Snug Harbor owner Tim Tompkins has returned to the place he loves to reopen the landmark Keuka Lake restaurant, operating it himself for the first time in 8 years, along with business partner Derek Sung. Together, they are managing a staff of some veteran servers and a few new hires.
Just two miles north of Hammondsport on the western shore, Snug Harbor has been a favorite spot since it opened in the 19th century.
Previous operators Jeff and Kathy Bates, who had leased the restaurant for four years, had decided not to re-open the restuarant in April.
“I’m glad to be back!” says Tompkins, who adds he’s had a love affair with the property ever since he first saw it in 1988 and bought in the following year from Trudy and Bob Drumm. Resistant at first, the Drumms eventually accepted his offer, and after his investment and improvements, they said how thrilled they were with all he had done to make Snug Harbor what it is.
Tompkins is doubling down on his investment, replacing the sheet piling breakwall and boardwalk, improving the docks, and expanding parking near the lake. “This is a great place to invest in. The community is charming. Everyone in Hammondsport and on the lake are easier and friendlier than in the city,” says Tompkins, who has been scaling back his work as a real estate broker and nightclub owner in preparation for semi-retirement. “I just wish there were more jobs for young people down here.” With that in mind, Tompkins has hired back several veteran staff who have worked with him before, and has taken on younger, untried staff who show the right energy and manner for the job.
Snug Harbor has reopened with a simpler, more casual menu as the staff are being trained and the kinks of start up are being worked out. With his own signature “Tim’s Shrimp Cocktail” and a variety of specialty burgers and entrées, the staff are soon getting their feet under them. “Everyone has been very complimentary of the food and service, and we’ll be expanding the menu in a few weeks,” he says. The bar features a selection of Finger Lakes wines and beers as a commitment to local sourcing, as well as LiDestri distilled beverages, such as Back Stage Pass Vodka, which Tompkins says aficionados cannot distinguish from Grey Goose.
Snug Harbor is open from 10:45 a.m. seven days a week, “and we’ll stay open as long as people want to stay,” says Tompkins. There are more than 25 boat slips for patrons who come by lake, and plenty of level parking near the door.