Coast Guard House
Restaurant/VisitingNewEngland small business partnership - Local Small Business Stories
Why Locals and Visitors Love the Coast Guard House Restaurant in
A detailed look at
one of New England's most iconic, beloved coastal restaurants
Coast Guard House Restaurant.
Article by Eric Hurwitz, @newenglandinfo.
created on 10/8/2019.
The Coast Guard House
Narragansett, R.I. reveals a scene that people dream about when
envisioning what makes coastal southern New England so memorable.
Located on Narragansett Bay, the Coast
Guard House offers local
seafood right off the boat,
stunning ocean views from the comfortable year-round dining room and bar
and seasonal seaside outdoor dining decks and patio. The unforgettable
experience comes across more like a vacation destination rather than
just a dining out spot. It's simply a place you don't want to
But it is much more than the water views and seafood, however, that
historic waterfront restaurant (formerly a U.S. Coast Guard station) a
the Coast Guard House "Sea
Food, Sea Friends, Sea View" slogan accurately captures the essence of
the restaurant, a behind-the-scenes look shows even more depth to this
The Coast Guard House can indeed be a place to catch the culinary
coastal New England including clam cakes, a chock-full-of-clams cup of
England clam chowder,
overflowing lobster rolls, lobster ravioli, lobster mac and
cheese, steamed lobster, salmon, pan roasted scallops and calamari.
Lobster roll with fresh herbs, citrus aioli and lettuce on a
buttered brioche roll. Served with fries.
For those preferring something else beside locally-harvested seafood,
however, the Coast
Guard House comes through, also, with, for starters, locally-sourced
beef for burgers, a
prime rib special (more on that shortly), grilled chicken dishes,
flatbreads, salads and pasta dishes. There
seems to be something for everyone as evidenced by the lunch, dinner, brunch, deck,
terrace, and dessert menus.
For those who enjoy drinks to go along with their water views, the
House features many local brews, fine wines and some appealing
signature cocktails from its wine
and beer and dessert
Mudslide cocktail. Photo source: Coast Guard House Facebook fan page.
This thoughtful food and
drink presentation comes from a crew of highly experienced, impassioned
staff including long-time head chef Angel Cardona, wine director Elisa
Wybraniec and pastry chef Jamie Chernesky.
These are not hobbyists but rather seasoned pros who know what they are
doing, much to the benefit of the customer. The same goes for managers
Vicky Hien, Robin McGuigan, Randi Rouslin
and Fred Koury and the whole staff (many employed for
over 10 years here), for that
matter, who come together to run a tight ship that has been
anchored for generations at this idyllic coastal spot.
They are a thoughtful group, too, always keeping the customer in
"We see people from all over but want to be a local place first," said Bob
Leonard, who co-owns the Coast Guard House with Judge Frank Caprio
(chief municipal judge in Providence whose judicial work is televised
on the show, Caught
in Providence) and
Joe Formicola .
"In the summer, we don't reserve all the tables so people can just walk
right in and enjoy the restaurant."
Feeling of Dining Out by the Coast
The sea, seafood and scenery can have a profound effect on all the
senses and the Coast Guard House comes across as the epicenter of these
three delights -- plus, all the other good things that come with it.
"We are a 21st-century restaurant in a historic structure," said
Leonard. "We do lean on seafood but have something for everyone.
I think it is our location, affordability and quality product that sets
Splendid scenery from the side of the restaurant.
There's not a bad indoor or outdoor seat in the house. Direct views
of the water, only separated from the restaurant by rocks, feel like
being on a boat. This is about as close to the water that one will
experience at a waterfront southern New England restaurant.
Looking out at the sea.
Commanding views from up above
provide the ultimate outdoor dining experience serving like an
introduction to the local sea...
View from the top deck.
Those wanting to be even closer to the water can opt to dine on the
Picture-perfect location for a coastal restaurant.
The Coast Guard restaurant, however, is not just about location,
"Some coastal restaurants get away with a lot just getting by on their
location and not focusing on the quality of food and the overall
experience," said Leonard. "We want the food and service here to be as
good as the view. We feel our slogan 'Sea Food, See Friends, Sea View'
is a good one for our restaurant."
A Coast Guard House gathering at twilight. Photo source: Coast
Guard House Facebook fan page.
A Strong Survivor: The Coast Guard House
In the beginning. Photo source: Coast Guard Facebook fan page.
Where the Coast Coast House is currently
located, famed architects McKim, Mead & White
designed and had built a solid granite building in the late 1800s for
the United States Life Saving Service -- the precursor to the U.S.
Guard. This, from the same architects who designed Rhode Island’s
State House, the Boston Public Library and New York City’s Pennsylvania
Station. They also built the stunning Narragansett Towers (1885) --
once a wing of one of Narragansett's famed hotels and now used as a
public events venue -- which majestically stands right next to the Coast Guard
House. Both buildings have National Register of Historic Places
The Towers building in Narragansett.
The Coast Guard House Restaurant opened in the 1940s as a seasonal
operation that became year-round in 1979.
Hurricane Sandy devastated the building in late Oct. 2012, breaking
windows, tearing the awning protecting an upper deck, creating overall
ruin in the kitchen and destroying side paneling facing
the ocean. This wasn't the first time the building fell
victim to harsh climate, however, as Hurricane
Carol in 1954, Hurricane Gloria in 1985 and Hurricane Bob in 1991 also
created serious damage to the structure.
"After Hurricane Sandy, a
lot needed to be done," said Leonard. "We closed for a year and seven
months. It put our people out of work but we were determined to come
back even stronger."
Front of Coast Guard House restaurant.
major renovations, including additions and design changes as well as
state-of-the-art structural improvements, the Coast Guard House started
with a partial reopening in mid-2014 which eventually led to a full
The history remains but the modern touches lend a much-needed
spaciousness, comfort and logically laid-out design scheme.
To get a more broad spectrum idea of the
beauty of the newly-renovated Coast Guard House,
take a virtual tour of the downstairs area by moving the arrows...
And also a virtual tour from the top...
Rebounding from the horrific eye of the hurricane to the loving
eye of the public, the Coast Guard House has truly returned to its
classic form, and then some. Although for generations a special
Coast Guard House seems more refreshed today with not only an updated
look but more food and drink offerings.
"We are better than ever," said
Leonard. "We survived the hurricane, thankfully."
A Restaurant for All Seasons
Candlelight dinner event. Photo source: Coast Guard House
Year-round events and seasonal
specials play a huge role in the
restaurant's appeal with some irresistible offerings. The Candlelight
Dinner -- held the second Tuesday of every month -- offers a special
date night out experience with the combination of a gourmet meal, the
warm glow of candlelight and ocean views creating an incredible
The Coast Guard House also features a series of History Dinners that
feature local "seafood specialties from the past with a modern twist,"
talk by Jim Crothers, executive director of the South County Museum
Coast Guard House wine director Elisa Wybraniec and
chef Angel Cardona collaborate through all four seasons to create
multi-course menus that complement the restaurant’s extensive wine
selection (more than 350 bottles and 25-plus selections by the glass). The
outstanding wine list has earned the Wine Spectator’s
“Award of Excellence”
year since 2015. The Coast Guard House also features beer dinner events.
15, the Coast Guard House will serve prime rib on Mondays and Tuesdays.
The Buck-A-Shuck will offer oysters and clams Monday through Friday
from 3-6 p.m.
Oysters from the Coast Guard House.
Guard House Facebook fan page.
Wednesday brings Wellington Wednesdays, serving Beef
Wellington all day while Thursday offers a 1.5 lb. lobster dinner
also offered throughout lunch and dinner.
Local lobster (from Point Judith) from the Coast Guard House.
Guard House Facebook fan page
A Rarity in Waterfront Seafood Restaurants: Good Value for the Money
The Coast Guard House Restaurant expertly bridges the gap between seafood
shack and upscale seafood restaurants. It is unusual for a restaurant
this sophisticated of a look look to prioritize an informal vibe for
everyone to enjoy
and with good value for the money that seems more in line with the
shacks. As examples of the latter, fish and chips come in at around
$16.50, at this writing -- about what you'd pay at many seafood shacks
and Irish pubs.
The jam-packed lobster roll costs just $21, about five dollars less
many other local spots specializing in this quantity of lobster
meat. A cup of clam chowder goes for $5, mussels for $12 and an
calamari appetizer at $11.50.
Calamari. Photo source: Coast Guard House Facebook fan page.
"It's true that many
restaurants with this kind of location can be an expensive dining
experience," said Leonard. "We try to keep the prices down, keeping the
customer in mind. We want everyone to be able to come to the
New England clam chowder.
There are so many fish in the
sea when it comes to New England waterfront seafood restaurants that
it's hard for a local or vacationer to choose the right one. Some excel
on a few levels but not all. High quality cuisine, atmosphere,
excellent service and
fair pricing all play vital
roles in a restaurant's success. Elite seaside restaurants like the
Coast Guard House (as opposed to
elitist; there is a big difference) exceed virtually all of the the
tenets of a top-notch local restaurant with water views.
Aerial view of Coast Guard House. Photo source: Coast Guard
House Facebook fan page.
Additionally, the Coast Guard House can be a standalone destination or
part of a day trip or vacation to South Country.
This wonderful, underrated region of southern New England delights with
its 100 miles of coastline with 20 public beaches, hiking and biking
trails, canoeing and kayaking opportunities, local seafood (with, of
course, the Coast Guard House as a go-to dining out spot), craft
breweries and distilleries, hotels, quaint small towns and villages,
charming mom and pop shops and myriad seasonal festivals.
The reviews don't lie: The
Coast Guard House garners a 4.5 rating
amongst 1000-plus reviews on TripAdvisor. But
there is an element that goes way beyond the reviews: the Coast
Guard House is a strong survivor. In the true New England spirit, this
iconic local restaurant has overcome hurricanes, bad economies and
growing competition. Talk about an evolution, as the Coast Guard
House has forever followed a line from a Kelly Clarkson song long
before it ever
came out:"What doesn't kill you makes you stronger" (although,
admittedly, the line initially came from 19th century German
philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche).
People admire strength, the sea, seafood and seeing others as a
community coming together. Ultimately, the Coast Guard House comes
across as a restaurant version of the U.S. Coast Guard -- that is, as a
first responder to the public's love for coastal waterfront restaurants.
"People want food and service as good as the view," said Leonard. "We
listen to the customers first and are always finding ways to do just
House Restaurant is located at 40 Ocean Rd., Narragansett, RI. Tel.
Web Site: https://thecoastguardhouse.com/
fan page: https://www.facebook.com/Coast-Guard-House-117243521644186/
Twitter page: https://twitter.com/coastguardhouse
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Guard House graphic below on Pinterest...
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