Niagara Gazette

Features

June 9, 2014

New owner, new chef, new Dockside

Niagara Gazette — North Tonawanda’s Dockside Bar and Grill has been a popular place for food, drinks and fun for several years, but now Dockside has a new owner who has done a lot of work to freshen up everything from the bar’s atmosphere to it’s menu. 

When Jay Shepard purchased the Dockside Bar and Grill in December, he knew that he wanted to stick to the historic bar’s existing theme. After three months of renovations, a paint job and some fine tuning of the decor, Dockside reopened for business in March. 

“I wanted to keep the nautical theme and we also included a history theme,” Shepard said. “We kept of some the old decorations and added the black and white photos from the area. We want people to know that it’s not just a summer place anymore, we’re open year-round.”

The less cluttered walls and the fresh blue paint create a simple more refined look and the old garage doors that led out to the canal side patio have been replaced with accordion sliding glass doors. New TVs and all new furniture have also been purchased and Shepard says they are in the process of getting new awnings.

He also says he’s made another vibe adjustment. Instead of the usual full-scale rock bands Dockside used to host, he’s looking more for smaller acoustic acts that will create a mellower feel.

“This place is too small for that, it gets too loud,” Shepard explained. “It was hard for people to have a conversation with their friends or their date or whoever they’re talking to.” 

The biggest overhaul to the Dockside Bar and Grill was it’s menu, and the addition of self-taught head chef Dunbar Berdine. 

“People are eating healthier,” Berdine said. “I started thinking more about the crowd and I tried to modernize (the menu), with lighter prep and fresher ingredients.” Examples include serving hand cut fries and making sauces and dressings in house. 

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