Buxy's owner branching out with fast casual restaurant. Produced by Megan Raymond
A dream 12 years in the making has finally come to fruition.
Doug Buxbaum, owner of Buxy's Salty Dog Saloon, is adding to his portfolio.
Buxbaum will take over the former Pizza Hut location adjacent to his bar on Coastal Highway to create Dry Dock 28, a fast casual restaurant with spacious ceilings and a nautical decor.
"Dry Dock 28 will allow us to do a few things we've never been able to do before," said Buxbaum, adding that he's often felt pigeon holed with his bar's small size and reputation. "The Salty Dog has treated us well — we've certainly found our niche. But we are looking to do something new."
Because Buxy's Salty Dog Saloon, often referred to as Ocean City's unofficial Steelers' bar, is usually at capacity and its food sales have significantly increased in recent years, Buxbaum wanted to expand and focus more on food in the new establishment.
By renovating the former Pizza Hut, Dry Dock 28 will have nearly 200 indoor seats and an outdoor patio able to accommodate another 30 seats, to better serve families, large parties and events.
The menu is expected to feature items like gourmet pizzas, seafood steamers, handcrafted pot pies, burgers, salads, soft pretzels, wings and more. In addition to an executive chef, Buxbaum anticipates hiring 50 new employees for Dry Dock 28, which is expected to open in late spring.
Unlike Buxy's Salty Dog Saloon, which features a tavern-like sports bar theme, the new restaurant will offer a more elegant, yet laid-back dining experience. The space will feature a rustic nautical decor, an extensive craft beer, wine and cocktail menu, and will offer live entertainment weekly.
Once renovations are complete, patrons will enter in the front or rear of the building, and either walk left or right into Dry Dock 28 or the Salty Dog Saloon.
"Everything will be under one roof, but the bar and restaurant will be separate entities," Annie Buxbaum said.
Dry Dock 28 will also offer a carryout counter for food and beverages, a feature the Buxbaums hopes will complement and enhance his successful boutique.
Last November, Buxbaum and several other Ocean City restaurateurs received approval from the Worcester County Board of License Commissioners for expansion requests, including one from Scott Heise of the House of Ribs. Heise told the board he planned to spend $500,000 renovating the building’s exterior and adding 92 seats.
The board also approved a license transfer for the restaurant space at K-Coast on 35th Street. The former location of Crazy 8’s will be turned into casual restaurant Shotti’s Point.
Additionally, Gold Coast Beer and Wine, will become Gold Coast Beer, Wine and Liquor following its takeover of the adjacent county liquor store. The county’s lease expires at the end of the year and Mike Ramadan, owner of the beer and wine store, has agreed to purchase the liquor store’s inventory. Ramadan plans to combine the two units by removing the wall between them. The renovation work is expected to be complete by mid-March.
Susan Jones, executive director of the Ocean City Hotel-Motel-Restaurant Association, said it seems as though there are always changes in the restaurant world.
"This industry is one where hard work and dedication really can pay off," she said. "For example, Buxy used to bartend at Shenanigan’s and now is a successful business owner who is expanding ... proving that the American dream is still alive and well."
On Twitter @hcarroll_1
On Instagram @thesassy_banana
More from DelmarvaNow: