THE HISTORY OF BENNETT’S CREEK MARINA
Brian and Teresa Mullins, owners of M&M Hospitality, acquired the property formerly known as Bennett’s Creek Marina to build their newest ventures: Decoys Seafood Restaurant, featuring the Blind Duck Tiki Bar, Bennett’s Creek Marina, and the Landings. The property holds sentimental value to Brian, as he used to launch from the very same riverbanks to duck hunt for over 20 years. The Decoys restaurant name pays homage to this duck hunting history. The outdoor tiki bar, adjacent to the restaurant, is named Blind Duck as a play on duck blinds, to show respect for the area’s history. During construction, much of the timber used to trim the restaurant and tiki bar was harvested from the current land. Trees were cut to rough lumber and then air or kiln-dried on the Mullins’ farm for 18 months. Highlights of the wood varieties used in Decoys Seafood Restaurant and the Blind Duck Tiki Bar include pine for the detailed trim, pecan for the hardwood floors and staircase, black walnut for the bar tops, red cedar for the tiki bar ceiling and osage orange for the tiki bar seats and bar top.
The area in which the restaurant and marina now sit was first a ferry site and lead to the naming of the main road. The creek is named after the Bennett family, the original owners of the land. The current site is where the old swing bridge/country store sat from the early 1900s through the 1940s when the Route 17 bridge was built. The store remained and became a restaurant known as “Creekside Restaurant” until the Mullins acquired the property and began demolition in 2015.
When beginning construction on the old Ferry Bulkhead, the team noticed a part of the concrete retaining wall that had a dog’s unique set of paw prints from the 1800s. This imprint has been carefully preserved and is displayed in the restaurant to show three paw prints and a fourth imprint that looks like a peg leg. The Mullins created this 3-legged black lab persona named “Mate” to represent the marina and serve as the Blind Duck’s best friend.
The entire portion of Bennett’s Creek where the marina now sits was dredged to accommodate larger boats up to 80 feet in length and 60 new slips with 1,800 square feet of floating deck were installed.