Order this... Seafood pasta at Dead Eye Dick's
Dead Eye Dick’s has been serving seafood as far back as the 1940s, in the very building that it is in today. So, with that piece of history in mind, we met with Jessica Wronowski, owner and manager of the restaurant for the past seven years, to learn more about the restaurant. We also met with Executive Chef Scott Ferguson to learn more about him and his staff and to taste his excellent Fra Diavolo Fresca.
Jessica, who also works in the kitchen expediting the line in order to ensure that customers receive quick service and hot food, said the restaurant has 150 seats — two inside table areas, a bar and its well-known covered deck area overlooking the Great Salt Pond — a great spot to enjoy lunch, dinner and drinks, and to watch the boats in the harbor and a beautiful Block Island sunset. Jessica also disclosed that, according to Block Island lore, the restaurant was named for Richard Dodge, a member of one of the very early Block Island families.
After our history lesson, we moved on to our visit with Chef Ferguson. Chef Ferguson has been on Block Island for nine years, at Dead Eye Dick’s for four and executive chef for two years. He noted that he learned to cook in order to survive because his mom “was not a good cook” and that he started as a dishwasher in the restaurant business and worked his way up. Chef Ferguson also told us that he lives on the island during the season with his wife and little daughter, Tallulah, who waves to everyone.
Our Fra Diavolo Fresca tasting followed our conversation. A delicious sauce of freshly roasted cherry tomatoes (which are from Jessica’s family farm), oil infused with red peppers, a chimichurri of fresh herbs and shaved asiago cheese are mixed with clams, mussels, scallops and shrimp and served over well-prepared fettuccine.
We ended our interview with a hint from Chef Ferguson — next time that we visit, make certain that we try his hand-cut French fries. We must admit that we have tried them, and they are amazing!
Dead Eye Dick’s, located in New Harbor, is open from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day. Check out the website at deadeyedicksbi.com for complete menus (which are revised every spring) and hours. — Ruth Perfido and Becky Ballard