Sunbathers found shelter from the sun and sustenance at the reopened restaurant at Tappen Beach over the weekend, just days after the Oyster Bay Town Board awarded an emergency contract to Carlyle Caterers Management Corp. of East Meadow to operate the seaside concession.
Plates and red plastic baskets with coconut shrimp, crabcakes and Buffalo wings landed on tables.
“We were handed the keys Wednesday afternoon with the expectation of opening Friday,” manager Brandon Beltre said Sunday. “It was a lot of work, but we made the miracle happen.”
The town selected Carlyle, which runs several catering halls and a restaurant on Long Island, including Carlyle on the Green in Bethpage, to operate the town-owned facility until mid-October. Carlyle was among four companies that responded to a May 13 request for proposals and was chosen in part because of its assurances the concession would be open for Memorial Day weekend.
“They have assured us that they have resources, financial and staffing, and experience to get in there and open with a temporary liquor license and everything else required to open up this weekend,” Oyster Bay’s outside counsel, Jonathan Sinnreich, told the town board last week.
Earlier this month the town terminated its agreement with the company that had been operating the Tappen Beach facility, Bethpage-based HVS Tappan Beach Inc., a firm established by indicted restaurateur Harendra Singh. The building still bears old signage with its former name, Singleton’s Seafood Shack. Also lingering is a $1.8 million lawsuit against the town by Singh creditor Manhattan-based Atalaya Asset Income Fund II LP, alleging that Oyster Bay guaranteed a defaulted loan it made to HVS Tappan.
While some weekend visitors asked about the previous operator at the Glenwood Landing beach, “We’re just looking forward,” Beltre said. A new name, expanded menu and redecorating are planned, he added.
The restaurant, which features breezy open-air indoor seating and outside deck tables with umbrellas, was in better condition than they expected, Beltre said, but it still took 10 people six hours to get the kitchen in shape to pass inspection from Nassau County.
A few things are still missing, weekend customers learned: a liquor license and the ability to use credit or debit cards.
Beltre said the restaurant expects to get its liquor license in two to three weeks. Credit card service was the next thing on Beltre’s list.
The lack of bar service didn’t bother Mike Pfeiffer, 44, a pediatric occupational therapist from Glen Head, as he and his sons, Alex, 6, and Daniel, 8, sipped Cokes while awaiting the arrival of chicken fingers, French fries, Buffalo wings and a cheeseburger.
“You get used to a place being here,” Pfeiffer said, adding he was happy “as long as it’s clean and the food is good.”
John Ingrassia, 65, a real estate manager from Glen Head, said he and his wife, Tatiana, were “just happy that it opened at all.”
“There are very few venues that are on the water and you want to take advantage of it,” Ingrassia said looking out at the sailboats and motorboat wakes in the harbor. “It’s a beautiful spot.”