For over 30 years, Chef Jeanine DiMenna has been feeding the Glen Cove community. Her restaurants have long been meeting places and gathering spots for special events, and people come because they know DiMenna will deliver.
She has owned The View Grill, at the Glen Cove Golf Course on Lattingtown Road, since 2013, after taking over a lapsed request for proposal during former Mayor Ralph Suozzi’s administration. She closed her competing restaurant, Page One, to focus on the city-owned property.
But DiMenna’s lease is set to expire next February, and an RFP for the property was issued on July 10. Proposals are due by Aug. 30.
The city is seeking plans from experienced restaurateurs for the operation of a restaurant at the golf course and park, involving renovations of the existing restaurant that would facilitate catering for groups as large as 200 people, while simultaneously maintaining restaurant service. The RFP states that proposals should include plans for the renovations, including the potential addition of ground floor space and/or a second floor. The request also notes that a teardown of the facility is not discouraged.
Fred DiMenna, Jeanine’s husband and the restaurant’s event coordinator, said they believe the city’s plan would not be beneficial for the property or the community, and that the city is looking to change the venue’s identity.
“I don’t think it’s a good business plan,” Fred DiMenna said. “It doesn’t seem to me, as a taxpayer, that’s a good way to use one of our resources. If you told me it was a profitable scenario, we still really couldn’t do it, because I don’t think we have the money to put in what they’re looking to do. You’d be talking about probably well over a million-dollar investment into the place to get it up to what they want. Even if you told me we could make a million dollars doing it, we don’t want to do that kind of business. It’s not what that place should be. It’s just not consistent with what it used to be.”
A committee of five anonymous local business owners and people familiar with the property will review the responses to the RFP, and will use a weighted scale to determine its recommendations to the city. It will be seeking respondents with the experience and financial ability to achieve the city’s vision (scored a maximum 30 points), a redesign and renovation of the existing facility (20 points), an investment-recovery plan that will financially benefit the city (35 points) and a plan to accommodate patrons during construction as well as a reopening date (15 points). The committee and the City Council may consider other relevant factors when evaluating the proposals, and the final contract will be approved by the City Council.
“The city really has to do right by everyone and really have the best possible option,” Mayor Pamela Panzenbeck said. “It’s not that we don’t like the opportunity that we have. She got her five-year extension,” Panzenbeck added of DiMenna, “and she’s more than welcome to apply for this again. We don’t want anybody to think we’re pushing Jeanine out. It’s the process that has to be followed, and we can’t just give it to her.”
Matt Nartowicz, president of the Chamber of Commerce, said The View has the chamber’s support, and that he had had more than a half-dozen conversations with Jeanine to stay updated.
“It’s important to note that the chamber doesn’t have input over the city’s decisions,” Nartowicz said. “Nonetheless, we’re hopeful that both parties can reach a resolution.”
DiMenna said she intended to submit a proposal for her current business, and regardless of the city’s decision, she will continue to give her patrons and the community the same level of service that she always has.
“I want people to know that I’m not giving up, and that I’m not ready to retire yet,” DiMenna said. “I wanted to finish up my time here, but that doesn’t look like it’s going to happen.”
As of press time, no proposals had been submitted. The committee is expected to review the submission in September, and a final decision by the City Council is expected this fall.