Tucker Curtin is hunting for a new waterfront site for Dug’s Dive, his Small Boat Harbor restaurant, which will close this fall.
The Buffalo restaurateur, who also operates The Steer and Lake Effect Diner in University Heights, could have gotten another year on his lease, he said. But after preliminary talks with his new landlord, Tennessee-based Safe Harbor Development, Curtin decided to look elsewhere. The last day Dug’s Dive will be open at its current site, 1111 Fuhrmann Blvd., is Oct. 15.
“We’re looking for a place where we can develop our vision of what the waterfront is all about,” Curtin said. “I want a place that makes people happy they live in Buffalo.”
Curtin opened Dug’s Dive on the Small Boat Harbor in 2007. That was before the recent spate of government-funded improvements arrived to reshape the water’s edge. Dug’s Dive helped expand the definition of what was possible on the Buffalo waterfront.
“We did nine years there,” Curtin said. “It’s incredible we made it more than nine months.” Through the vagaries of lakefront weather and ebb and flow of public attention, Dug’s Dive persisted, though not always year-round.
“A place was doing a couple hundred covers a day, and we turned it into a place doing 1,200 covers a day,” he said. “There was a marina that had 500 slipholders, begging and giving away slips, to a place that has 1,000 slips today.”
It was good timing, Curtin said. “Now it’s time to move on and grow,” he said. “If we have to skip a year before we find the right place, we’ll do that.”
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