April 15th, 2022
The Walloon Lake Inn is a historic restaurant building that dates back to 1891, and today stands as a beautifully restored fine dining restaurant that sits on the shore of Walloon Lake. The restaurant, open year round, offers a plethora of experiences throughout the year; an intimate dining experience with your loved one overlooking a snowy covered lake, indulging in 3 courses for $55.00 in the fall and winter, a Walloon Wine Time beverage in the Summer after a day of boating accompanied by delicately crafted small plates, a night cap at the perfectly finessed bar all while being serenaded by a pianist, or reuniting and celebrating with family and friends over dinner on the outside patio after a season apart, the experiences here were too numerous…or so we thought.
As some residents and visitors know, the second floor of the Walloon Lake Inn was a bed and breakfast experience that was offered back in the past. More recently, it hosted offices for some of the Village managers and an internal conference space. Up until June 2021, the second floor of the Inn was not used to its fullest potential.
Ideas and conversations were sparked by the owner of the Walloon Lake Inn, Mr. Jonathan Borisch, regarding an intimate dinning space that would be curated to offer guests an additional opportunity to experience the Inn. In keeping with the historic theme and atmosphere of the Inn and Village itself, the concept of the second floor began to evolve as nod to Mr. Borisch’s memories as a younger child spending time with gentlemen in a quaint and burly space, varnishing their wooden boats and prepping them for the next ride. Mr. Borisch grew up with an admiration for the wooden hull boats. He supports and participates in the Walloon Woodies Boat & Antique Car show every year on Walloon Lake and appreciates the craft and preservation of these boats more than most. It’s no surprise to those that know him, that the private dining room was nostalgically dubbed, The Varnish Room.
The concept of designing a private dining room exploded with details and design that translated into an extremely unique, sophisticated, and timeless space. The renowned designer, Kathryn Chaplow, and her team were rightfully selected to bring the concept to life, just as they did in the Walloon Lake Inn main dining room, as well as in the Barrel Back Restaurant, and Hotel Walloon. Working with the vision of Mr. Borisch and his younger years on the Lake, Kathryn took the ideas and created a breathtaking combination of fabrics, patterns, textures, lighting, artwork, and furniture. In addition to the perfectly curated design concept, the private dining room space was decorated in the best available varnished mahogany, from floor to ceiling. The varnished wood was expertly stained by a Michigan craftsman who specializes in wooden hull boats, to ensure the pristine representation of being aboard a wooden hulled boat.
The dining room is the main, lavish attraction that is closely followed by the connecting bar and lounge area. The large, varnished mahogany bar has plush leather stools, a television to view your favorite race or tournament, and top-of-the-line spirits to compliment any special event. The women’s powder room is located across the hall and provides a luxurious room with elegant seating, perfectly selected lighting, and full-length mirrors, to give women a chance to relax and pamper themselves. The gentlemen’s restroom is just down the hall and is playfully embellished with colorful bowties.
The Varnish Room has over a dozen framed photographs of wooden hull boats that are elegantly illuminated by gold mounted fixtures. Names of these boats vary from What a Sweetie to Black Arrow and are each individually owned by residents on Walloon Lake. Wooden boats were the inspiration behind the décor of the space, and the photographs impeccably compliment the vision and story of the Varnish Room.
When dining at the Varnish Room, one can expect the Inn’s fine dining experience we’ve all grown to love, with an extra spin on luxury. The Varnish Room beverages are served in Waterford Crystal glassware, from water glasses to coup glasses for your favorite specialty cocktail. The Varnish Room also exclusively offers a five-course tasting menu that has been thoughtfully created by Chef Mike. The tasting menu is solely available in the Varnish Room and gives our guests a chance to indulge in various flavor palettes. There is also an option to include wine pairings served with each dish, intentionally selected by the General Manager, Melissa Ogden, a certified sommelier.
The Varnish Room was created to host private events ranging from executive board meetings, brunch and lunch gatherings, dinner experiences, cocktail parties, intimate wedding rehearsal dinners, and more. The private dinning room can seat up to (16) guests at the table and it can host (20) guests for a cocktail party. There is high quality audio visual equipment available onsite as well. The options are endless, and the Varnish Room is now available for tours and inquiries. Please call the the Sales and Marketing Manager, Emily Jensen, to host your next event at (231) 751-1181.
Northern Michigan’s only lakeside private dinning is waiting to serve you.