DODIE’S: Redefined

What a difference a year makes for a Harbor restaurant under new ownership

(ROCKWALL – March 31, 2013) The owners of Dodie’s Cajun Diner at The Harbor know what it’s like to have their plates full.

Mike McRae and Gabe Nicolella have been consumed with improving the quality of the restaurant ever since they purchased it last spring – refining everything from the decorations on the walls to the dishes on the tables.

Gabe Nicolella & Mike McRae

“It all boils down to giving our guests the ultimate dining experience,” said Nicolella, who spent years managing restaurants and nightclubs in Chicago, Dallas and on the River Walk in San Antonio.

“When we bought Dodie’s, the food and service were inconsistent at best. We needed to re-define the atmosphere – get the restaurant where it needed to be to reclaim some old business and earn some new business.”

Dodie's wraparound covered patio offers spectacular views of sunsets and sailboats on Lake Ray Hubbard.

They quickly went to work extending the covered patio that overlooks Lake Ray Hubbard, renovating the interior to give the restaurant a “French Quarter feel,” fine-tuning recipes and introducing a variety of new, chef-inspired entrees.

Dodie's now offers three chef-inspired Surf & Turf entrees with Blackened Ribeye.

Perhaps most importantly, they created a casual, family-friendly environment and began giving back to the community that so warmly welcomed them.

“It’s Rockwall’s small town charm and big sense of community that drew us to The Harbor,” said McRae. “We’re continually amazed at the outpouring of support we see. Whether it’s Helping Hands’ Angel Trees, the Rubber Duck Regatta, the Rotary’s Project Warmth coat drive – or any number of charity events we’ve been involved in – the response is always overwhelming.”

Most recently, Dodie’s took part in the ‘Harbor Gives Back’ event, in which Harbor merchants donated a portion of sales to injured firefighter Devon Colbert.

Next up is Dodie’s Crawfish Fest on April 14. The all-day, all-you-can-eat crawfish boil will feature live music from The RUB, and a portion of every ticket sold will benefit the Rockwall Rotary. (Tickets available at

Dodie’s also serves up sports action on seven big screen TVs, and hosts special celebrations for the Super Bowl, Mardi Gras and St. Patrick’s Day.

The patio is perfect for chillin’ with a Cajun Cocktail during summer Concerts by the Lake. For clubs and organizations needing a regular meeting place, they offer a discounted Executive Lunch Menu, too.

“We love serving the Rockwall community,” said Nicolella. “Over the past year, we’ve really enjoyed transforming Dodie’s into a destination – a place where everyone can experience the flavor and flair of New Orleans, while feeling right at home.”

JOIN DODIE’S MUDBUG CLUB for exclusive offers, discounts and special events.


By Dawn Redig, Blue Ribbon News.

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