If you’re headed down to the Small Boat Harbor on Buffalo’s waterfront this summer, you won’t recognize Charlie’s Boat Yard.
The restaurant next to the docks at 1111 Fuhrmann Blvd. has nearly doubled in size, as part of a $1.3 million expansion.
The new Charlie’s Boat Yard is a two-story restaurant that can hold about 200 diners, said John Skipper, an owner. That includes about 100 seats in a second-story space that has its own full-size kitchen.
“We didn’t have enough seats last year,” Skipper said. The 2019 season, which starts at 3 p.m. May 24, should be different, he said.
Work started in November, with crews tearing down parts of the improved hot dog shack space that Dug’s Dive operated in from 2007 to 2015. “We kept part of the kitchen, the downstairs bar, and the patio,” he said.
The first-floor kitchen was expanded, with more cooler space. The new second-floor kitchen is just as big, he said, and with the extra seats, should improve wait times that cropped up in good weather last year.
The menu won’t be updated as dramatically. Expect standard appetizers like fried calamari, crab cakes, raw and steamed clams and stuffed peppers. Seafood choices like salmon, shrimp scampi, and fish and chips will be offered, along with steak and pastas.
During the restaurant’s first season in 2016, some customers loitered for two hours before getting seated.
An expanded Charlie’s Boat Yard will be better able to handle the crowds flocking to the lakeshore, but don’t expect an automatic table in temperate weather. “There’s always going to be a wait time when you’ve got people coming down to the waterfront,” Skipper said.
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