit and eat inside or outside on the porch.
The convenience store, which is located inside and at the back of the restaurant, offers snacks, refrigerated soft drinks, personal hygiene items, T-shirts, flip flops, live bait and other odds and ends.
The marina sells non-ethanol fuel for boats, which are more common at the marina than vehicles are.
“The majority of our traffic is boat traffic, but we do have some drive-ups,” Diane said.
To purchase fuel after hours, call (504) 909-6990.
In addition, the marina has two rooms customers can rent for a minimum of two nights or by the week at a discounted rate.
Running a business at the lake has its perks for the family.
On days the marina is closed, the family takes the pontoon boat they purchased last year for a ride on the water.
“Just looking at [the lake] all the time makes you want to be out there,” Diane said. “Here, everybody is laid back. They’re just out here to have a good time. There’s no stress.”
The marina is located at 520 County Road 469 in Clanton.
For more information, call (205) 755-8100.