Rail Owners Ready To Assume Management Of Barley Neck Inn

By: Ryan Bray

Topics: Business , Orleans news , restaurants

Brothers Tyler (left) and Cameron Hadfield will look to continue their success at The Rail at the Barley Neck Inn, which they have been tapped to operate and take over dinner service this coming season. RYAN BRAY PHOTO


ORLEANS – The Barley Neck Inn has new managers, and owner Phil Ruggieri didn't have to look far to find them.

Across the street, Cameron and Tyler Hadfield have built a reputation for themselves in recent years at their popular breakfast spot The Rail. Now the brothers will look to put their touch on the inn by taking over dinner service at the restaurant.

"The energy level is good and there's an interest in making money, and that's what you need," Ruggieri said of his decision to work with the Hadfields.

Both parties came to an agreement on running the inn last month after the brothers initially toured the restaurant with interest in buying it. While that didn't materialize, both sides continued to talk.

"He came in for breakfast a lot, which is nice," Cameron said. "We started talking about potentially managing it. The three of us all got along really well, and it just grew from there."

Ruggieri and his wife purchased the inn, located at the corner of Beach Road and Main Street, in 2015. The restaurant has long been a popular spot for locals, tourists and summer residents dating back to its days as the Pequot Inn.

But the inn has endured a few difficult seasons clouded by the COVID-19 pandemic and concerns from some neighbors over the town's allowance of outdoor live entertainment on the inn's lawn area. In a compromise with abutters, the select board issued an outdoor entertainment license to the inn last spring allowing for non-amplified acoustic music on the lawn, a move that Ruggeiri said in part stunted business last season.

"We won't be doing live outdoor music ever again," Ruggieri said.

Ruggieri was to appear before the zoning board of appeals March 15 for a special permit requesting permission to allow only ambient music on the lawn. But rather than outdoor music, the Hadfields say they are keeping their focus on improving dinner service and putting their stamp on the inn's menu.

The brothers last year expanded their offerings at The Rail to include lunch and dinner, but service will be scaled back to breakfast-only as they move dinner offerings across the street. The inn will also offer appetizers and bar service on the lawn.

"When we expanded to dinner last year, part of that move was getting a team in place that could really run breakfast without us," Cameron said. That includes their sister, Becca, who will be charged with overseeing breakfast operations in their absence.

For now, the brothers are taking a wait and see approach with lunch, which they said could be accommodated at either restaurant if the demand is there.

For Tyler, who will serve as the inn's executive chef, the biggest draw to running dinner at the Barley Neck is the added space the venue provides.

"We were really cramming everything into every nook and cranny at The Rail," he said. "It's such a small space to try and pull off two services. The advantage is you can optimize just for breakfast over there and really make the best use of the space, and same thing here. You're not always trying to fit two places into one."

The brothers are taking a bend-don't-break approach to the dinner menu, and patrons can continue to expect the seafood and other offerings they've come to enjoy at the establishment. But there will be some changes that they hope guests will enjoy.

"The menu will change somewhat dramatically, but we're not going to turn it into an Italian restaurant or a Chinese restaurant," Cameron said. "It's going to be what people are used to, we're just going to try and elevate the experience, elevate the taste, elevate the service."

Specifically, Tyler said he wants to bring some Asian and Caribbean influences into the menu, cuisines he said are underserved locally but growing in popularity. Patrons can expect to see the inn's kitchen staff flex their creativity on smaller dishes and appetizers.

"I think it's easier to try an appetizer that's out of your comfort zone than an entree," he said. "Your entree, if you don't like it, you're going home hungry."

"Tyler as a chef is starting to build a name for himself, which is great," Cameron added. "We hope that people will sort of follow us on our journey and trust him to make something they might not usually try."

Apart from the menu, the brothers say they want to create an atmosphere at the inn that appeals to and welcomes year-round residents as much as the summer crowd. For Ruggieri, having managers with local ties to the community is key.

"If there's anything in this process that I've gone through during the pandemic and whatnot is that Orleans is a very local community," he said.

Much of last year's staff from the inn and The Rail will be returning, and Cameron said staff could work between the two restaurants. The Rail will open its doors March 24 on weekends only until mid or late May, when it will resume operations seven days a week.

As for the Barley Neck, Cameron said he and Tyler are tentatively eying an April 7 reopening. As with The Rail, the inn will be open on weekends only until mid or late May.

"As soon as we can staff, we'll ramp up to seven days a week," Tyler said.

The Hadfields' agreement to operate the inn runs just through this season, but both parties say they're excited about the potential for a longer working relationship.

"My pitch to them is I have every expectation that we'll want to be together," Ruggieri said. "They're the team I want managing it."

Expanding their footprint beyond The Rail had been a long-term goal for Cameron and Tyler, and the brothers say they're excited to make the most of their new venture.

"An opportunity presented itself," Cameron said. "There are many ways it would have been better to wait, but we didn't want to. If the universe puts something at your doorstep, you have to make a decision, and we're going for it."

Email Ryan Bray at ryan@capecodchronicle.com