New owners of Chester’s Shipwreck Bar & Grill gear up for grand opening

May 23, 2019

By Lauren Franken, for SiouxFalls.Business

The new owners of The Shipwreck Bar & Grill are gearing up for a summer of lakeside fare near Chester.

John and Melissa Dougan of Sioux Falls purchased the restaurant along Brant Lake late last year.

They reopened in December but waited until the weather warmed up and locals returned to the lake to schedule their grand opening for this weekend.

Melissa Dougan was in restaurant management for almost 20 years and said she and her husband had been talking about owning a restaurant for the past 10 years, so they were thrilled when they learned they had an opportunity to buy The Shipwreck Bar & Grill.

“We used to ride motorcycles out here to Chester, so we knew about it and had kind of heard that it was for sale and asked the previous owners about it,” she said. “The more we talked about it, the more we realized that this was going to be a real thing.”

After only three months of discussion, the Dougans officially became the owners — and quickly set off to add their personal touches to the well-loved restaurant.

“Some of the biggest changes we made is the brand-new menu coming out, we’ve added a few more beer taps, new staff and just new attitudes — we wanted to make it a warm and welcoming atmosphere,” Dougan said.

The Dougans have found their biggest problem — other than the uncooperative South Dakota weather — has been the size of the parking lot not accommodating the number of customers, which Dougan said is “an awesome problem” to have.

They are hosting the Memorial Day grand opening to let people know The Shipwreck Bar & Grill has new owners and is still a “one-stop-shop” with food, gas for boats, cocktails and beer.

Throughout the weekend, there will be food and drink specials, giveaways and the chance to try The Shipwreck’s new menu, which will include The Shipwreck Burger, a double patty topped with a crab cream-cheese spread, shrimp and a signature sauce.

Two local bands — Barn Flies and Wrench — will play Friday and Saturday nights, respectively.

“I’ve heard really good things about both of them,” Dougan said. “It’s going to be two totally different types of music, but that’s what we’re going for — to see what works and what doesn’t.”

The Shipwreck also will host two bean bag tournaments, one for kids and one for teens and adults.

“We want people, no matter where they come from, to feel like this is a place where they can go to get away,” she said.

New owners of Chester’s Shipwreck Bar & Grill gear up for grand opening

The new owners of The Shipwreck Bar & Grill are gearing up for a summer of lakeside fare near Chester.

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