Tanners Boathouse: The Mountainside Seafood Shack | Restaurants | Hudson Valley | Chronogram Magazine

Driving through Tannersville, yard signs beckon you to come for a lobster roll. A seafood shack in Tannersville? Tasty crustaceans and summery seafood fare may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of the Catskills, but restaurateur Ryan Chadwick is on a mission to change that with Tanners Boathouse.

The Boathouse, opened in 2021, is just one of the latest in a string of hospitality undertakings for the entrepreneurially restless Chadwick, who has owned hot dog stands in Aspen, nightclubs in New York City, and restaurants in Nantucket and Montauk. “I just want to take a little bit of everything from the resort towns I spend time in and bring in a bit of the different things that I do well,” Chadwick says. “It’s about what the town needs and what type of business it can support.”

To his eyes, the empty municipal building on the edge of Lake Rip Van Winkle (just off Main Street) was ripe for reinvention. “I negotiated a deal for leasing the boathouse from the village and I decided to do a little seafood shack on the water,” Chadwick says. “I thought people would crave seafood up here—I know I do. But I didn't know if there would be enough business.” By the end of his first full summer in 2022, he had sold over 1,800 lobster rolls. Fears allayed.

The seafood concept wasn’t a random choice for Chadwick, who grew up in Maine, the nephew of a lobsterman. The red-and-white exterior of the Boathouse smacks of summer vacation spots on the Atlantic coast, but it’s surprisingly at home among the hills of Greene County. Because, well, who doesn’t love a laidback ordering window where cash is exchanged for loaded hot dogs ($4), cups of clam chowder ($7), fish and chips ($19), and fried shrimp platters ($20)? The signature lobster roll, a product of market price hikes, is a hefty $39 this year and comes either hot with melted butter or cold with mayo.

“I have something on the menu that checks everyone's boxes,” Chadwick says. “There’s been a lot of locals too, which is really nice. There was more of a sense of community down there [last summer]. On Saturdays, we had live music and the locals and people from the country clubs would come down. I really enjoyed it. I wanted a true hangout spot for everyone.”

Out front, scarf your seafood down at picnic tables beneath blue-and-white striped umbrellas while the kids run around. If frutti di mare ain’t your thing, there’s also a fried buttermilk chicken sandwich, served with chipotle mayo, lettuce, and tomato ($14); a vegan quinoa bowl served with seasonal veg and coconut curry ($16); and a cold corn salad with cucumber, tomato, avocado, basil, and citrus dressing ($15). Kid-friendly options include a grilled cheese and tomato sandwich ($6), mac and cheese ($7), and chicken fingers with fries ($13).

click to enlarge Tanners Boathouse: The Mountainside Seafood Shack
At Tanners Boathouse you can rent kayaks, canoes, inner tubes, stand-up paddleboards, and bikes by the hour.

The food isn’t the only attraction Chadwick has cooked up to bring people to the lakefront—and keep them there. Though the name the “Boathouse” preexisted his seafood shack concept, there were no boats to back it up under the previous tenant, who ran a small bistro selling sandwiches and coffee. “It was beautiful but underutilized—I figured canoes and kayaks and paddleboards would activate the lake and get people to stay there longer,” he says. So he bought 10 boats and started renting them by the hour. “That did really well and brought a lot more people down there,” Chadwick says. This year, he’s added inner tubes and bikes to the list of rental offerings.

On the drinks front, Tanners Boathouse offers a $5 PBR, local craft beer, hard kombucha, wine by the glass ($11) or bottle ($42), or a handful of summery cocktails ($10-$14), including margarita—classic or spicy watermelon, Aperol spritz, blueberry (vodka) lemonade, and a paloma. With the lake itself, a playground for the kids to run around, a full bar for the grown-ups, and live music on Saturdays from 2-5pm, Chadwick has managed to make the lakefront quite the idyllic destination for a summer afternoon.

That’s not all he has been up to. Chadwick’s got glamping sites and has restored a crumbling house formerly inhabited by bears to create a short-term rental; this past winter he opened drive-through coffee and doughnut spot Fred’s; and last summer he inaugurated the Kaaterskill Trolley Company. “I grew up in Maine, in a coastal town that had little trolleys that would go up and down Route 1,” he says. “I wanted to bring something like that up here to get between the hiking attractions and waterfalls. It also stops at the local businesses in town. It’s good for connectivity and branding purposes for the community.” The old-school trolleys, which were bought in Maine and shipped to the mountains, add both to the picturesqueness and accessibility of the area. This year brings expanded stops and a $40 Greene County Resident Season Pass for unlimited rides all summer.

Of his serial entrepreneurship, Chadwick says with a rueful laugh, “It’s kind of a curse, unfortunately. My wife would probably wish that I didn’t get involved in all these businesses, but I felt that the town needs stuff like this up there.”

Tanners Boathouse is open Wednesdays through Sundays, Memorial Day Weekend through Columbus Day.

Marie Doyon

Marie is the Digital Editor at Chronogram Media. In addition to managing the digital editorial calendar and coordinating sponsored content for clients, Marie writes a variety of features for print and web, specializing in food and farming profiles.
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