Since 1984, Dobson's Restaurant has been the epicenter for the power lunch set and the pre-theater crowd, who've wheeled and dealed over drinks at the gleaming wood bar or sipped mussel bisque at a cozy table in the upstairs dining room.
After 31 years, there's a changing of the guard at the downtown restaurant. Founder, proprietor, and former bullfighter Paul Dobson has been bought out by Chad Ruyle, though Dobson, a longtime fixture at the restaurant's front door, will continue to have a presence there.
Ruyle, a lawyer who has lived downtown since 2000, was the chief investor involved in developing East Village hotspot Bottega Americano, which opened last year. In partnership with Marcos Luciano, Ruyle is embarking on plans to give Dobson's a needed refresh that should be completed in a month without any break in operations.
During the restaurant's downtime, on Sundays, the carpets will be replaced and booths reupholstered. The bathrooms will be redone and a new front patio installed, which should add 30 more seats.
Ruyle says that the old school feel and flavor will be preserved but upgrades include a new wine list that focuses on exclusive bottles to a bar program that will feature craft distilleries and high-end spirits. The menu will also be updated by chef Martin San Roman, though it will remain in the French-American genre and classics, like their signature mussel bisque, will stay.