Brian Thimme and his wife Elizabeth appeared to be quite relaxed while seated at a large table inside their newly renovated restaurant.
They leaned back in their chairs and smiled and took their time while enjoying a plate filled with arugula and panko fried chicken breast and another covered with a grilled pizza.
Dinner with the Thimmes, however, is not always so relaxed.
The local husband and wife have three young children, so mealtimes can be a challenge. Part of that “challenge” has led Brian and Elizabeth to make a series of stark changes at their restaurant — formerly called the Tyler Point Grille and currently named Bluewater Bar and Grill.
Mr. Thimme said Bluewater — the menu features a clean and simple look — will cater to a younger crowd, including families with children. He said it was important for him to create an atmosphere that was inviting to people with kids, a place where parents would feel comfortable if their children talked a little too loudly or dropped a fork on the ground.
The owner focused on brightening the interior of the restaurant. He re-painted it a crisp white, installed hardwoods (instead of the carpeted floors), renovated the attractive bar and installed a series of beer taps. He also hung new paintings and changed the furniture.
Then there was the menu.
Mr. Thimme said in order complete the shift from the old Tyler Point Grille to the new Bluewater Bar and Grill, he needed to rebuild the menu. A number of the dishes known best at Tyler Point have been eliminated or reinvented. Mr. Thimme pointed to a dish called Arancini — wild mushroom risotto fritters with mesclun greens and goat cheese. He said the dish was inspired by an item on the previous menu but given a fresh, new twist.
“Joe Simone came in and worked with me on the menu,” Mr. Thimme said, referring to the well-known local chef who owned Sunnyside Cafe in Warren. “We went outside the box.”
The new menu features farm-to-table, locally sourced foods — Narragansett littlenecks and Blue Point oysters on the raw bar, Point Judith calamari, and grilled New Bedford sea scallops, to name a few dishes. The entrees range from mini veal sausage and chicken breast rigatoni, to a 16 ounce ribeye steak, the “Bluewater burger” and a lobster roll.
Mr. Thimme said he’s also planning to bring a little more “life” to the restaurant: “It used to be a little boring. Now we’re going to have wine dinners, live music, clambakes.”
In an effort to make Bluewater even more attractive to young families, children (up to two per family) eat free on Sundays (with the purchase of 1 regular entree), and there’s also a children’s menu. Mr. Thimme said the restaurant is also focusing squarely on spreading its message through social media.
The Thimmes said they are very excited about the change, shifting from the Tyler Point Grille which never felt entirely their own, to Bluewater, which better encapsulates their vision. Still, Mr. Thimme admitted that there was some hesitation.
“I know I may lose a couple of customers,” he said, pausing a bit … “but people can always ask for something specific. We’ll be able to make it for them.
“It’s starting to feel like it’s ours.”
Bluewater Bar and Grill serves dinner seven days a week and is able to host large private functions. For more information, visit bluewatergrillri.com