The Carriage House, an oceanfront, modern New England restaurant and raw bar, is open at 2263 Ocean Boulevard on scenic Rye Beach, New Hampshire. Owners James Woodhouse and RJ Joyce are committed to honoring the restaurant’s the rich traditions rooted in hospitality. Join us for dinner seven nights a week in our newly designed dining room, sip a cocktail by our working fireplace, or take in the ocean views over Sunday brunch.
We realize we’re not changing the world and saving lives here. We enjoy what we do, but we take this seriously enough to work our tails off to provide an experience that you can’t wait to tell your friends and family about. A lot of thought, care, and technique go into every item on our menu to create a depth of flavor and nuance you don’t taste every day.
James joined the Seacoast dining community in 2000 at The Rye Beach Club, a private seaside club, and the upscale Beach House in Hampton Beach. After graduating from Providence College with a degree in Humanities, James worked in fine dining restaurants in the US Virgin Islands, Boston, and along the Seacoast. During his time in Boston, James had the pleasure of learning from world-renown Chef Barbara Lynch. His time behind the bar sparked a passion for wine, inspiring James to train under the world’s leading Master Sommeliers and obtain the prestigious Level II SommVtion.
As a young boy, RJ spent mornings on his family’s White Gate Farm in Epping, NH, while afternoons were spent stocking shelves and working the counter at his grandparent’s country store. Those formative years instilled an appreciation of how food gets to the table and paved the way for a career in hospitality. RJ’s journey has taken him from the Seacoast of New Hampshire and Southern Maine to the US Virgin Islands, providing valuable experience in food sourcing, wine, and service. RJ also worked alongside Chef Evan Mallett and ran the wine program at the iconic Black Trumpet Bistro in Portsmouth.
We cook with what’s around us. Because New England seasons are so distinct, the ingredients available from local farms and fisheries change often, which means we change things up quite a bit. Our menu is intentionally kept somewhat small to keep it fresh and unique. We constantly dream up original dishes while putting an innovative spin on traditional favorites.
The Carriage House restaurant and raw bar is a beloved Seacoast institution in Rye, New Hampshire, across the street from the beach at 2263 Ocean Boulevard. The two-story restaurant opened under the name Swenson’s Grill in 1931, later becoming Carpenter’s Carriage House and Michael’s Carriage House. In 1983, Paul Mackey purchased the restaurant and enjoyed a 35-year run of success before turning over the reins to RJ Joyce and James Woodhouse in February 2018.
RJ and James are high school friends who have a shared philosophy on dining and service – fun, creative, passionate, and original, while always respectful of the history and tradition of the community. Both have spent time in restaurants throughout New England in the U.S. Virgin Islands. They returned to their native Seacoast and teamed up to open Louie’s, an Italian restaurant in Portsmouth, which was forced to close after a fire in 2017.
RJ and James discussed the possibility of purchasing the Carriage House with owner Paul Mackey, who they had known for years. RJ and James soon took over the Carriage House, honoring the rich heritage of previous owners while infusing the menu and décor with a fresh, modern style.