CARBONDALE — Boondock’s Seafood Co. wants to become the go-to place for food, friends and fun.

The bar and grill on Carbondale’s far east side opens for business at 4 p.m. Monday.

“We want you to walk in here and it be different than any other place in Southern Illinois,” general manager and managing partner Shane Smith said. “We’ll have a laid-back atmosphere you want to come to, a getaway for an hour or two. We want it to be the first place that comes to mind when you want to have a good time.”

The weathered shell of a boat jutting out on a corner of Reed Station Road is the first indication there’s something a little different about the restaurant. Make the turn onto Reed Station Parkway and notice buoys around the dock — an all-weather, open-air patio — and the aged, colorful wood surrounding the entry.

Inside, the restaurant maintains the same basic layout of the Houlihan’s restaurant it replaces, but there the similarities end.

Corrugated metal, unique artwork done by freelance artist Jake Hamilton and server Morgan Lewis, comfy booths, a bar and subtly lit lounge create just the kind of atmosphere Boondock’s wanted, Smith said.

“It’s fun, it’s friendly and it has sort of a vacation-like feel,” he said. “We worked hard and did it all in-house — servers, cooks, everybody. I think that makes all of us more passionate to see it succeed.”

The restaurant, owned by father and son, Charlie and Trace Brown of Carbondale, has about 65 part-and full-time employees, most of them holdovers from Houlihan’s.

“Nobody lost their job. All the employees stayed and that helped make the transition easier,” Smith said.

Also on staff are assistant general manager Christopher Cowan and head cook Adam Eberlin.

“We’re locally owned and operated, and we’re proud of that,” Smith said.

The restaurant will be open seven days a week and will serve from a full-breakfast menu, 6 to 10 a.m. every day.

“We have a lunch-friendly menu with sandwiches, soups and salads, all quick and priced for lunch,” he said.

Dinners can order a wide range of foods from the dinner menu, he said, from a “terrific fish sandwich up to stuffed grouper or center-cut filet.”

Specials will be offered every day as well and the bar will offer up a variety of wines, beers, including craft beers, and drinks.

Smith invited the dining public to give Boondock’s a try.

“I think you’ll find a fun, friendly atmosphere you won’t find anywhere else,” he said.


On Twitter: @beckymalkovich

(4) comments


Kind of funny to have a seafood place named "Boondock", It is a Filipino word that means mountain. It was brought into the American lexicon when they were a US territory. Seafood... ...Mountains, I don't see the connection.

Maybe they have milkfish and grilled tuna belly.


A friend and I went to Boondock's this past Saturday the 6th of April. I have been in food service for over 35 years and no better than try a new restraunt during thier first week but my friend really wanted to try it so we did. It was the worst restraunt experience I can remember. We arrived about 4:45, waited about 45 minutes at the bar. I ordered a Baily's and Butterscotch and it was made wrong. She appoligized said she was really tired, been working since 10:30 that morning and not off till 10:30 that evening. We were seated at our table about 5:30 promptly order and recieved rolls about 6:00.I thought then this can't be good. When we asked about our food we discovered neither table surrounding us had received their food either and they were there beofre us. Our food arrived about 6:45, over 75 minutes later. I had ordered Crab legs and they were ice cold. I notified the waitress and she went to check what could be done. My friend ordered catfish and when he went to try it, it was also cold. At that point I went to look for a manager. When the manager arrived he did not even introduce humself, step one of bad customer service. I began to explain I had a problem, he replied," I know I have a huge problem , my restraunt is not running very well." He further explained, " It was fine until today and today everything was falling apart, I was not the only unhappy customer, he had lots of unhappy customers." To say the least I was astounded. I can't remember ever receiving such poor customer service from someone who was suppose to be in charge of a business. A new business to town at that. He made me feel that I was wasting his time, and he had more important things to do. He never apologized, offered a complimentry meal nor did anything to make it right. We left 2 hours after we had arrived have eaten only a roll. What a huge disappointment! Every restraunt is going to have problems from time to time, especially when you first open, but being treated like this from the manager is unexcusable.
I was really looking forward to having a seafood restraunt in town, I guess its back to Marion we go.


Don't give up yet, Gwyn. When Michael's moved from Zeigler to Johnston City, the first month or so was horrible (not as bad as what you described, however). They would apologize and discount your meal. After a while they got the bugs worked out and now Michael's is a nice dining experience.


It's a laid back atmosphere all right. If you like to hang out in a place where country music is cranked up to the max so you can't hear anyone talk. I thought this place was going to be more affordable than Houlihan's? So far the only thing that got cheaper was the decor.

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