The One and Only Tim Bauckman
By Bob Tagert
The One and Only Tim Bauckman
This is a story about a local guy who didn’t go west (except for his recent trip to Sturgis, South Dakota), but instead, stayed in Virginia and created the iconic Tim’s Rivershore and Crabhouse on the Potomac. I had not been back to this riverside escape until recently when we went to hear our friend, George Brown’s band…Gottaway. As we arrived at 2:30 on a crowded Saturday and hoped for a parking spot near the restaurant, here comes Tim directing and he found me a spot. That is the kind of guy he is, “Whatever it takes”. After 28 years and three more restaurants, Tim is losing his lease. The restaurant sits comfortably on the shore of the Potomac River with the waves gently washing the rocky beach and the VRE and Amtrak trains speeding down the tracks on the other side. He has to vacate the property by 5:00 pm on September 30th. We have one more month to enjoy this classic get-a-way.
Tim grew up in the Woodbridge area not far from his current restaurant. He attended Woodbridge High School and was a couple of years ahead of Lori Welsh Brown, our Open Space writer – small world.
While furthering his education, Tim took an engineering internship at Georgetown University building new dorms. Unfortunately, while climbing down a ladder, that he didn’t realize had a rung missing, he fell through it and ended up hanging upside down. This incident was probably exacerbated by the fact that he was checking out the topless co-eds sunbathing on the roof of an adjacent building, but nonetheless, the accident blew his knee out and he spent the rest of the year on crutches. During that year he just hung out at the restaurant that his dad was building in Lake Ridge…Charlie Brown’s. One day as he was watching his uncle, a lifelong carpenter, building the bar he noticed that the bulkhead was crooked and pointed it out to the 70 year old craftsman. “See, I had to open my mouth”, Tim tells me. His uncle told his observant nephew that he was “nuts” but, on further measuring, indeed, it was off by 6 inches. “What they had done was measure down from the roof which was set at a slant,” Tim remembers, “My uncle got pissed and quit so my dad came over and said ‘looks like you have a job!’” From that day forward Tim became the general contractor on the job.
When computer systems hit the market he had to train the staff who apparently could not grasp the concept from the presentation by the vendor, so on opening night his dad asked, “You know how to work these?” “I replied yes and he said “Just do it”. The next thing he knew, thirteen years had passed with Tim running the restaurant. Ironically, his father sold the restaurant to Mr. Ray the then owner of the Fish Market Restaurant in Old Town, Alexandria – more small world.
After managing other restaurants and some construction jobs Tim ran into some friends who were opening the Bar J Steakhouse in Woodbridge and they asked if he would manage the place. He told them he had a day job but would manage it at night. Living in Fredericksburg, he would get up early, go to the Nokesville Virginia day job office and then to the job site and try to get out by 3:30 and go to Woodbridge to the restaurant and then leave for home around 10:30. The next day he would do it all over again. “It was a lot of hours and a lot of miles,” he laments. Change was on the horizon.
One day a friend noticed that Tim was dragging and invited him for a day on the river. “I said ‘sure’, I hadn’t been out on the water in a long time,” he remembers. At the end of the day they all wanted to get some crabs, but the group wanted to bypass The Rivershore Restaurant because of its’ “seedy” reputation. “Wait, I know these people,” Tim admitted, so they tied up at the restaurant. It was in pretty bad shape so they decided to leave but an old friend of his dad’s told Tim that he should buy the restaurant. By the way, crabs cost $35 a bushel back in 1993.
A short time later Tim borrowed $10,000 from a friend and they took over the place. “It started slow but every day business grew,” he said, “and this has been the best little place that I have ever known.”
After 28 years the march of progress has caught up to this neat little property. It is sad. Before the development of Potomac Shores, the only road to Tim’s River Shore was Cherry Hill Road. You felt like driving in the mountains on a narrow road that crossed the railroad tracks and arrived at this little oasis on the Potomac. Today Cherry Hill Road has been cut in half by the development and its’ own roads. The last part of Cherry Hill Road is intact and still leads you to the river and Tim’s.
Although this was the first Rivershore, Bauckman did not sit still. Next came Tim’s II down the river at Fairview Beach. He took over the restaurant at Coles Point Marina farther down the Potomac a few years ago and he opened Tim’s Restaurant and Crabhouse on Lake Anna. “This is the one my wife and I call our “real” restaurant…it has 300 seats,” he brags.
It’s hard to believe that Tim has any down time, but he does love his motorcycles – lots of stories about their virgin trip to the popular rally in Sturgis, SD last month – and the women in his life. His wife Jamie, his three daughters and his niece are the light of his life. His blue eyes twinkle when he talks about them. The girls are all grown and “out of the house” leaving he and Jamie to their own devices and that brings a big smile to his face! Spare time is spent on the road with likeminded motor heads, a little time on the water and time with the family.
It is true that sometimes “out of sight, out of mind” is sadly true. With the traffic around here, Tim’s Rivershore is closer to Alexandria by boat than by car. I am kicking myself for not thinking about this great escape more often. If you go this September you may find Tim parking cars, bringing in last minute supplies from a local purveyor or visiting with his many regulars. He is always doing something. He is also very easy to talk to and he has quite a story.