By Melanie Cane
A lot can happen in a year. Just ask Hilary Chernin, Rye resident and co-owner of Charley’s Pier Restaurant & Tiki Bar with her father, Samuel Chernin. Already owners of several New York City area restaurants, they were preparing to open Charley’s (previously Pier Restaurant and Tiki Bar) in late spring 2020 when Covid hit. Now, after a long wait, the restaurant officially opened May 17.
The Chernins said: “We wanted to celebrate the beauty and history of Playland while offering outstanding cuisine in a family-friendly venue.” To that end, they made changes from the ground up — the aesthetics, the furniture indoor and out, the menu, the entertainment.
Father and daughter spent months interviewing head chefs before hiring Zach Friedman, who describes his cooking style as “taste-, not trend-driven.” Friedman said he wants Charley’s menu to reflect “what I would want to eat. I designed the menu to fit a variety of situations — from a casual family lunch to a date under the stars on the beach. Our plan is to deliver something for everyone, including vegan and gluten-free options and an expanded children’s menu.”
Friedman spent the majority of his career at high-end Manhattan restaurants. He said, “Food is very powerful, and I just want to make great food and help build great memories.” His signature dishes are Green Curry Mussels and the Fried Chicken Sandwich.
Besides the traditional sit down-and-order option, Charley’s has a dock-and-dine alternative as well as a grab-and-go takeout window where customers can get high- quality fast food including lobster rolls.
Hilary’s favorites are the Veggie Burger, the Boardwalk Cheeseburger, Shrimp Tacos, and the Vegan Grain Bowl.
The Tiki Bar cocktail menu has been refreshed. Signature drinks include the Tanteo Jalapeno Margarita, Charley’s Huckleberry Lemonade, the Rye Thai, as well as frozen drinks. Takeout cocktails and a raw bar are also available.
“We’re a casual waterfront venue with free, live entertainment,” said the Chernins. “After the long, difficult year we’ve all had, we hope Charley’s will provide a much-needed escape for locals and visitors alike.”
For more information, including hours, menus, and scheduled entertainment, visit www.charleyspier.com.