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Ducky's offers great food, fun for land and river enthusiasts
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More photos from this shoot
Photo: Stephanie Makosky
Owner Vickie Clark lets Caleb Rosmann, 10, and Lucas Rosmann, 7, pick out miniature rubber ducks at Ducky's Lagoon on the Mississippi River in Andalusia.
More photos from this shoot
Photo: Stephanie Makosky
Bartender Missy Boens, of Milan, talks with patrons at Ducky's Lagoon on the Mississippi River in Andalusia. 'I love the people,' Ms. Boens said.
More photos from this shoot
Photo: Stephanie Makosky
Vickie and Roger Clark, owners of Ducky's Lagoon on the Mississippi River in Andalusia, stand on the deck portion of the bar and restaurant that has a view of the river. The couple has owned the business for 10 years.

ANDALUSIA -- During the winter months, the popular outdoor patio at the rear of Ducky's Lagoon overlooking the Mississippi River typically is covered in snow and ice -- as is the river.

In January, there are no boats coming and going, and everything outdoors at the Andalusia eatery, from the picnic tables and volleyball net to the fountain and walkway to the harbor, is frozen over. And the open-air back deck and bar are too cold for comfort.

In a few months, however, spring and summer will return, and the deck and patio again will be buzzing with river enthusiasts, volleyball players, boaters, bikers, fishermen, friends, families and all-around lovers of Ducky's Lagoon's riverside ambiance.

The boats will return. There are docks and ramps that allow boaters to pull practically right up to the restaurant's back door, where they can pick up food and drinks. Boaters then can head back on their way down or up the river or stick around for a while.

"It is nice, peaceful and beautiful out there in the summertime with the river. It is a very nice view," owner Vickie Clark said. "We have met a lot of great people over the years. In the summer, you can stay inside with the crowd, or you can go out back and enjoy the beautiful view.

"You can take your food and drinks and enjoy it on the docks right next to the river. You can even grab a game of volleyball. And you will meet all kinds of great people here."

Ms. Clark and her husband, Roger Clark, of Muscatine, have owned and operated Ducky's Lagoon for 10 years. Avid boaters themselves, the Clarks were drawn to the restaurant because of its proximity to the Mississippi River, where it has sat since 1959 under several different names.

The Clarks spent the first three months after buying the building making renovations. The good times have rolled at Ducky's Lagoon ever since.

During the winter months, the good times and great food are -- aside from the occasional eagle watcher -- confined indoors, where the kitchen and bar are open seven days a week, 365 days a year.

The restaurant's most popular menu item is its grilled tenderloin. Other fan favorites include the salmon and spinach salad, the one-pound catfish and Ducky's aged beef and hand-cut steaks, Ms. Clark said.

Along with the food, Ducky's Lagoon's family-friendly environment keeps loyal customers, such as Jim Rosmann, of Andalusia, coming back.

"We come here to have fun and enjoy respectful people," Mr. Rosmann said. "This a very nice restaurant and family atmosphere, especially for us since we're all outdoor people, obviously since we live by the river."

Mr. Rosmann's sons, 10-year-old Caleb and 7-year-old Lucas, are big fans of the Xbox 360 Kinect interactive video game and big screen television set up for their enjoyment in the dining room. And every youngster who walks through Ducky's Lagoon's doors leaves with a souvenir -- their own miniature rubber ducky.

"The kids know that every time they come to Ducky's, they get to pick out a duck," Ms. Clark said. "This is a family atmosphere for them. I have a deal with the kids, if they get a duck, I get a hug."

Naming the place Ducky's Lagoon was no accident.

"When we bought the place, we were trying to think of something that was kid-friendly and family-oriented," Mr. Clark said. "I wanted to attach a character to the place -- like Ronald McDonald."

That character -- which is pictured all around the restaurant, from its outdoor facade to the front door -- is now synonymous Ducky's Lagoon.

Ducky's Lagoon is located at 13515 78th Ave., Andalusia. For more information, call (309) 798-2423.

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