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Bud & Alley‘s mixes old with new

Nathan Cobb
nathan@waltonsun.com
Walton Sun

SEASIDE — With about three months of construction left, a popular beach-front restaurant is nearing the end of a massive enhancement project.

Despite roughly a year of construction, Dave Rauschkolb, owner of Bud & Alley's Waterfront Restaurant & Bar, said the 34-year-old joint hasn’t skipped a beat.

RELATED: Bud & Alley’s renovations on schedule

“It‘s like a ship just nosed into Seaside,” he said, adding that sales are surprisingly up. “The (new) orientation of the restaurant is now looking over town center. ... It’s a whole new exciting element.”

Improvements include 10 new bathrooms, an elevator, bell tower, upgraded roof deck and a road-side portion of the restaurant. All are expected to be complete by May 1, with the exception of the roof deck, which will open in March.

RELATED: Bud & Alley’s undergoing ‘enhancement’

Rauschkolb said the idea to renovate began about five years ago after learning Robert Davis, Seaside’s founder, wanted to expand the south side of County Road 30A.

“I thought, ‘Well why not have Bud & Alley’s be the constant and be finished ... first before anything else happens,‘ ” he said.

Rauschkolb added that plans have also evolved during construction. Originally, he thought Taco Bar would be transferred into the new road-side portion. However, a vision of grab-and-go extension of Bud & Alley‘s changed his mind.

“As things progressed ... I loved the (once temporary) location (of the taco bar) so much and I love (the) pizza bar where it‘s at so much that I worked out a deal with Seaside where I’m going to continue leasing both these buildings,” he said.

In about a month, the taco bar will also expand to include more kitchen space, a wrap-around bar and additional awnings.

For Rauschkolb, his restaurant‘s steady support over the past year stems from a healthy fan base and a reliable reputation.

“People generationally love Bud & Alley‘s,” he said. “I never wanted to be that restaurant that was in an amazing location on the water that had terrible food and awful service. ... That’s been one of our singular focuses for all 34 years — to always raise the bar, always try to be better and always be creative.”

Looking ahead, Rauschkolb was ready to put construction behind him and help welcome in a new wave of developments in Seaside.

“To succeed in anything, it takes a lot of luck, a lot of skill, a lot of passion and no fear,” he said. “That’s probably the most important component because if you‘re afraid to succeed, you might be afraid to succeed.”