Brick officials on Tuesday night approved a plan for a prominent Shore area restaurant ownership group to build a luxurious, outdoor beach bar and restaurant at the Traders Cove Marina Site.
“The restaurant is awesome!” said Mayor John Ducey, announcing that the developer, Chefs International, will pay an annual $75,000 lease to the township and construct the site themselves. “No taxpayer dollars will be used to construct the restaurant.”
Chefs International owns numerous restaurants in the Shore area, including Jack Baker’s Wharfside and Lobster Shanty restaurants in the Point Pleasant Beach, Baker’s Water Street Grill in Toms River and the 9th Avenue Pier restaurant in Belmar.
The Brick site, which officials expect to be ready for the 2017 summer season, would include multiple bars, outdoor seating around fire pits, lounge chairs and hammocks, and a sand area where customers could sit with their toes in the sand. Another phase of the project – which still may be included in the initial construction – would be rooftop decks with sweeping views of Barnegat Bay.
The restaurant complex would be built on the northeast corner of the Traders Cove site, where there is currently a grassy area. The location would be adjacent to slips where boaters could stop in to dock-and-dine.
“I think you’re going to find that Chefs is a great partner for Bricktown,” said John Jackson, attorney for Chefs International, explaining that the company entered into a similar agreement with Belmar at its municipal marina.
“There are thousands of people coming through that marina every week,” said Bob Cooper, president of Chefs International.
The Brick restaurant, Cooper said, would begin as a seasonal facility that would be open during the spring, summer and early fall, but could transition into a year-round restaurant depending on demand. Cooper said the site would retain all of the public access now featured at the site, including the boardwalk which rings the bayfront.
Matt Yeager, one of the designers of the project, said the site will be surrounded with native plants and will feature a grand stairway up to the restaurant and bar area since the bulk of the building must be elevated, save the sandy beach area.
“You can dig your toes into the sand while eating seafood,” Yeager said.
The 24-year agreement with Chefs International will be subject to a 2 percent compounded escalator each year, which will quickly increase the annual lease into the six-figure arena.
“The restaurant lease will give us not only an awesome place for everyone to enjoy, but revenue to help pay down our debt service” on the park, Ducey said, which currently stands at about $15 million.
When considering the project, “It had to be something that all of Brick could be proud of, draw Brick residents to it, and to create envy across the state of New Jersey,” Ducey said.
Cooper said since approvals – including a sign-off from the state Department of Environmental Protection and Green Acres office – the construction schedule should work out to a spring 2017 opening.
“I’m more excited about this project than any we’ve ever done,” said Cooper.