Dockside to give it a go

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, April 29, 2008

DOCKSIDE—Dockside restaurant, which opened some 30 years ago but has been dark and vacant for the past 18 months, will open soon with many of the same faces that have been around the Nottoway riverfront for years.

The Stradleys are back in force, cleaning and replacing equipment for an opening date that has not been finalized.

Ralph and Sylvia Stradley were the original owners and operators of Dockside, and the family that practically grew up in the restaurant business is back at it again.

Fran Stradley will manage the new venture, and she said the approach will be a simple one: getting back to basics. At Dockside, that means seafood and steaks, with some daily specials, depending on the season and what is fresh, she said.

For example, “Right now white perch are running like crazy” and will be on the menu when the doors open.

Homemade pies will also be on the menu, as well as chicken and veal.

The restaurant will be open Wednesday and Thursday from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.

“It’s a great place, a great location,” Fran said. The restaurant lies within a few feet of the boat landing off Riverdale Drive in the southeast corner of Southampton County.

Also involved in the reopening are Sarah Jo Stradley, Joe and Estelle Stradley and Sylvia Stradley, and they have been tending to the details these past few weeks.

“There was some stuff we had to replace,” Fran said, and there’s “always something about new (building) codes.”

John Taylor, who now runs John’s Seafood restaurant in Murfreesboro, N.C., operated Dockside for the better part of 20 years, Fran said. Peter Pearson operated at the same location before moving to Courtland.

And the idea of the Stradleys’ reopening it started a few months ago.

“We started talking about it back around the holidays,” Fran said, “and we’ve been talking about it back and forth.”

In addition to getting back to basics with the menu, Stradley said the attempt is to provide a staff of “friendly people, a friendly atmosphere” and to ask their customers for feedback.

“If somebody doesn’t like the food, we’d like to hear about it” in order to make corrections, she said.

So far, Stradley said, the feedback from friends and neighbors has been “very positive” about reopening.

“A lot of eyes have lighted up,” she said.