BRICK – There could be two new waterfront restaurant/bars in the township in the near future since a new consumption liquor license was purchased by Barnegat Bayside Services, LLC who own the 16.9-acre site of the former Hinckley’s Yacht Services at 5 Mantoloking Road.
The license, which was sold in a sealed bid, must be used as part of a bar/restaurant operation that is principally used for serving food, and the establishment must contain at least 100 seats for restaurant patrons.
“This is exciting news,” said Mayor John G. Ducey at the December 20 council meeting. “We had a half-a-million dollar minimum bid and the winning bid came back at $611,000, so $111,000 more than the minimum bid, which is great, it’s an unexpected amount, I’m happy with it,” he said.
The mayor said he is frequently asked about what’s going on at the former Hinckley’s (which was previously Winter’s Boat Basin) property.
“Has there ever been any plans submitted? The answer to that is still no, with the exception that there’s been plans for a marina and for the gas station, for the actual boat slips and the gas pump, but there’s been nothing else as far as any other buildings,” he said.
Before Barnegat Bayside Services, LLC could go any further with plans for a restaurant, bar or banquet center they needed a liquor license, Ducey said.
“So they’re moving along, they’re steps closer to having an actual plan out there and then hopefully, go through the whole board approval process and then eventually, construction of something that will be a great thing for our town, at the entryway by the Mantoloking Bridge,” he said.
A second waterfront restaurant to be built by Chefs International is planned for across Mantoloking Road on the other side of the bridge at the site of the township-owned Traders Cove Park and Marina.
A public hearing for the proposed 400-seat restaurant was held in September, and many members of the standing-room only audience–including the leadership of environmental groups such as Save Barnegat Bay and the Sierra Club, and Freeholder John C. Bartlett, who chairs the County Parks & Recreation Department–objected to the proposed restaurant, citing concerns about traffic at the base of the bridge, parking, increased boat traffic, noise that would affect the local wildlife, safety of children using the playground next to the bar, increased pollution in an environmentally sensitive area, and decreased public access to the bay.
The public hearing was a requirement of NJ Department of Environmental Protection since millions of dollars of Green Acres grant money was used to develop the park.
Before the council meeting, Ducey said that when Barnegat Bayside Services, LLC was told there would be another restaurant nearby they were happy about it.
“They said it was great, that it would bring more people to the area,” Ducey said.
He said Chefs International is working out the details for the planned restaurant/bar at Traders Cove with Green Acres.
On December 31, Ducey said that Barnegat Bayside Services, LLC paid for the liquor license in full before the December 30 deadline.
The next council meeting (which is also the reorganization meeting) will be on January 10 at 7 p.m.