FULTON – Location and family. Those are the two driving forces behind owners of Tavern on the Lock in Fulton.
The building, previously owned under the name The Lock III, was the selling point for owners Donald and Susan Ryan.
After falling in love with the building and all it has to offer, Susan and Donald opened the restaurant in February of 2008.
But, not before they did a complete remodel overhaul leaving only original windows and brick.
Seeing even more potential in the property, the Ryans purchased the vacant land next to the building from the city and added on a full-size deck, complete with a screened in porch area, ample seating and a full Tiki bar.
Susan, a life time Fulton resident, has worked locally in the food service industry for years doing everything from serving and cooking to managing and also owns a nail salon.
Donald, originally from North Syracuse, owns a construction company and used that to his advantage when he built a house for his family on family acreage in Fulton in 1994.
Knowing Fulton and what it has to offer, Donald particularly loved the location of the restaurant.
“We have the best view of Fulton, with the little waterfall and the boats coming through the lock,” said Donald.
They didn’t want to limit this view to a specific group of people, so the Ryans made Tavern on the Lock a family oriented establishment.
“There’s something for everyone here. We serve steak, seafood, pizza, wings, sandwiches, burgers and more,” said Susan.
Tavern on the Lock features a full-size dining room for families or individuals looking for a good, quality meal. They also have a full bar upstairs with multiple big screen televisions, a banquet room downstairs with a full bar to entertain, and a large deck with another full bar.
With all these areas combined, Tavern on the Lock plays hosts to a multitude of events including weddings, rehearsal dinners, class reunions, private parties and more.
The fun goes on with or without the sun as well.
Despite the deck and its view being a strong selling point in the warm, summer months; the heated, screened in porch on the deck plays hosts to many parties throughout the long, cold, winter months as well.
Tavern on the Lock stays active in the community by sponsoring many city league teams for sports such as softball, volleyball and basketball.
The teams often come back to the bar for drinks and food after their games and one team in particular even still participates in their “softball night” at Tavern on the Lock despite the fact that they no longer play softball.
These lasting quality relationships, built within their business, are some of the Ryans’ favorite benefits of owning their restaurant.
“We have so many customers that double as friends. We’ve made so many of good friendships here. We travel to Florida and we visited at least ten customers that have turned into great friends,” said Susan.
Along with friendship, the Ryans focus a lot on family within their business.
With a total of 10 grandchildren from 4 children, there are many family faces that come through the doors.
“Each of our children, two of our nieces, one nephew an even more family members have all worked here at one point in time and some still do,” said Susan.
And although it’s been a long road, their current staff is the best they’ve ever had.
Facing the usual pitfalls of owning a business, they found themselves struggling with finding an adequate staff.
“Our staff as a whole has matured. There was a lot to learn and we’ve experienced and grown a lot. Now today, we have an excellent staff. Ed Casler, our chef, deserves credit for how smoothly things go around here,” said Susan.
“And Sue is full-time in the kitchen now as well,” Donald added. “We really focus on quality and presentation.”
Although running a construction company and a nail salon as well as a restaurant can prove to be tiring for the Ryans, they feel they’ve come a long way.
But Tavern on the Lock isn’t stopping now. They’re always looking to improve, including renovations happening soon.
“We are changing the look of the dining room, the carpeting and booths. And we are going to freshen up the banquet room as well,” said Donald.
“And we are always trying new, innovative dishes through specials like different seafood – rainbow trout, salmon and tuna,” Susan added.
With specials such as 50 Cent Wing Wednesday and 2 for 1 Margarita Night, on top of constant bar specials, a jukebox and a generous display of the water, the fun is in full supply at Tavern on the Lock.
Tavern on the Lock is located at 24 S. First St. in Fulton, you can find their hours and information at tavernonthelock.net