The Windlass Serves Up Food and Libations in A Classic Spot

A historic Lake Hopatcong restaurant offers a diverse menu and serene atomsphere.

Since the early 1900s, Nolan’s Point has served as a go-to spot for hospitality and entertainment right on the shores of Lake Hopatcong, the largest body of fresh water in New Jersey.

In 1963, part of the area’s old amusement park became The Windlass restaurant. It’s been under new ownership the past few years, and now feels like a welcoming yacht club, where diners can arrive by car or by boat to enjoy food and libations on the seasonal open-air deck or, year around, sit inside surrounded by memorabilia from every era of the location’s history.

Al fresco dining at Windlass

Expect super-friendly service and a menu stocked with casual comfort foods that include a half-dozen different crispy-crusted pizzas. My personal favorite is the four-cheese white pie, with broccoli and big dollops of ricotta. Caddies of hot pepper, Parmesan, garlic powder and oregano shakers at each table are a thoughtful touch.

Garlic shrimp can often be an oily and pungent plate, but this appetizer offered a generous platter of bite-size morsels in a lightly thickened and flavored broth that was perfect for dipping big wedges from the crusty bread basket.

Garlic shrimp

The Caprese salad of four large slices of tomato and mozzarella topped with roasted peppers, basil, olive oil and balsamic glaze were the perfect accompaniment to start off our meal.

Caprese salad

There are quite a few pasta dishes, from the ubiquitous meatballs, lasagna and chicken Parmesan, to more interesting choices like linguine with mahi mahi, clams and spinach and mushroom stuffed ravioli in a smooth béchamel that had great flavor and texture —though the pieces of fungi could have been a bit smaller.

Mushroom ravioli

Chicken dominates the rest of the entrees, being available in Marsala, Picatta and Francese style. Again, the expected is offset by some nice surprises like grilled butternut squash served with sautéed white beans, onions, peppers, mushrooms and spinach, all topped with a poached egg and melted mozzarella.

White broccoli pizza

On Sundays, there are a number of a la carte breakfast items; May through October the breakfast buffet includes a very reasonably priced array of selections to start off your day on the lake.

This is not only a lovely spot to enjoy the serenity of listening to the waves lap onto the dock, it a place that bustles with nightlife and entertainment including a Wednesday night outdoor live music summer series and a charming mini golf course right next door.

The Windlass, 45 Nolan’s Point Park Road, Lake Hopatcong. 973-663-3190; thewindlass.com. Open for lunch and dinner Monday-Tuesday and, Thursday- Saturday. Sunday brunch and dinner are served 9 am until 9 pm.

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