Rivah Cafe Gets New Name; Riverwalk Gets New Terrace

March 31st, 2011 by Amber Lester

RiverwalkLogoA 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.

10 Responses to Rivah Cafe Gets New Name; Riverwalk Gets New Terrace

  1. Anonymous

    March 31, 2011 at 3:36 pm

    Last time we tried to go eat and drink(a lot)while watching the live music, which is what got us there to begin with, we were almost forced out of our seats once we were done eating, so they could flip the table. The manager actually told the singer to take a break, hoping we would leave. I don’t care what you do, I’m never going back. Good luck w/ your tourists, b/c you treat locals like.

  2. Anonymous

    March 31, 2011 at 5:49 pm

    [quote name=”Question”]Last time we tried to go eat and drink(a lot)while watching the live music, which is what got us there to begin with, we were almost forced out of our seats once we were done eating, so they could flip the table. The manager actually told the singer to take a break, hoping we would leave. I don’t care what you do, I’m never going back. Good luck w/ your tourists, b/c you treat locals like.[/quote]
    Sounds like you just wanted to get drunk rather than have good time..local or not i know i won’t want to be around someone who just wants to drink..which would lead to intolerable behavoir…

  3. Anonymous

    April 1, 2011 at 2:46 am

    I have some sympathy for Local No. 2. My wife and I took her 96 year old Mother to Riverwalk Restaurant for her Birthday. The waitress was nice but when a question came up regarding the meal she went to the Manager for the answer. He was outrageous; rude, impatient, hostile to the point of being almost vindictive. We also will never return to this restaurant. It became a nightmare instead of a Happy Birthday. If he had an open mind and had been minimally polite, there should have been no problem.

  4. Anonymous

    April 1, 2011 at 11:14 am

    🙂
    It sounds to me like any other restaurant in the world. They have good days and bad days. But I have been there many times and always have a great time and have always been treated kindly. Maybe its you! Maybe if you are a nice person you are treated nicely. Having been in the service industry for many years myself, I know the customers usually dictate how they are treated.

  5. Anonymous

    April 1, 2011 at 11:18 am

    You know, I read that comment about the birthday girl to be that the manager was rude to the employee. Whatever – over the years I have worked in a few restaurants and it is hard work. Not complaining, because it was also mostly fun. Anyway, I have always loved the Riverwalk’s location and am hoping their new menu is a little more accessible and affordable. I also hope they will be open later than 8 or 9 p.m. on weekdays. Looking forward to getting to know the new place. The Yorktown waterfront needs it.

  6. Anonymous

    April 1, 2011 at 2:32 pm

    Sounds like you just wanted to get drunk rather than have good time..local or not i know i won’t want to be around someone who just wants to drink..which would lead to intolerable behavoir…[/quote]

    Sounds like you read what you wanted to hear. Pessimistic much? I meant there was a table full of us all eating and drinking. The “a lot” was applied to both aspects of food and drink, our tab was a nice one. We weren’t sitting there just listening to the music not spending money. I understand if they wanted to flip our table if we were just sitting and not spending. We are far from drunks. We are greatly appreciated the minute we walk in the door in most other restaurants in the area. We support our local establishments and economy, and will continue to do so, except for that place.

  7. Anonymous

    April 1, 2011 at 6:14 pm

    I wish them well. I have never been impressed with the cafe menu and hope to try the new menu soon!

  8. Anonymous

    April 4, 2011 at 3:59 am

    we go quite often when the music is playing and enjoy the music, but Is all this remodeling another project of the county to revamp river walk with tax payers footing the tab.

  9. Anonymous

    April 4, 2011 at 12:54 pm

    “Riva” caused problems for anyone trying to find them on the internet (searching for “river”) or asking phone info for their phone number. Good move.

  10. Anonymous

    May 12, 2011 at 3:34 pm

    I wish these folks luck. They have one of the greatest locations in this region, and tons of potential. We’ve gone to the restuarant several times, and were never really impressed by the food or service. (I worked in the industry for many years, so I know it’s tough.) The food was bland and uninteresting. Nothing exciting jumped out at us from the menu. Unfortunately the casual area was never open when we wanted to sit out there. They do need to inject some fun and positivity into their atmosphere. Focus more on fun and affordable food. Clean the place up. Encourage the staff to be engaging and fun! I love the location, so we will continue to return. I’m just waiting for this place to improve so it will make my favorites list. It has the potential!

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