Eight years ago Dockside Grill was finishing out what seemed to be a multiple-owner identity crisis. “No one owned it longer than a year,” now-owner Brian Staley told me. It was a place folks could stop for a burger or sandwich and if you walked to the window to the right, you could get a beer, but nothing special.
There was no big deck, there was no live music. Now, things have changed. Staley has taken a spot that was to be bulldozed to the ground, and turned it into a sure-fire good time for music lovers and boaters alike.
Brian began docking his boat at the Louisville Landing Marina in 2000. He saw the businesses come and go and, in 2005, he decided it was time to do something about it. As the owner of a successful marble and granite business, Staley had the capital and the desire to make it happen.
I arrived at Dockside on a Saturday night. I pulled in and found a parking spot next to a large building that seemed large enough to fit a boat in. Just outside of that was a detached building housing a men’s and women’s restroom.
To the right as you pull into the parking lot is the water. It is beautiful, peaceful and complete with many a boat slip and a few gazebos with seating. Also, plenty of signs letting you know fishing is not cool.
The building itself is cute, there is no other way to put it. It has a theme to it like an old fishing cottage that could serve fresh-caught large mouth bass sandwiches back in the day when it was safe to eat fish out of the bodies of water in East Tennessee. The inside is equally adorable: quaint, small and friendly. It seems quite inviting for families, but a bar wraps around at least half of the indoor portion of the place. Beer is the only libation but that seems a good thing for people who likely have a boat to get back onto. Don’t need anyone ramping up onto the building like an action movie after too many shots of Patron and some false nautical courage.
The staff was bubbly and friendly, mostly younger girls, likely working there for the summer. Bartender Amanda greeted me and it quickly became apparent to me that she was more than the bartender as she corralled the young ladies this way in that in an effort to make sure each customer was serviced properly. I was really digging this place. Not for myself as much because I would want to have a beer if I were hanging out at a bar/restaurant near the water and I have a distinct fear of getting a DUI after even a single beverage in out of the way places like this. They had several taps featuring various brews, nothing too crazy or beer snobby, but definitely a few choices other than Bud Light.
From the bar, you could see the band on the patio clearly, mostly thanks to the bands lighting system they had brought. I had heard them very clearly the moment I stepped out of my car in the parking lot as well. What was most impressive to me was how the volume was not overwhelming when I went outside on their patio. A band called Northshore was playing that night. They were playing some blues when I walked out on the deck, so I captured it and had a seat. There I found my friends Robert Higginbotham and Steph Cabell sitting in a corner table enjoying a few beverages. I had met them at a Dumplin Creek Farm concert a few years back where I poorly attempted to do comedy for a crowd I was told would be adults but ended up being littered with children. OK, maybe littered isn’t the right term, but then again, people do tend to have five kids per family here, that’s a litter, right? I sat down with them and complemented their friend’s band and the overall sound. They agreed it sounded good and we all continued to enjoy the show.
The temperature was perfect all the crowd was attentive. A perfect night, with a perfect spot. If you have a boat, you should stop at mile marker 625.6 on the Tennessee River and have some food or a beer at Dockside.
2932 Louisville Boatdock Road
Louisville, TN 37777
Web Site: www.louisvillelandingmarina.com
Smoking Indoors: No
© 2013, Knoxville News Sentinel Co.
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