Rockfish Public House holds soft opening

Christopher Dornblaser, 505-5436/@YDDornblaser
  • The Rockfish Public House held its soft opening Thursday.
  • The restaurant focuses on seafood, with an emphasis on oysters.
  • The restaurant will be open from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday.
  • The upstairs bar will be open seven days a week from 4 p.m. until midnight.

After nearly two months of work, the Rockfish Public House at 110 N. George St. is opening its doors to customers. On Thursday, nearly 200 people came out for dinner as the restaurant kicked off its soft opening ahead of its official opening Tuesday.

Rockfish Public House server DeeDee Brody delivers a plate of seafood nachos and a pound of mussels during her shift Friday, Aug. 12, 2016. The restaurant, which opened its doors Thursday, will officially open Tuesday. Amanda J. Cain photo

The former Maewyn's Irish Pub and Restaurant location was purchased in November by Tom Sibol, owner of the White Rose Bar & Grill for more than three decades, and Jeremiah Anderson, the White Rose's general manager since 2008. According to Brandon Hufnagel, manager of the Rockfish Public House, the impetus behind the restaurant was an emphasis on seafood, something he said downtown York lacks.

"It's kind of a niche for downtown York," he said.

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Food: The manager recommended the oysters, which he said come from an oyster farm in Maryland. He said the oysters will be shucked in-house, and the remaining shells will be crushed and sent back to the oyster farm to help build the shells for the next oysters.

A plate of mussels sits in front of Lyda Gentzler of Dover as she visits Rockfish Public House with her friends on Friday, Aug. 12, 2016. The restaurant launched Thursday with a soft opening. Amanda J. Cain photo

There will be dishes for the less seafood-inclined diners as well. Hufnagel recommended the filet mignon as well as the chicken, which he said comes from free-range birds that are steroid- and hormone-free. He said a portion of the menu will change depending on the season.

Hufnagel said there is a focus on local food, so the restaurant tries to source ingredients from within about a 100-mile radius.

Drink: Like many York City establishments, the Rockfish Public House will be home to many beers. Hufnagel said the restaurant will have 24 beers on tap, and many of them will be locally brewed. Hufnagel referenced the York City-based Liquid Hero Brewery as one of the available drafts. He said the restaurant reached out to local breweries and asked them what they would suggest for the restaurant.

As with the food, the beer selection will rotate by season.

In addition to beer, the manager said, drinks will have a focus on rum and tequila. Hufnagel said Rockfish will have happy hour from 4 to 6 p.m.

General manager Brandon Hufnagel, of Glen Rock, assists server Noel Ayala, left, of Red Lion during his shift Friday, Aug. 12, 2016, at Rockfish Public House.  Amanda J. Cain photo

A bar on the upstairs level will be home to live entertainment, according to Hufnagel. Although food cannot be purchased at the bar, Hufnagel said, eventually local snacks, such as ones from York City Pretzel Co., will be available to the upstairs patrons.

Hours: The restaurant will be open 11 a.m. until 11 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. Hufnagel said because of the way the fish is delivered, those hours are the best way to ensure the fish are fresh. 

Anyone looking to get a drink from the new establishment on a Sunday or Monday should not fret, though, because the upstairs bar will remain open seven days a week, from 4 p.m. to midnight.

The restaurant will officially open Tuesday. Until then, people are encouraged to check out Facebook or Twitter for more information.

— Reach Christopher Dornblaser at or on Twitter at @YDDornblaser.