This scenic seafood option is located in York River Yacht Haven at Gloucester Point, Virginia -a short drive down the Colonial Parkway to Yorktown and then across the York River Bridge. Without question, the dock front seating is conducive to an enjoyable and relaxed experience. Although it retains the name -River's Inn-of its previous, somewhat uptight incarnation, the restaurant has recently changed owners and fortunately has a much more laid back feeling than before.. The quality and selection of the food on the outdoor crab deck has increased exponentially. They even have steamed blue crabs by the dozen--something the previous owner only offered in a pre-cleaned and oil coated version.
Today's warm Saturday afternoon dining experience included some great conch fritters and a shared soft-shell crab basket with cole slaw and steamed corn. There were so many specials that it was hard to stop ordering. An interesting selection of beers are available but today we had refreshing club sodas (someone has got to work).
Many of the clients are residents or short term dockers at the marina but the cars in the parking lot indicated a fair number of landlubber diners from some of Williamsburg's more affluent housing developments. Nonetheless, shorts, t-shirts, and sunburns are the uniform of the day for the outside deck. The inside bar has the makings of a serious watering whole for the area's rich and famous.
With a little imagination, the Crab Deck could pass for many a tropical restaurants that I have visited in the Keys or in the Islands...at the very least, it's far closer than having to drive to Virginia Beach for a comparable experience. Its worth the trip alone for the hushpuppies and a cold draft.