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Sep 1, 2009 7:34 PMPublication: The East Hampton Press

Bostwicks will close this fall

Sep 1, 2009 7:34 PM

After 15 years of serving up clams and lobster dinners to a packed dining room as outside, the sun set into Three Mile Harbor, the owners of Bostwicks will shutter their restaurant’s windows for good this fall.

Partners Kevin Boles and Chris Eggert, who also own the Indian Wells Tavern in Amagansett and Cherrystones in East Hampton, said they had decided for a variety of reasons that they would not renew their lease with the Mendelman family, the longtime owner of the Harbor Marina, where Bostwicks is housed.

Mr. Boles said last week that two of the factors that led to the decision were an increase in the rent combined with the Mendelmans’ plan to significantly renovate the building.

“They’re wonderful people and they’ve treated us like family,” Mr. Boles said of the Mendelmans. “There are no hard feelings. That’s their vision for the property. It’s their property, and they’re entitled to do what they wish.”

“We’ve really enjoyed having Chris and Kevin as tenants for the last 15 years,” said Peter Mendelman, who co-owns Harbor Marina with his sister Lynn, his brother Mark and another sister, Diane Hewitt. “We wish them the best at their new location and we understand it’s tough for anyone in the restaurant business, especially when you have several locations. We understand why they need to leave.”

Mr. Boles said that the strain of owning and operating three restaurants—Mr. Boles tends bar and works the front while Mr. Eggert is the chef—has been considerable.

“When you’re owner-operators, three’s a lot,” Mr. Boles said. “Anyone who knows my partner Chris and I know how hard we work. It takes a 
toll on us and takes a toll on family life.”

Mr. Boles and Mr. Eggert opened both Cherrystones and Indian Wells Tavern last year; they also owned Santa Fe Junction in East Hampton Village for 11 years. They said they thought long and hard before opening Cherrystones, as the building, the former Snowflake’s on Pantigo Road, had been empty for a long time. But their hunch that the building would be a great location for a lobster shack has paid off.

Indian Wells Tavern was more of a spur-of-the-moment decision—a case of opportunity knocking. The owner of Estia, the restaurant that had previously occupied the Main Street space, was Mr. Boles’s neighbor and one day knocked on his door with the news that he wanted to move out of East Hampton. Wouldn’t Mr. Boles take over his restaurant?

“We were not looking for it, but it fell in our laps and it suits us,” Mr. Boles said. “It’s casual, and although there are a lot of great restaurants in this town, we thought there was a need for something casual and fun.”

Mr. Mendelman, whose family has owned Harbor Marina since 1970, said that the Bostwicks building had been under site-plan review with the East Hampton Town Planning Board for 10 years until it finally received approval a year and a half ago. Last winter, the Mendelmans put in new storm drains, a new sanitary system and parking for the handicapped to comply with town code. This winter, they will add a wraparound deck on the restaurant’s south side, handicapped access to the second floor and to the bathrooms and an expanded and further enclosed kitchen area.

Mr. Mendelman said the family has had some discussions with potential future tenants but is still looking for someone interested in a long-term commitment. The family is offering a 10-year lease with a five-year option.

“We’re hoping to continue the tradition of having a great seafood restaurant,” Mr. Mendelman said. “Our preference would be something that’s still great for people from out of town but also for local residents.”

The rent, which is posted with a commercial real estate listing on loopnet.com, increased to $28.15 per square foot per year, because of the improvements that are being made, Mr. Mendelman said. The restaurant is 4,440 square feet, so the total annual rent would be nearly $125,000.

Mr. Boles said the Bostwicks name would move to Cherrystones and Indian Wells Tavern would continue as it has been. Bostwicks usually stayed open until the Columbus Day weekend in the past, although Mr. Boles said he wasn’t sure that would be the case this year.

“Someone with new ideas, more energy and more passion, might do something great,” Mr. Boles said of the Bostwicks location. “It’s a bittersweet thing. The water view is very special. It’s a beautiful harbor and a beautiful place.”

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We love Bostwick’s and we love Chris and Kevin. They have been great tenants, they’re unbelievably hard working, have great families, and have been important parts of our lives for the last 15 years. Chris is one of the best chefs in East Hampton, Kevin is one of the best bartenders, and they are both highly professional and are great people. We are of course very disappointed that they are leaving, and we wish them the best in their other locations.

After being in site plan reviews ...more
By Peter Mendelman (2), East Hampton on Aug 25, 09 8:10 PM
a sad and happy story. Good to see community spirit and good vibes. Lets hope someone steps up and continues the great tradition there
By littleplains (305), olde england on Aug 25, 09 10:52 PM
We had our first date there and have been coming back ever since. Unfortunately, if it goes at that location the way it has at others, the increased rent will mean up-scale prices in any new restaurant in that spot. Too bad we locals won't be able to enjoy the view with our meal anymore. We will miss the restaurant, the staff, the food, the not unreasonable prices and the overall wonderful ambiance of Bostwick's.
By Richard (3), east hampton on Aug 27, 09 3:59 PM
I have to agree with the last comment from Richard, I am sure it will be up-scale,and as we all know the rent will be increased by a large margin.
By nurse (53), sag harbor on Aug 31, 09 3:47 AM
It breaks my heart that Kevin and Chris are leaving Bostwicks. The Greed here in EH is disgusting. I hope Kevin and Chris open a new place and watch where the locals go, it won't be Michaels thats for sure or any other year round place! Us locals have vowed to follow the where ever they may go.. !!!
By smilingfran (1), east hampton on Sep 1, 09 5:28 PM
I don't know about the "greed" in East Hampton from the the Mendelmans. They are local people who own the property and have the right to do with it as they please. Boswicks was a great place. It will be missed.
By razza5350 (1906), East Hampton on Sep 8, 09 3:43 PM
It is about "greed" or the Mendelmans would not have raised the rent to drive this business to close, as we all know this is what really happened. Shame on the Mendelmens, nice people or not, it's all about money for them. I know them well.
By nurse (53), sag harbor on Sep 9, 09 9:49 PM