Before the COVID-19 pandemic struck the Navy Yard Hospitality Group (NYHG) was working to bring an outdoor dining experience that would include a Tall Ship and large patio to East Boston’s waterfront near Pier I.
Last year NYHG, which owns Reel House on New Street in Eastie and two other locations in Charlestown and the Seaport, approached Massport with the idea of docking a 242 ft. steel hull Tall Ship at Pier I to create a unique dining experience for Eastie residents. Over the spring and summer NYHG docked a tall ship at the pier and began an extensive rehab of the ship to accommodate three bars and a dining area.
However, NYHG’s Charlie Larner said COVID put a damper on opening Eastie Landing last year but hopes to be up and running once the warm weather returns to New England.
At Monday night’s Jeffries Point Neighborhood Association (JPNA), Larner updated the community on Eastie Landing’s plans as well as their intention to seek a liquor license for the location.
“We think that East Boston could use some more activators for the road waterfront,” said Larner. “We’ve noticed since we’ve opened the Reel House that a lot of people from the neighborhood come down and really use the waterfront. They use our docks, we have a community. complimentary boat shuttle that we offer between Charlestown and East Boston and people are enjoying the shuttle to get out on the water or transfer between the two neighborhoods.
Larner said his group plans to finish refurbishing the Tall Ship as well as placing recycled materials, like old shipping containers, to activate the space and for decor and programming. “We have six (shipping containers), which will be on the pier, and they can be used for selling lobster rolls or tacos, or beverages,” said Larner. “We will also have some shipping containers that house small retail operations. On the pier itself we’ll be using a lot of string lights and materials such as the electrical cable wraps as tables. We’re trying to be creative and recycle material as we see fit. We want to do a weekly Movie Night that drives families down to the pier early in the week. With regards to live entertainment the only “at-night-event” would be Movie Night. When it comes to the stage for the concert series we only plan on doing a summer concert series during the daytime.”
The ship itself has a 4,500 square foot main deck that will house three bars.
“One of the bars is at the stern and the stern bar will be doing a lot of small fundraising events and other functions,” said Larner. “The food that we will be doing is coming out of a galley kitchen so we’ll be doing food similar to our Oyster Bar concept in the Seaport. We’ll be doing a lot of raw selections and small plates focusing on small Mediterranean plates, charcuterie boards, etc.—things that are easy for our chef.to out of a small kitchen.”
Similar to the Reel House, the NYHG would provide free water shuttle services between Eastie Landing and the other three NYHG restaurants in Eastie, Charlestown and the Seaport.
NYHG wants to not only gear this proposal to adults but to children and families as well with seasonal activities like a pumpkin patch in the fall and a winter wonderland during the holiday season.
“In the fall, around Halloween for example we’d like to turn that pier into a pumpkin patch,” said Larner. “We’re trying to work with Eastie Farms on this and have a place where people can buy pumpkins and maybe we have hayrides and turn the Tall Ship into a haunted house not only for adults but also for children. So you have your family friendly haunted house then after Halloween we’re looking at doing a winter wonderland next December where the pier is almost like a little Santa’s Village where you can walk around. There can be some local shopping and we will try to bring in some local vendors. You can get hot chocolate and buy a Christmas Tree. So we’re trying to find ways to turn the pier to a place that would activate and generate more people coming down to the water.”
This is not the first time someone has proposed a floating restaurant in Eastie. Eight years ago Boston Harbor Cruises’ Principal Owner Rick Nolan wanted to anchor a floating restaurant off Eastie’s shores. However, after community support Nolan delayed the idea before finally abandoning it all together. JPNA’s Margaret Farmer said Larner and his group will come back before the JPNA next month before the group votes on supporting a liquor license at the location