Marina making progress

Published 10:24 pm Tuesday, November 15, 2016

The Bennett’s Creek Marina and Restaurant was treasured by many. However, over the years, persistent flooding, age of the building and the economy took their toll.

But Brian and Teresa Mullins have taken over and hope to revive the beloved landmark.

“It’s been the gateway to Suffolk all of our lives,” Brian said.

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“We are going to bring it back to the glory it was.”

The two currently own two successful North Suffolk restaurants, River Stone Chophouse and Vintage Tavern.

The couple has had their eyes on the property for more than 15 years. However, they originally shied away from undertaking it due the condition of the property.

The couple purchased the property last November. In August of this year, City Council approved a rezoning and conditional use permit for the site.

The site, spanning more than eight acres, will include not only a new restaurant building and marina but also 22 detached, condo-style homes.

The homes will range between 2,300 to 2,800 square feet with two-car garages, according to Brian Mullins. However, the homes will be restricted to buyers 55 and older.

Water and sewer service will be extended to the site, and Ferry Road will be widened to 20 feet.

The restaurant will be rebuilt above the floodplain, and the homes will be built further inland, according to Brian Mullins.

To date, trees have been cleared from the site and are being converted into lumber to use in the new restaurant, Decoys, and the Blind Duck tiki bar. Bricks salvaged from the site will also be reused.

Decoys will be able to seat 160 patrons on the first floor and 50 on the second floor. There will also be a deck area with fire pits and seating, Brian said.

“It is a family-friendly seafood restaurant,” Brian said.

The restaurant will serve lunch and dinner seven days a week and an occasional brunch. Brian Mullins predicts food prices will range from $15 to $22 a plate.

This week, the Mullinses received their first order of deck pieces and are expecting more in coming weeks.

On site, there will also be an outdoor pool, equipped with a bar, and bathhouse for marina guests and pass holders.

The passes will serve as “running tabs,” said Ken Dodd, operations partner with the Mullinses.

During their time at the marina, patrons can swipe the passes and then pay the balance when they depart. Additionally, Brian Mullins plans to allow the passes to be used at his two other restaurants and at various stores, golf courses and movie theaters in the North Suffolk area.

“We want to have continuity between all three restaurants,” Dodd said.

Brian Mullins said he knows the project has been on the minds of many, but he said he and his team are hard at work.

“In 34 years, none of our projects has received this much attention and fanfare,” Brian Mullins said. “This is a community piece. This place has a lot of memories for a lot of people.”

The entire project is expected to be complete in by next fall.