By KIMBERLEY HAAS
RYE — The Carriage House in Rye reopened this week with new owners.
The historic restaurant at 2263 Ocean Blvd., built in 1931, was sold to R.J. Joyce and James Woodhouse by longtime owner Paul Mackey when he retired earlier this year.
Renovations began in February after Joyce and Woohouse financed the purchase of the restaurant with a Small Business Administration loan from Newburyport Five Cents Savings Bank.
Joyce and Woodhouse were forced to close Louie’s, an Italian restaurant in Portsmouth, last April because of damage from a fire at the neighboring State Street Saloon. The Carriage House marks the third restaurant for the duo, who have been best friends since high school. They greeted their first patrons at The Carriage House on Tuesday night.
The owners have been working to restore the two-story interior while adding some modern updates. The ground level was transformed into a light and bright space showcasing the beauty of Rye Beach across the road. The upstairs bar and dining room features new wood floors and steel gray walls where James Audubon’s “Birds of America” series is the focus. A wood-burning fireplace remains a cozy nook for a cocktail or dinner. Woodhouse said creating exceptional moments in hospitality is his team’s focus and that they hope to exceed everyone’s expectations.
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