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Tim’s Rivershore Restaurant and Crab house has operated on the banks of the Potomac River outside Dumfries for 28 years. 

UPDATED: It didn't take long for fans of Tim's Rivershore to respond after hearing Monday that their favorite summertime hangout could be closing next month.

Owner Tim Bauckman shared the stunning news via Facebook mid-afternoon on Feb. 22, that the restaurant would have to shut its doors in March after operating for 28 years on the banks of the Potomac River. Bauckman blamed Potomac Shores, which owns the property on which the restaurant operates, saying it had declined to renew the lease.

In just a few hours, news stories about the restaurant had been shared thousands of times. Then came the Change.org petition, the "Save Tim's Rivershore!" Facebook page and the SaveTims.org website.

By Tuesday morning, all had thousands of signatures, hits and visits, making clear that Tim's Rivershore would not leave Dumfries without a fight.

“Tim’s isn’t just a local restaurant. It’s a family: sea dwellers, land lubbers, friends, and families came from near and far to visit and support this place, share stories, have a meal, pick some crabs, and enjoy the atmosphere,” Wendy Lane wrote in part when she established the Change.org petition, which had garnered more than 6,000 signatures by Tuesday afternoon.

“Tim’s is the reason I chose to retire in Virginia,” wrote Brian Boyles on the “Save Tim’s Rivershore” Facebook page. He said he met his wife at Tim’s and their son worked there earning money for college.

“Yet Tim’s isn’t just a hangout or (to use Potomac Shores’ droll words) merely a ‘dining experience’ to me. It’s a vital organ,” he wrote.

“Got to have Tim’s Rivershore! Wouldn’t be summer in Woodbridge without it,” wrote Denise Dunlap on the same Facebook page.

“Shame on you Potomac Shores! No new windows or paved roads will ever compare to what Tim and my sister have done for Prince William County,” wrote Johnna Champion-Brandt. “The Bauckman name will remain in the history and yours will be forgotten.”

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Tim Bauckman owns Tim’s Rivershore in Dumfries as well as three other waterside restaurants in Virginia.

Bauckman said Tuesday he was overwhelmed by all the support.

“At first I thought there wasn’t a lot they could do,” he said.

The efforts have already resulted in a online community meeting, planned for Thursday, Feb. 25. There is also talk of taking the fight to the Prince William Board of County Supervisors within the next couple of weeks to voice their support for “the Rivershore” and to vow not to support any restaurant built in its place, Bauckman said. 

Tim’s will remain open on weekends in March with a smaller menu to give everyone a chance to say goodbye, Bauckman said. At this time of year, Tim’s is usually closed for the season.

“I wish we had another year to finish up,” he added. 

New restaurant planned

Biddle Real Estate Ventures, which manages Potomac Shores for California-based developer SunCal, said the move is the result of complaints about Tim’s Rivershore being in a state of “disrepair” and its effort to improve the area’s amenities. Potomac Shores has worked with Tim’s for years toward those goals. Accommodations have included forgiving some lease payments, said Burns Patterson, spokesman for Biddle Real Estate Ventures.

“For a number of years, Potomac Shores has made a range of accommodations to assist in keeping Tim’s Rivershore viable,” according to a statement Biddle Real Estate Ventures released Tuesday. “As complaints about the location escalated, we have sought ways in recent years to pursue improvements on-site.” 

Biddle is seeking proposals from local restaurant operators, including Bauckman, and plans to replace the Rivershore with another seafood restaurant, Patterson said.

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Potomac Shores, shown in this aerial photograph from June, and its management company, Biddle Real Estate Ventures, said it is not extending Tim’s Rivershore’s lease because of complaints about Tim’s being in “disrepair” and their desire to improve the area’s amenities.

“We expect to have positive news for local residents and the surrounding community in the coming weeks, including news about new restaurant operations and renovations to the waterfront location at Potomac Shores,” the statement said.

“We thank the team at Tim's Rivershore, including Tim, his partners and staff, for their contributions, and wish them continued success at their many other locations in the region,” the statement continued. “Our goal is to ensure that the site is a vibrant, safe and engaging destination for the community and for visitors arriving by car or by boat.” 

‘If it could happen, it happened here.’

Bauckman initially shared the news of his restaurant’s fate in an emotional Facebook post. “I wish I wasn’t telling everybody this. This is not what we wish would have happened. It’s a heartbreaker,” he said.

Bauckman talked about the people he had met there; his kids growing up there; that people had gotten married, baptized and divorced there.

“If it could happen, it happened here,” he said.

Bauckman said the owners of the property think they can find something else that would be better for the spot. “They want something shiny and new,” Bauckman said.

Tim’s Rivershore has sponsored numerous charities and community events over the years, most notably the annual Polar Plunge, which raises money for Special Olympics. Bauckman also has Tim’s restaurants in Fairview Beach, Coles Point and Lake Anna. 

The Rivershore building has been around for decades, built by watermen. Commercial fishermen, the initial owners, ran the original restaurant until Bauckman bought it nearly 30 years ago. It’s always been a bit rough along the edges.

“I know we were never fancy. We never wanted to be that. We were a crab house on the river and that’s what we wanted to be,” Bauckman said. “To me, that’s what fits here.”

Bauckman sold his property to KSI, a predecessor of SunCal, in 2004 and maintained an extended lease since then. There had been plans for years by Potomac Shores developers to build a marina nearby with a new Tim’s Rivershore restaurant. 

“Of all the scenarios, I would never in a million years think this would be it,” Bauckman said. “It’s one of the hardest things about it.”

Reach Aileen Streng at aileenstreng@gmail.com

Monday, Feb. 22: Last call coming soon for Tim’s Rivershore

Tim’s Rivershore Restaurant and Crab House will close for good at the end of March after 28 years in business.

Tim’s is located outside Dumfries and on the Potomac River on land owned by Potomac Shores. Biddle Real Estate Ventures, Potomac Shores' management company, told Tim’s Rivershore owner Tim Bauckman last week it would not extend his lease beyond March, Bauckman said.

An email to Biddle Real Estate Ventures seeking comment was not immediately returned Monday afternoon. 

Tim’s will remain open on the weekends in March with a smaller menu to give everyone a chance to say goodbye, Bauckman said. 

“I wish we had another year to finish up,” he added. 

In an emotional post on Facebook, Bauckman said: “I wish I wasn’t telling everybody this. This is not what we wish would have happened. It’s a heartbreaker.”

Bauckman talked about the people he had met there, that his kids had grown up there, that people had gotten married, baptized and divorced there.

“If it could happen, it happened here,” he said.

Bauckman said the owners of the property thought they found something else that would be better for the spot. “They want something shiny and new,” Bauckman said.

The Rivershore building has been around for decades, built by watermen. Commercial fishermen, the initial owners, ran the original restaurant until Bauckman bought it nearly 30 years ago. It’s always been a bit rough along the edges.

“I know we were never fancy. We never wanted to be that. We were a crab house on the river and that’s what we wanted to be,” Bauckman said. “To me, that’s what fits here.”

Bauckman sold his property to KSI, a predecessor to Biddle, in 2004, and maintained an extended lease since then. There had been plans by Potomac Shores’ developers to build a marina nearby with a new Tim’s Rivershore restaurant. 

“Of all the scenarios, I would never in a million years think this would be it,” Bauckman said. “It’s one of the hardest things about it.”

Bauckman also has Tim’s restaurants in Fairview Beach, Coles Point and Lake Anna. 

Reach Aileen Streng at aileenstreng@gmail.com

            

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(4) comments

Notintopolitics

I knew it! As I mentioned earlier in the week, there was an alterior motive for developer to put another restaurant there! What a surprise.....not. I hope more will support keeping Tim's there. It is not just the food, but a great place to get away from all the coomercialism and enjoy the view with or friends and family.

Sperry1964

Due respect to all those who love the place (including some of my family members), it needs to go. Hubby and I were there once. The stench that greeted us when we got out of our car was disgusting and didn’t get better when we approached the actual restaurant. The good was awful, the place was filthy, inside and out and the service was terrible. They could put just about anything in there and it would be an improvement.

HARRYCANYON

Yankee Carpetbaggers

Firebrew22

I don’t believe anything Biddle Realestate Development says. Who complained about Tim’s? No one! That’s why THOUSANDS of people are mad and up in arms over this closing. Reinstate Tim’s lease. If you put another restaurant there, it will go broke. We promise.

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