A restaurant surviving for over 100 years is a remarkable feat in itself. A restaurant owned and operated by the same family for over 100 years is a true rarity, and Dock’s Oyster House is just that. Dock’s was opened by Harry "call-me-Dock" Dougherty in 1897 and quickly became a favorite of locals and tourists. Lines would form out the door on Atlantic Avenue (and at the back door for those in the know) with guests waiting to dine on the freshest seafood in town.
Harry's vision has since been carried on by four generations of Doughertys, who share his commitment to quality and service. The fourth-generation owners, brothers Joe and Frank Dougherty, got an early start in the restaurant standing on milk crates to wash dishes when they were 8 and 6, and went on to learn every aspect of the business from their parents Joe and Arleen. They also learned the more subtle qualities necessary to run a successful family business — mutual respect, hard work, dedication and a willingness to do whatever it is that needs to get done.
The family business now includes the Knife & Fork Inn and Harry’s Oyster Bar in addition to the recently renovated and expanded Dock’s. Frank and his wife Maureen run the restaurants full time with Joe and his wife Bernadette, who have careers outside the business, assisting frequently. The fifth generation — Madison, Harry, Katherine, Megan and Lila — are already getting involved. It is too early to know who will take over, but we are certain that the business will thrive and welcome the sixth generation of Doughertys.
Dock's Oyster House, 2405 Atlantic Ave., DocksOysterHouse.com; Harry's Oyster Bar, 1900 Pacific Ave., HarrysOysterBar.com; Knife & Fork Inn, 3600 Atlantic Ave., KnifeAndForkInn.com; all in Atlantic City.