Owner: Cove restaurant renovating, but staying put

By Sherry conohan
Staff Writer

By Sherry conohan
Staff Writer

SEA BRIGHT — All rumors to the contrary, condominiums won’t be coming to The Cove.

Haik Mendes, who with his wife Linda owns the Ocean Avenue property, said the riverfront restaurant truly is closed for renovations as announced. He said they closed the restaurant when the most recent operator’s lease expired in August and are now interviewing prospective new tenants.

"We are doing a face-lifting and chatting with people and trying to decide if we will lease it to the right people or do it ourselves," he said.

The Mendeses have been leasing out the restaurant for nearly a decade but operate the marina on the property, located on the Shrewsbury River, themselves.

Mendes said he wants to get rid of the bands and get "real" food in the restaurant so as to make it a "quality" operation. He said he and his wife have talked to a number of people who are interested in taking it over and "the thinking is it will take two months to get it ready" after a new lease is signed.

"I’d rather take my time and make the proper move rather than just get someone in here and a year from now find I made a mistake," he added.

Mendes smiled when he said he had heard the rumors that he was selling the property for condos. He said he heard that he sold it for $1.5 million and that he had sold it for $10 million — and for several other figures in between.

He admitted to liking the thought of $10 million being offered for the site.

However, he said, "Right now, I don’t think anybody would come up with the right money. It would take an awful lot of money to make me move."

Mendes has owned The Cove property for 35 years. He purchased it on Sept. 11, 1968. It originally only had a marina on it. Mendes built the bar and restaurant, which he operated himself until 1987, when he first leased it out. In 1988, a fire closed it down, but Mendes rebuilt and in 1993 the restaurant reopened.

The last leasee was Dave Whitman, he said.