Following a soft opening pre-pandemic, The Reef is making its official debut onto the Newport dining scene in 2021 with a fresh, new renovated look and a new director of culinary development.

The owners, lifelong sailor Robert Flaxman and his wife, Leslie, bought the restaurant on 10 Howard Wharf right before the pandemic, but they closed soon after and took that time to rebuild the interior, the menu, and the staff to create a new and fresh look for 2021.

The restaurant recently welcomed Jon LoPresti to its team. As Director of Culinary Development,  The Reef says that LoPresti will oversee all culinary programming and planning for the brand, including the development and execution of the internationally-inspired coastal menu at the restaurant.

Prior to joining The Reef team, LoPresti was the chef de cuisine at Newport’s Stoneacre Brasserie/Garden at Stoneacre and executive sous chef at 41 North – “The Grill,” also in Newport. Having spent most of his career in the New York area, LoPresti has held executive culinary positions at Laurel Links Country Club, Ocean Grill,  Oceana, and The Water Club, in addition to Bullshead Bar & Grill and Bridgehampton Cafe in The Hamptons.

The Reef’s menu offers “a unique and thoughtfully curated spin on typical Newport dining”, according to the restaurant. In addition to New England classics like a hot and cold lobster roll, menu highlights include international, chef-driven fare including lobster a la vodka, tuna poke, seafood bouillabaisse, empanadas, and chickpea fries. Complementing its flavorful food menu, The Reef’s beverage menu offers a variety of refreshing cocktail, wine, beer, and liquor options.

With a capacity for up to 500 guests total, The Reef’s newly renovated, coastal-inspired space makes for a picturesque setting for intimate gatherings and large celebrations alike, while maintaining a welcoming atmosphere for casual come-as-you-are dining and drinking on its waterfront patios.

For regular dining, the space offers three indoor dining areas showcasing stunning sailing photography and ocean-inspired color palettes, three bars, and two gorgeous, waterside patios complete with fire pits, lounge seating, free-standing tables, and Newport’s only grove of palm trees- ensuring that each and every one of its guests feel like they’ve discovered a little slice of restaurant paradise.

The property also includes a dinghy dock and free parking for restaurant patrons.

The Reef

The Reef is now open for indoor and outdoor dining on Wednesday through Sunday beginning at noon. Hours will be expanding to seven days as of Memorial Day Weekend.  Takeout and delivery are available Wednesday through Sunday from noon to 9 pm.

The Reef has job opportunities available for all front of house and back of house positions. Those interested in applying should apply within.

For more information and updates on The Reef, visit www.thereefnewport.com.

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Ryan Belmore has been the Owner & Publisher of What's Up Newp since 2012. He also currently works for Mountain News, where he serves as Senior Editor - North America for OnTheSnow. He previously worked for the New England Patriots and American Cancer Society. He currently serves as Vice President of Fort Adams Trust and is a member of Local Independent Online News (LION) Publishers and North American Snowsports Journalists Association (NASJA).