The Carriage House Reopens in Rye, N.H.

The Seacoast classic has an updated menu from the owners of the now-closed Louie's in Portsmouth.

(L to R) James Woodhouse and RJ Joyce just took over Rye, N.H.'s iconic Carriage House restaurant.

(L to R) James Woodhouse and RJ Joyce reopen Rye, N.H.’s iconic Carriage House restaurant. / Photo by Sam Nute

A Seacoast institution is reborn tonight with an updated menu and interior, courtesy of a couple of New Hampshire natives and hospitality pros. The Carriage House reopens Tuesday, April 17, from Louie’s Portsmouth owners (and high school best friends) James Woodhouse and RJ Joyce, and partner and executive chef Brett Cavanna.

Just more than a year ago, the trio was forced to shutter their cozy Italian spot, Louie’s, after a fire next door flooded the building. They still plan to reopen in Portsmouth, but the damage is great. In the meantime, Woodhouse (formerly with the Barbara Lynch Gruppo), Joyce (formerly of Kittery’s Black Trumpet), and Cavanna purchased the Carriage House in Rye, N.H. The restaurant has been serving up New England fare and ocean views since 1930, most recently at the hands of chef-owner Paul Mackey since 1983.

“We know the Carriage House means so much to so many people, and we are committed to continuing that tradition,” Woodhouse said in a press release.

Cavanna, an alum of Cafe Boulud in Florida and Fig in Charleston, S.C., is inspired by New England’s farmers and fishermen on his new menu—check it out below. With dishes like spring pea fritters with house boursin, dill, and snap peas; lobster with asparagus, basil, and Carolina gold rice; roasted cod with artichokes, fennel, and parsley butter, it’s approachable tavern fare. There’s also a raw bar with daily crudo, plus blue plate specials that nod to the Carriage House’s history.

The new owners spruced up the two-story restaurant, brightening up the ground-level dining room, and refreshing the upstairs with new floors, steel gray walls, and art from prints from the iconic “Birds of America” watercolor series by naturalist John James Audubon.

“We are so thrilled to welcome back the community to experience the Carriage House, and we hope they really like what they see,” Woodhouse said. “Our goal is to meet and hopefully exceed everyone’s expectations.”

The Carriage House reopens tonight at 5 p.m., and will serve dinner nightly until 9 p.m. (10 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays). Sunday brunch starts April 29 from 11 a.m.-2 p.m., and lunch will pick up this summer.

2263 Ocean Blvd., Rye Beach, N.H., 603-964-8251, carriagehouserye.com.