Imagine this – a still warm doughboy molded to fit in a bowl with ice cream and covered with your favorite toppings.
Well, David Gravino says you won’t have to imagine a doughboy sundae. It could be here by late fall.
The sundae is all part of what will be coming to Iggy's Boardwalk in Oakland Beach. There’s a lot more, according to Gravino, who has owned and operated Iggy’s with his sister, Maryann Soares, for 24 years.
The Boardwalk now hidden by construction fences and curtains is right next to the Iggy's Doughboys & Chowder House. Although still under renovation, the Boardwalk has some of the look of Iggy’s, yet is different
“It's going to be really inviting with a really ship-looking atmosphere,” Gravino said during a behind-the-curtain tour of the building he has owned for years.
After seeing tenants come and go, Gravino began the Boardwalk believing it would just require a few renovations. The more he got into the project, the deeper he went. The building was gutted and Gravino is replacing nearly everything, adding a state-of-the-art kitchen, bead board ceilings and mahogany doors.
He hasn’t left anything to chance.
Gravino confides when he gets into a project; he wants it done right or not at all. Beams to the building, which show signs of a fire years ago, all have sister beams. Windows are all designed to withstand hurricanes, restrooms have been repositioned so doors don’t open into the dining area and the bar that was once against a wall is in the middle of the room. The bar with mahogany framed windows makes up part of a divider allowing for the seating of private parties.
The project, which Gravino put in the range of costing $1 million, has a family touch. Gravino’s brother in-law, Michael Grenon, is doing the work.
“Every seat will have a water view,” said Gravino.
As for the front of the building, Gravino wants it to complement Iggy's. It has lost its “warehouse-look” and its trim, windows and faux columns give it a New England seaside feel.
The boardwalk, which is out back overlooking the beach and Greenwich Bay, will hold about 350 people. The inside will accommodate another 130.
So far Gravino has said little about his plans with the exception of Mayor Scott Avedisian and close friends, family and, naturally, employees.
"This is a wonderful development for Oakland Beach and for the city. Iggy's is already a major draw for the area, but this new venture will allow David to have large events – including weddings – at this location," the mayor said when reached for comment. He would go for a vanilla doughboy sundae with no whipped cream.
The fences and curtains have added intrigue and a level of expectation among customers anxious to know what’s coming.
“Keeping it under wraps, hiding it from everyone,” Gravino said with a smile.
But he can’t resist. There’s so much more to the Boardwalk than doughboy sundaes.
There are many things that Iggy's has never done before, such as a sit-down dinner where there will be wait staff serving shore dinners. Gravino mentions lobster combos, such as lobsters and steamers or lobsters with fish or steak. Price will depend on the market, but he’s looking at full dinners in the range of $25.
He has plans for a raw bar and gazebo bar. There could even be a jazz band on Saturday and Sunday evenings.
A creamery is also included in the new boardwalk. The creamery will offer windows onto the sidewalk as well as on the interior, offering 30 to 40 flavors of hard serve Gifford's Homemade Ice Cream.
Weddings at the boardwalk may be the next big craze. Gravino sees renovating a back building so that it offers accommodations for the bride to change and prepare for the ceremony. He has already booked a wedding for next October.
Gravino began working at age 12, with his father, Gaetano. They worked together at the site of the boardwalk when it was Gus'.
When Gravino bought the building that became Iggy’s 24 years ago, the family was at a loss of what to name it.
The name Iggy's came from Gravino's father's license plate growing up, “Ig6,” which then lead to a playful nickname that his father detested, “Iggy.” When they bought the chowder house, the name choice was clear, Iggy's.
Later, he said, his father came to love the name.
This million-dollar project will offer million-dollar views all year around, just as Gravino planned.