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Patch Exclusive: Skipper's Dock to Close Permanently Oct. 31

"This will be our last hurrah," owner Ainslie Turner says.

Skipper's Dock will close Oct. 31, 2013. Credit: Elissa Bass
Skipper's Dock will close Oct. 31, 2013. Credit: Elissa Bass
by Elissa Bass

Skipper's Dock restaurant owner Ainslie Turner confirmed to Patch Tuesday that 2013 will be the iconic restaurant's last season.

Known as much for its sunset harbor views as it is for its lobster dinners, Skipper's Dock was first opened in 1929. Ainslie Turner and her husband Jerry opened it in its current Water Street location in 1986.

On Tuesday, Turner confirmed a rumor that has been floating for months: that 2013 will be Skipper's last season. It is not her decision, she noted. Her lease has not been renewed. The restaurant's last day of business will be Oct. 31 "unless something happens with Bill's plans," she said.

William Griffin owns the Skipper's Dock property, as well as the neighboring Inn at Stonington, and Turner leases the restaurant from him. There is an online petition to keep Skipper's open.

Turner and her husband opened the HarborView restaurant on Water Street in 1969, and then in 1986 they opened Skipper's on the dock. They sold both in 1990, and then came back in 2000 to run Skipper's. Jerry Turner passed away in 2002. Turner runs the restaurant now with her son Alex.

Asked if she intends to retire, Turner said no way.

"I have been in the restaurant business for 45 years. I fully intend on finding something else," she said. "Of course, the uniqueness of Skipper's will never be duplicated but I'm not going to hang up my chef's knives just yet."

She said the restaurant employs 133 people at its peak season.

Skipper's reopened for the season in February and outdoor seating began last week. "The weather is warming up and by Mother's Day we will be rocking and rolling," Turner said. "Come down, have your first lobster of the season, go dancing on the docks. We'll have Charlie Holland every Sunday. We will keep ourselves busy — it's going to be a great summer. This will be our last hurrah."

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