West End Park
A spate of new restaurant construction filled in gaps between the restaurants along the west side of West End Park in the mid-1970s. Pier Orleans was one of several attempts by West End restaurateurs to rise above the seafood-platter level and serve a more ambitious menu in nicer surroundings. It was a brand-new restaurant over the water at the end of a long wooden ramp. The ramp was a nice place to hang with a glass of wine in the middle of a meal. The dining room had a great view of the lake, but the decor didn’t stop there.
The food was reasonably good, but it had a marketing problem. The basic platters were well prepared, but the pile on the plate was lower than at the old places. The fancier dishes sported what was probably the best crabmeat stuffing at West End, full of lump meat (claw meat was the West End standard). All of the prices were higher than one was accustomed to seeing at West End. Some people liked the step up, but not enough to keep the place going more than five years.
I’ve always thought that if this place had come around in the mid-1980s, with food like what was being served at Mr. B’s or Clancy’s, it would have been a hit. And would have encouraged the West End restaurants to diversify and innovate.