von Rutenberg Ventures goes back to 1961 when

Bill & Betty von Rutenberg struck out on their own & purchased the Nibble Nook. This tiny 8 stool hamburger spot (on East Washington Avenue just off the square) soon became a hot spot for great burgers, fries, & shakes. Many customers today still mention how they loved those Nibble Nook Burgers!​


Five Years Later, Bill & Betty sold the Nibble Nook & bought Jack Burke's Supper Club (now the Mariner's Inn). Since that time, the von Rutenberg family has expanded both the menu and the building several times so that now The Mariner's Inn is truly one of Madison's Landmark Restaurants.


After years of operating the Mariner's Inn, the

 von Rutenberg's saw the need for more casual dining on the Lakes & the Nau-Ti-Gal was created! The Marina business of von Rutenberg Ventures, Westport Marine, also originated at the same time. Westport Marine offers in-water & on-hoist boat slips at both the Mariner's Inn &



Several years later the von Rutenbergs started to develop the concept of a moderately priced Seafood Restaurant. When the Hatch Cover property became available. Captain Bill's became a reality. In addition to seafood, Captain Bill's features steaks, chicken and pasta dishes. The outdoor deck, with it's view of Lake Mendota, is sure to enhance your dining experience. Convenient parking for your boat at our boat pier.


The most recent addition to von Rutenberg Ventures is Betty Lou Cruises. Named in honor of the late Betty von Rutenberg, Betty Lou Cruises offers private group charters for 20 to 100 guests and public cruises for individuals & small groups. Cruises sail from April to October and depart from the Mariner's Inn on Lake Mendota and Machinery Row next to Monona Terrace on Lake Monona.


Bill and Betty's son's, Bill, Jack & Robert, along with their outstanding crew, now carry on the tradition of waterfront hospitality of von Rutenberg Ventures.

As Betty always said, "We'll put sunshine in your smile and spring in your heart!"


Call Sharon! 

She'll have you on the water in no time!

 (608) 850-4774

5339 Lighthouse Bay Drive   

Madison, WI 53704

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