By Mike Ceonzo
Nestled along the scenic Hudson River in New Baltimore is The Boat House Restaurant, a perfect spot to dine outdoors during the warm weather, or enjoy a cozy meal inside by the fire during the cooler months. It’s situated next to Shady Harbor Marina, a popular spot for boaters to launch, dine and shop at the Ship’s Store.
Upon arriving at the 10-year old restaurant, just off Route 144, it’s hard not to revel in the gorgeous views of the Hudson River, which stretches for two miles in either direction.
Owner Cindy Marotta, a 39-year old Rotterdam native, has been at the helm of the place for the last three years. She was employed at the restaurant as a banquet manager and a bartender prior to taking it over from Tony and Marie Brock, the owners of the marina itself. She had previous experience running her own business—for five years she owned a car lot/gas station in Scotia. Making the switch to the food industry was a big change, but one that she was ready to handle.
“I loved the business and wanted to remain in it,” said Marotta of her decision to take over the restaurant. “I love it so much, I don’t even consider it a job.”
Upon stepping foot into The Boat House, the customer is presented with an elegant atmosphere with a seaman’s touch. The dining area is fully air-conditioned and can accommodate up to 120 people. It boasts three fireplaces and a wood–panel floor that contrast nicely with the stylish setup of the dining tables. The walls and hearths are festooned with ship paintings, figureheads, “old salt” figurines and boat artifacts. One of the most amusing decorations in the restaurant is a block of wood sitting in front of one of the fireplaces with a plague nailed to it which reads, “Ship’s Log.” For a nice warm breeze and the best view of the river, the deck, which is decorated with small buoys and tikki torches, is the best place to dine. After Morotta took over, she expanded the deck and had an outside bar.
The menu, which is what draws loyal customers from as far as Scotia and Saratoga, has a little bit of everything. Dishes range from the beefy Grilled Porterhouse and Steak Au Poivre to the Grilled Salmon and the Broiled Scrod. The creatures of the sea are also found in the selection of pasta dishes, such as the Seafood Fra Diavolo and the Boathouse Shrimp with Angel Hair Pasta. There is also an abundant supply of appetizers and “lighter fare” for those who don’t wish to fill up completely, such as Chicken Tenders and Crab Cakes, as well as a variety of quesadillas. On Thursday nights chicken wing lovers can enjoy a dozen wings for only $2.95. Boaters docked at the marina can even have their feasts delivered to them—talk about waterside dining!
Appropriately fitting for the venue, it’s their seafood dishes that are the most popular, according to Marotta.
“We offer the ‘Fat Tuesday’ special—an entire lobster dinner for only $18.95. We also have awesome burgers.”
They offer over a dozen beers on tap at the eight-sided Mahogany bar, as well as a variety of bottled beers, liquors and a selection of house wines from the Paul Masson collection, which are tucked away in an elegant “wine coolie.” There is also an old-time popcorn machine at the bar, which is still used today.
A typical day for Marotta is mostly administrative in nature, but if the occasion calls for it, she’s more than willing to help out her staff of 35 by serving food and bartending. She also takes time to mingle and socialize with customers, especially during their busy season when The Boat House pulls in about 300 to 400 customers a day.
“My favorite part of the job is meeting the customers,” Marotta said. “I love socializing with them and making sure they’re satisfied.”
The Boat House isn’t just a spot to enjoy a great meal; it’s also equipped to host wedding receptions, showers, holiday parties, and banquets. There is also live musical entertainment every Saturday night.
With the increasing success of The Boat House, Marotta decided it was time to open another restaurant—this one in Catskill. She purchased a closed-up restaurant that is part of the Catskill Marina on Greene and Main streets and renamed it Harbor Lights. The menu is very similar to that of The Boat House, and the atmosphere is equally enjoyable.
“It’s a beautiful location and a good opportunity,” said Marotta of the new eatery, which opened this summer.
Ironically, aside from running a business called The Boat House, Marotta also lives on a boat in Shady Harbor Marina.
“There’s not a lot of driving involved with this job,” Marotta laughed. “I just close the place and head right over to my boat.”
The Boat House Restaurant is located on Route 144, about six miles off of exit 22 of the NYS Thruway. It is open daily from 11:30am to 9pm. For more information call 756.7300 or visit www.shadyharbormarina.com.