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.