Jones Landing, which greets ferry passengers when they get off on Peaks Island, is under new ownership. Photos by Leslie Bridgers

I discovered The Barn at Old Smith Farm early on in the pandemic, when I was looking for more outdoor dining options, and immediately fell in love with the open-air Falmouth restaurant and its rustic setting, complete with roaming chickens.

So I was excited when I heard its owner had taken over Jones Landing, the restaurant on Peaks Island that greets passengers as they get off the ferry and that I only had known as the host of Reggae Sunday parties in the summer.

That weekly tradition has continued under the new ownership, which also runs Milly’s Skillet, the food truck that’s been parked behind the restaurant for about 10 years, feeding those Sunday revelers. Until Molly Ritzo took over the lease in the spring, Jones Landing hadn’t operated as a sit-down restaurant for decades, she said.

And although she went into the endeavor with the intention to run it seasonally, by the end of the summer, she was convinced she could make it work year-round.

I had intended to check out what Ritzo had done with the place all summer but didn’t make it to Peaks until the end of October. Although the ferry ride was chilly, it was just warm and sunny enough to sit out on the deck without having to fight for the high-top tables that lined the railing looking out toward Portland Harbor and the city skyline.

The deck was still open to diners last weekend, and Ritzo says it will stay that way as long as there are nice days. But even once snow starts flying, customers can opt to take drinks outside – by a fire pit in the side lawn.


The Buffalo wings from Jones Landing at a table on the deck.

The daytime menu is a concise selection of brunch and lunch items, probably better suited to someone who hadn’t already had breakfast, but I was able to satisfy my food mood by ordering two appetizers – a small order of Buffalo wings ($12) and the kale Caesar salad ($10).

The Reuben is made with corned beef and Standard Baking Co. bread.

The wing sauce perfectly met my definition of what Buffalo should be, and the salad was good and garlicky, dressed to my liking – not heavily. My lunch date got the Reuben sandwich ($17), with thick-sliced corned beef on deliciously grilled bread from Standard Baking Co.

Other items on the menu include, on the breakfast side, a Benedict, apple French toast and potato hash, and for lunch, a lobster roll and a burger, which may have looked a little too good – a nearby customer who ordered it drew the attention of a seagull that ended up dive-bombing her plate.

So while eating outside may come with hazards, it’s always nice to have the option. And I appreciate that restaurants have gotten more flexible about offering it, letting the weather rather than the calendar dictate when their decks and patios open.

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