The Water Table, a dinner boat that aspiring restaurateur Kelli Farwell plans to dock off of Greenpoint, is going full steam ahead despite falling short of her $60,000 fundraising goal.
The Water Table’s month-long Indie Go Go campaign only raised $26,956, far below the $60,000 goal.
“Our main goal was $35,000, that’s what I got the seller of the boat down to,” said Farwell. “The $60,000 factored in getting help with mechanical stuff. But once we have the boat, I think people will come forward.”
Farwell, along with her girlfriend and “first mate” Sue Walsh, have been working on their plans for the dinner boat for the past eight months.
Farwell has long experience in restaurants, where she has acted as a manager, server, captain and wine director. A couple of years ago, she helped set up Rye, an upscale restaurant on South First Street. Since then, she’s been wholesaling wine.
“Opening a restaurant is totally different from working in one — it takes a lot of stamina and you have to make every decision. It’s a different skill set, but I think she’s more than capable,” said Cal Elliott, who was Farwell’s boss at Rye. “It’s a tough business. I take my hat off to anyone who tries it.”
It was Farwell’s seaside upbringing in Maine that attracted her to the waters surrounding Brooklyn.
“I was taking the East River ferry and I had an epiphany,” said Farwell, 41. “I thought ‘Wow, you can get a job on the water.’ ”
Last year, she took a course and got her captain’s license, assuming that she would get into chartering, But then she came up with the idea for the floating restaurant. She scoured the internet for an appropriate boat, and found what she was looking for in a commercial passenger vessel that is a replica of an old tugboat. The boat, certified for a 49 passengers and a crew, is currently docked in Michigan, and Farwell plans to bring it to Brooklyn in March or April.
She plans to host two runs a night on the East River at first, and will eventually also be open for weekend brunch and Friday afternoon appetizers in the summer.
Despite the novelty of running a restaurant on a boat, Farwell’s first priority will be the food she serves.
“If you are going to do a dinner boat and want people there year-round, you have to make the food good,” she said. “In most cases, people think that being on a boat is enough, but I don’t think that’s true.”
Farwell hopes to have the boat ready for private events this spring and plans to have the restaurant open by mid-summer.Reach reporter Danielle Furfaro at dfurfaro@c