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Main Deck: Creating space for the history and people of Penn Yan

  • / Updated:
  • Megan Hatch 

If you want a taste of Penn Yan’s boating history and some great New England and Cajun French-style food, then you have to check out Main Deck.

Main Deck sits on the north end of Keuka Lake in the village of Penn Yan and brings three unique dining concepts to the village – Main Deck restaurant, Tunnel Bar and patio lounge, and Scuttlebutts take-away window service.

Visit Main Deck the new boat-inspired waterfront farm-to-table eatery in Penn Yan

More: Main Deck restaurant now open in Penn Yan

“We created a space that would collectively allow people to enjoy throughout the summer and winter and not just be a dining room,” said Bradley Burritt

Penn Yan native and owner, Tim Stuart, found the idea for the eatery.

Stuart’s father, Robert Stuart, is the late owner of Penn Yan Boats and designer of the “Tunnel Drive,” a boat design that allows boats to be beached without damaging running gear.

Main Deck celebrates Stuart’s father’s rich boating history and offers farm-to-table cuisine. Inside the restaurant, you can see the work of Stuart’s father as well as local carpentry seen in the tables, the ceiling and the chairs.

“The Main Deck concept was to bring more attention to Penn Yan as a town to really gain the traction to add tourism here. We want to be part of that not just exclusive to it,” said General Manager Brad Burritt.

“We have this space that’s inviting that includes a lot of the local talent through the culinary side, the wine, the carpentry and the architecture of this building.”

“The plan was to use French and Cajun French techniques of cooking and apply it to more of this region’s local cuisine,” said Executive Chef Jason Lambert

Jason Lambert, the Executive Chef for Main Deck, comes from New Orleans, Louisiana, and worked with famous chefs in the past like Emeril Lagasse and Isaac Toups.

He said it was serendipitous how he ended up at Main Deck.

“It just kind of worked out. My partner is from Rochester, so she has a lot of family here. We have a two-year-old son, so we decided to move this way to find a closer home to our family,” said Lambert.

Lambert said it’s a chef’s dream to cook from farm to table and cook from so many avenues.

“We’re literally using products from all over the Finger Lakes region, whether it be Bedient farms, Rosenkrantz farms for beef, Whiskey Hill for our rabbits, some of the local Mennonites. It’s been great,” said Lambert.

“The agriculture, it’s like a chef’s dream, to be able to pull from so many avenues as far as just anything basically local cuisine, whether it be animals to produce. There’s an extensive library of things to pull from and it’s fantastic.”

The restaurant opened this past July and the entire three dining concepts will be in full effect very soon

“We have Tunnel Bar open, we have Main Deck bar and dining room fully open, and we operate five nights a week for dinner, including Sunday brunch at 10 o’clock in the morning,” said Burritt.

“We’re working on Scuttlebutts, that’ll open up very shortly, and driving this business into the future.”

Main Deck is open Wednesday through Sunday, so if you’re visiting Penn Yan, or are local to the area, stop by and dive into the culture of Penn Yan.

More: Main Deck, a three-part farm-to-table dining concept brings contemporary farm-to-table fare to the Finger Lakes