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By Gretchen Althoff Snyder

While restaurants in downtown Rye seem to be opening (and closing) left and right, an old standard, the Town Dock, appears to have weathered the culinary storm. Established in 1998, the Town Dock (formerly The Maple Tree Inn) is a cozy, casual tavern with a nautical vibe that served as one of Rye’s original taprooms in the early 1900s.

Owner Anthony DeLuca purchased the establishment 20 years ago and transformed it into a family-friendly Rye staple, serving favorites such as buttermilk fried chicken, lobster rolls, the Dock burger (on an English muffin), and DeLuca’s favorite, the Balboa sandwich.

Back in 1998, there were only three other restaurants in downtown Rye – The Rye Grill (formerly the Mug and Ale), Umberto’s, and Hunan Garden. Business picked up right away, but now, with so many restaurant choices in town, the competition is much tougher. Mike Caiati, who recently joined DeLuca as a partner at Town Dock, says: “I saw the potential in the business, brand and customer loyalty that Anthony has developed over the years and believed that it could thrive, even in this competitive environment.”

The décor aims to transport customers to their favorite seaside village, be it Nantucket, Block Island, or DeLuca’s personal favorite, Montauk. “I wanted the place to feel like somewhere you would want to hang your hat for the summer.” To that end, the restaurant has shiplap-covered walls and nautical-themed accents throughout.

Last fall, the establishment underwent a major renovation; all the floors were leveled, new banquets and lighting were added, and the back bar was completely refurbished. Caiati points out, “Our vision is to constantly improve the Town Dock by developing the design of the restaurant which we began last fall, innovating the food and beverage offerings by hiring a new chef, and providing excellent service with a terrific staff.”

In addition to regular menu items like burgers, fish and chips, and Guinness beef stew, February will bring a whole new twist with Oktoberfest (happening a little late due to the renovations last October). Signature German dishes such as Wienerschnitzel and sauerbraten will be offered to add flair and variety during an otherwise cold and dreary month.

Looking forward, DeLuca and Caiati are excited to announce that they have obtained approvals to add an outdoor patio behind the restaurant. There will be seating for as many as 34, as well as a cozy fire-pit. The patio will be completely enclosed by fencing and lush landscaping, offering a unique outdoor dining experience right in the heart of Rye. “The idea is to make the space feel like someone’s backyard in Nantucket,” says DeLuca.

If you are not already a regular, stop by Town Dock with friends or family and discover the tasty, casual fare and laid-back atmosphere that has kept this place a local institution for 20 years.

 

Rye Country Day School once again helped Big Brothers Big Sisters of Westchester make the holidays special for children (Littles). School staff set up the Athletic Center so that 300 participants could enjoy a basketball tournament, Zumba, blocks of fun, and a delicious hot lunch.

Every family member left with a thoughtful present donated by a wealth of local businesses and national companies.

 

Guess how many gummy bears there are in a jar at Blue Tulip Chocolates and have a shot at winning a $75 gift basket. Not a bad way to pass a winter’s day, especially since Blue Tulip will match each ballot with a $1 contribution to the Westchester Food Bank.

Stop by the shop at 137 Purchase Street before February 14 to play. No purchase necessary.

Rendering of new Reading area behind the Circulation desk

Planned Teen area on the first floor

 

View of the future Tech Center

The Rye Free Reading Room is the place to go if you want to sit by the fire and read a newspaper or periodical. Job seekers head to the computers in the Technology Center. The lower level is where you take your small children for story time, and later help them pick out the first books they’ll take home and read on their own. As time goes by, you happily drop them off so they can blow off a little STEAM, get homework help, or play Guitar Hero in the Teen Center.

The Rye Storytellers Guild meets there, as do book clubs, and a knitting circle. The Community Room is the landscape for art exhibits and business meetings. A bilingual program is held on Tuesdays.

A sea of activity in some sections and quiet contemplation in others, the Rye library is second in Westchester in attendance and first in most residents’ hearts — and it’s a boundless resource.

For Director Chris Shoemaker, his primary task is “balancing what the more than century-old library means to people against today’s needs. People come here to study, meet friends, learn a skill, and make connections of all kinds.”

At the Library’s annual meeting last weekend, Shoemaker and the board of trustees rolled out the “next chapter” renovation plan to meet those needs. They also revealed a “brand refresh” — a new logo and “Be Curious” tagline, “which speaks to our passion for nurturing inquisitive minds.”

In the seismic redesign, there will be bench seating around some windows, the Technology Center is moving upstairs so it can also be used as a classroom, and the Teen Center is going back downstairs, complete with “stadium seating” and “diner booths”. Shoemaker remarked, “Keeping teens near the indoor patio, where all ages stop for refreshments and snacks, made a lot of practical sense.”

As a result, there will be more activity on the first floor, but the comfortable reading chairs near the fireplace will remain and the board hopes to add more chairs.

Two of the new quiet attractions on the second floor will be private study booths and a local history conference room.

The second-floor renovations will begin in March. Once they’re complete, the first-floor plans will go out to bid.

By phasing in the renovations, the Library will be open for business as usual.

 

 

 

In just five years, Linking Handlebars, a non-profit started by Rye teens, has donated over 1,000 gently used bicycles and helmets to children who might not otherwise have had the chance to enjoy the joy of riding own bike.

Before the holidays, they partnered with Bikes4Kids and Millers and collaborated with Mike Williams, Logistics Coordinator at the Port Chester Carver Center. The team worked tirelessly every Tuesday for four months and gave away 140 bicycles and helmets that made many Christmases bright.

If you have a bicycle to donate or would like to make a monetary donation, contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..