Business Spotlight Restaurant owner nabs two top awards

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Business Spotlight Restaurant owner nabs two top awards
Matt McClane, owner of the Clayton Lighthouse, received this award from the Clayton County Dairy Promotion Board as well as another top award from the Clayton County Cattlemen.

By Pam Reinig
Register Editor

It’s been a banner 16 months for Matt McClane. The Guttenberg man opened the Clayton Lighthouse Restaurant and Bar in March 2018. Since then he has earned top awards from two commodity groups: Last fall, he received the Golden Steak Knife Award from the Clayton County Cattlemen and in April, he was the recipient of the Dairy Best Award from the Clayton County Dairy Promotion Board.

Though the Lighthouse is McClane’s first restaurant, he’s no stranger to the hospitality business.

“My parents ran the Stadium Bar and Grill for 15 years while I was in school, and that’s what sparked the interest in opening a restaurant of my own,” McClane said. “I had been looking for an opportunity for a few years and when the Lighthouse came up for sale I knew it was the perfect project for me.”

The restaurant had been closed for a number of years so the first order of business was general clean

up and renovation. McClane finalized the sale in November 2017 and opened the doors in March 2018. The 2006 Clayton Ridge graduate who also studied at Northeast Iowa Community College juggles his new enterprise with a full-time job at Pattison Sand.

The recent honors are a hat-tip to McClane for his extensive use of beef and dairy products. Folks come from all across Northeast Iowa and Southwest Wisconsin to enjoy his Porterhouse, rib-eye and sirloin steaks, which are regular menu items as well as truly sensational prime rib served Saturdays nights only.

“A few times a year we also do a ‘tomahawk rib-eye,’ which is a 32-ounce bone-in rib-eye steak,” McClane said.

Dairy products are also prominently featured in Lighthouse menu items. McClane serves real butter and sour cream on his baked potatoes; American, Swiss and pepperjack cheeses on his burgers; and Alfredo sauce on pasta.  He also offers a cheesecake for dessert that’s heavy on cream. The Lighthouse’s extensive menu also includes several seafood offerings.

The importance of using dairy products is something near and dear to McClane. His grandparents milked Holsteins until 2006 and McClane helped them from a young age.

While great food is the restaurant’s main draw, people also come for the view. The Lighthouse is located in Clayton on the banks of the Mississippi River. A bank of windows provides a spectacular view from the main dining room.

“I’m excited to share this view with people again,” McClean said. “And not only do I enjoy serving our patrons, I’m proud to provide good-paying jobs to people who want to work close to home.”

McClean’s parents, other family members and friends are an integral part of his business. Without them, he says, it would be tougher to offer the fine food and service that’s so quickly made the Lighthouse a popular dining destination. The restaurant is open Thursdays, beginning at 4 p.m., and Fridays through Sundays with serving beginning at 11 a.m.

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