HUNTINGTON — Work continues on the former Schooner’s restaurant barge at the Guyandotte marina, which will soon become “Pier One Landing.”
“We are hoping for a mid- to late-August opening,” said Carl Bailey. “Pier One Landing will be able to accommodate around 90 people and will offer a full-service restaurant and bar, as well as a large conference and banquet room upstairs that will also accommodate approximately 90 as well.”
He said the restaurant will feature seafood and a variety of other menu items.
“We don’t have the full menu developed yet, but we will have a variety of different dishes, including stuff for vegetarians as well,” Bailey said.
The barge will also offer a Tiki Hut area.
“We are planning on having live music every other weekend,” Bailey said.
The barge’s upstairs will be used only for a conference and banquet room.
“If you want to have a bar mitzvah, a wedding reception, birthday party or whatever anyone may need, we are going to have the place for you,” he said. “It will be available seven days a week.”
Bailey says he also wants to share it with other restaurants in town.
“Any restaurant that would like to be out here on the river, I am encouraging them to schedule it, rent our room and bring your food,” he said.
Bailey says he is hoping to get transient boaters again to the new restaurant.
“They could give us a good economic boost,” he said. “We would even like to see some barges, perhaps the captains and their crews, stop here to get something to eat. We are the only place between Cincinnati and Pittsburgh now, so that’s going to be a plus for us.”
The plans are for Pier One Landing to be open Thursday through Sunday.
“We haven’t set the hours at this time, but we will make that available as we get closer to opening,” he said.
Bailey said he is also looking to hire new staff.
“We are mainly looking for kitchen help,” he said. “Anyone interested in a job should call 304-523-4628.”
Bailey, 60, of Huntington, is also the owner of the Fly In Café at Lesage. He leased the restaurant from Kenny Boggs and Jason Tolliver, the owners of the barge and the marina.
“Kenny came up to me in August of last year and introduced himself to me. This barge has been sitting here, unused, for the past eight years. We worked a deal out to get the restaurant back in business,” Bailey said. “They have been very helpful in getting this thing going.”
Boggs said getting the restaurant back in business is a step in building business at the marina. He said the marina had new fuel tanks installed last year as part of that effort.
“We’re excited,” he said.
The renovation work on the barge restaurant began in February. Since the work began, the barge did leave town for a week’s stay in South Point, Ohio.
Two boats and a crane barge from McGinnis Inc. removed the barge from its moorings on May 14, so it could be taken away for inspection and repairs.
“It was in pretty dilapidated,” Bailey said. “There was work done underneath the barge and to the electrical and plumbing on it.”
The barge is approximately 50 feet wide and 200 feet long.
“We are continuing our renovation work on the inside and getting it all cleaned up,” Bailey said. “While I have been building and doing construction, Cindy Yeager has been doing all the painting. She has done an awesome job.”
Bailey says he is even kicking around the idea of getting a scuba diving club put together and get float planes coming in as well.
“I am a scuba diver myself and have been doing it for about 40 years,” Bailey said. “It’s something I love and enjoy, just like my flying. We are trying to get it listed as a float plane base.”
Bailey is the fixed-base operator at the Robert Newlon airport, which is located off W.Va. 2 at 6090 Kyle Lane northeast of Huntington. A fixed-base operator is an entity or person that provides aviation services at an airport.
Bailey’s commitment to expand services has transformed the small airport into an airpark.
“I put in the RV park with accommodations that include RV pull-throughs and full hookup sites with water and sewer,” he said. “We also have primitive campsites and offer a bathhouse, laundry, walking path and more.”
Nearly six years ago, Bailey put in a restaurant called Fly In Cafe.
“We opened up the facility for the RV park and we realized that people who were staying there were always going out to eat. So we decided to put in a restaurant,” he said. “I always said that if I have a restaurant, I wanted it to serve seafood and now we have a great menu and it keeps growing.”
The Fly In Cafe first opened in November 2014. The small restaurant features an assortment of seafood as well as sandwiches and barbecued ribs.
There will be a bluegrass festival at the airpark Aug. 28 and 29, Bailey added.