The murky waters of the Genesee River may be a long stretch from the perceived blue waters offered in the lore of “Margarittaville,” but in terms of ambiance and camaraderie, the Pelican’s Nest serves up an atmosphere that will not disappoint. It is a gathering place, a place to unwind and rejuvenate on the waterfront.
Located on River Street adjacent to the Ontario Beach Park in Charlotte, the Pelican’s Nest Restaurant is a summer favorite for beverages, food and fun. The restaurant offers both indoor and outdoor dining and has convenient access both by car and boat (dockage at the marina is free for restaurant patrons). The restaurant is open 11:00 a.m.-2:00 a.m. 7 days a week from April through October and is a great spot to meet for beverages and snacks, a full meal or for live entertainment (Thurs.-Sun.)
The atmosphere is casual and lively. The bar area is usually crowded and the buzz of conversation and laughter fills the air. The outdoor dining area in contrast, though bustling with activity, provides quieter space for dining and conversation. The dress is usually an eclectic mix of t-shirts and suits. A wait for a table is usually expected but can vary from 20 minutes to more than an hour on weekends and during special events which occur regularly. The menu is varied with appetizers, salads, entrees, burgers and sandwiches.
Finally making my first journey in for this season, I was pleasantly surprised to find several new menu items including eggplant fries, spinach salad, jerked chicken and panninis. The wine list is not extensive but provides a decent variety to suit most tastes and to complement the menu. The beer list provides a broad variety of draft, bottles and cans.
Since our visit was a late evening, last minute decision during a special event promoted by a local radio station, we arrived with a “keep it simple” mindset. Appetizers all the way…! And new menu items were the draw. The fried ravioli, while a bit crisper than my taste buds prefer, filled “the spot”. The accompanying marinara sauce was tasty while the cheese sauce, on the other hand, was a bit pasty and didn’t do a lot to enhance the raviolis. The fish tacos were very well presented in light, tortilla shells that I can’t really define as crisp or soft, but were perfectly constructed to hold the lightly breaded and fried fish, topped with flavorful coleslaw. A side of spicy black beans that we immediately poured on top of the tacos created a very tasty meal. Eggplant fries provided a wonderful illusion of a healthful option to French fries and were very tasty. (and I do not, as a rule, like eggplant in any form!)
The service throughout our visit was attentive, yet unassuming. We were not rushed to make decisions even though it was during a special event and the staff provided consistent follow through from order taking through clearing the table.
Overall, it was a very nice evening, in a comfortable, happy setting with a light breeze wafting in from the river keeping the evening cool. While I came away regretting I did not explore the new entrees, I know that in the very near future there will be a host of Alaskan king crab legs to savor, another new menu item this season, that is on my list of “musts”!
Pelican’s Nest Waterfront Restaurant
566 River Street
Rochester, NY 14612
Open 7 days a week from 11am – 2am, April 15 through October 31