A slew of changes at Yorktown’s Riverwalk Restaurant and sister eatery Rivah Café will make it easier for beachgoers to slide on their flip flops and saunter over for a bite to eat.
Tom Austin, owner of both restaurants, said that over the past five years, customers have expressed a desire for a more comfortable dining experience. He also found that customers had trouble understanding the distinction between the slightly more upscale Riverwalk Restaurant and the Rivah Café.
Starting Friday, the Rivah Café will become the High Tide Bar and Grill. The two restaurants share a waterfront space, but have separate staffs and kitchens. Some aesthetic changes will further distinguish the restaurants, with a new awning on the High Tide, menu boards featuring the specials of each restaurant and separate host stations in the lobby. Austin said the name change was necessary both to distinguish the restaurants and to appeal to more out-of-towners.
“Rivah means something here, but many people don’t understand it,” he said.
At the Riverwalk Restaurant, the management is trying to create a more casual and comfortable ambiance while still offering more upscale menu items. Austin said that in the past, some customers felt it was a little pricey for the beach, so a few less costly items have been added to the menu, including a kobe beef burger. “If you’ve got on shorts and a pair of flip flops, you’re certainly welcome,” Austin said.
In the past, many customers would opt to eat at Rivah Café simply for the option to dine outside, but would be disappointed they couldn’t order food from Riverwalk. By mid-April, Austin plans to open a new terrace outside Riverwalk, giving customers an option to eat outside at either restaurant. The brick terrace will seat 40.
Perhaps the most exciting addition for beachgoers will be a High Tide walk-up cabana, selling sandwiches, sodas and snow cones. It will be constructed on the side of the High Tide patio, facing the Freight Shed, and will offer another option for people hoping to grab a quick bite to go. “Sometimes people are in bathing suits and flip flops, they want something to eat and they don’t feel like they want to come into the dining room,” Austin said.
The rebranded High Tide Bar and Grill will begin serving its new menu on Friday. Riverwalk Restaurant will serve its new menu starting April 8, and the terrace should open in mid-April, weather permitting. The cabana is likely to open around Memorial Day, Austin said.