The waters of the Long Island Sound were calm and the sky slightly overcast, but the at Rye Playland Beach was busy with activity Tuesday afternoon.
Workers cleaned tables and organized barware, the kitchen staff went through inventory and checked supplies in anticipation of Wednesday's opening.
. He says timing is everything.
"I've been watching the weather forecasts to time the opening," Ambrose said as he looked toward the Sound. "There's no rewards for opening too early."
The recent stretch of warm weather persuaded Ambrose and his two partners the time was right to open for business. But inclement weather is bad for the bottom line. Pier Restaurant and Tiki Bar thrives in good weather. Visitors at the amusement park and boardwalk stroll in to eat and have drinks. Boaters can even order dockside service. Regular season at opens May 15 bringing even more foot traffic to the area.
For now, the restaurant are operating with a small veteran crew. But Ambrose says by mid-May, he'll be fully staffing both the restaurants-Seaside Johnnies' is also opening today- for the summer season. Some will be returning seasonal employees, but there are also additional openings.
During its first season, Ambrose says there were about 184 employees at Pier Restaurant and about 115 at Seaside Johnnies' during the entire season.
"Once we get through the opening, we'll have interviews," he said. Ambrose said he had about 50 applications already.
This third year of the restaurant's contract with the county, they will pay a minimum $45,000 licensing fee. That amount will increase to $60,000 for the next two years of the contract.
There were concerns at that time from Rye residents about noise and safety at the venue which hosts live music and stay open until midnight weekdays and 2 a.m. on weekends.
Ambrose responded gingerly to questions about noise. "Last year, there was not a single complaint from the public," he said. Ambrose said he and his partners were "the consummate good neighbors" and take action to reduce noise from the live acts when necessary.
"I always put myself in the shoes of the residents and show respect for the neighbors," Ambrose said.
is open Sunday through Thursdays from 11 a.m. to midnight, Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. Ambrose said the restaurant is also available for parties and will be open for Mother's Day lunch and dinner.