An application for what is being described as the first upscale, late-night food delivery service will be the subject of a public hearing at Thursday's Newport Beach Planning Commission meeting.
Jeff Reuter, owner of 3-Thirty-3 Waterfront restaurant in Newport Beach, intends to fill the food nighttime niche with Dry Dock, which would deliver "fall-off-the-bone" barbecue throughout Newport and also serve dine-in customers along Mariner's Mile.
"There are a lot of people doing dinner later these days than ever before," Reuter said Tuesday. "People go out to a movie, come back from a wedding or whatever it is, and they want to grab a bite after 9 o'clock. Our restaurant, 3-Thirty-3, proves that. We are very busy from 9 to until the kitchen closes, serving full meals."
Dry Dock would add to what's now a sparse selection of late-night delivery in Newport, Reuter said.
The proposed restaurant would take over the vacant space at 2601 W. Coast Hwy. once occupied by Josh Slocum's. Baby back ribs, wood-fired thin-crust pizza, roasted chicken and other "comfort foods" are on the menu.
Free delivery is planned from 5 p.m. to 1:30 a.m. to most areas of Newport Beach and possibly outward as the business grows.
Reuter wants to emulate the city's original oyster bars and provide barbeque similar to Tony Roma's, which closed in the area about 15 years ago.
"It is my opinion (that) Mariner's Mile is in a state of severe decline, and it is at the point now that it will either recover and become a vibrant, village-type atmosphere catering to the citizens of Newport and the tourist industry, or it will continue its current path of decay and become virtually user-unfriendly," Reuter wrote in his application to the city.
"Our goal is to help re-make this particular section of Newport Beach, an area that has historical significance, a fun and exciting place for everyone."
Although the restaurant would service dine-in, takeout and delivery customers, Reuter plans to have the kitchen best designed for efficient delivery service.
"Oven" vans with metal racks keeping the food hot would be Dry Dock's delivery fleet, trackable from in-kitchen monitors, he said.
"As with 3-Thirty-3, we simply tried to look at the space and find what can benefit the community and what would work best in a business sense," Reuter said.