Spoonbill Season Opens Along With A Landmark

Judy Kramer
County Reporter
The well-known, family-owned and historical Old Oar House, at 81 mile marker, Lake of the Ozarks, was closed on Labor Day 2019 after nearly 90 years in business. Benton County Treasurer Rick Renno purchased the popular resort, also known as the “snagging headquarters of Ozark,” in November 2019 and re-opened it on March 9. 
“We have the restaurant and bar, that seats 96 people,” said Renno. “And we have 25 camping spaces, six motel units and one separate cabin. There is a gas dock on the lake that we have enclosed so that we can sell beer, ice, sodas and fishing supplies. The total acreage of the business is 11 acres and is accessible to those who want to drive by going north of Warsaw, turning east onto Hwy BB, and driving 13 miles to the end of the road.”
Renno said that a lot of renovations have been made to the property including painting all the motel units, adding new beds and new 40 inch TVs. All windows are new in the restaurant and the screened porch facing the lake has been glassed in.  There is now a half wall in the dining area dividing smoking and non-smoking areas.
“We have an all-new menu too,” said Renno. “Our featured appetizer is Ozark Lobster Tail, (actually crayfish), we have prime rib Friday through Sundays, crab legs on Saturday, and All-You-Can-Eat fried catfish on Friday. We also offer a breakfast buffet from 7 to 11 AM on Saturday and Sunday. We are working on an expanded parking lot and have a fire pit on the front porch that faces the road.”
Renno said that he plans on having a DJ on Saturdays during the summer months, and will also have a huge fireworks display on the weekend after July 4th. Donations will be accepted at the display for the Osage Valley Fire Department. He said he hopes to have live bands on Memorial Day, July 4th, and Labor Day in the lower parking lot.
“Paddlefish snagging season runs March 15 through April 30,” said Renno. “There will be a Snagging Tournament at the Old Oar House on April 4, with $10,000 in prizes. Our location is the ideal spot for snagging and we have a boat ramp to access the lake.”
Renno has served as Benton County Treasurer for 18 years and still has two years remaining on his current term. He and his Dad opened a business 40 years ago in the area called Rick’s Lakeside B-B-Q, located on Hwy H blacktop. They operated it from 1980 to 1986, and Renno purchased the Lincoln Inn in 1985, running both businesses in the summer for about two years. He sold the Lincoln Inn seven years ago and it is still open and running under its new owner.
“We have a Facebook page, and are working on the website,” said Renno. “We want to get some spring pictures for the site before we set it up.”
Renno said that he has a full-time manager for the Oar House, and that his grown kids will possibly help work part time at the business during the summer. His daughter is a first grade teacher in Stover, and his son works for the Christian County Sheriff’s Office, just south of Springfield.
“The view is beautiful during sunsets, and you can see one mile down the lake as well as one mile up the lake,” said Renno. “The Oar House has a long history of popularity and success and my job is to run it correctly. I am excited, and want it to be the fun place to be on this end of Lake of the Ozarks.”