Tim Dunn sat outside the Stop & Shop on Forest Avenue for seven hours on Sept. 16, surrounded by large neon-pink signs reading “Save the View.” During his vigil, Dunn collected 176 signatures. His hope is that they will prove to city officials that one of the community’s favorite restaurants, The View Grill, deserves the city’s support for its proposal.
Glen Cove’s request for proposal called for extensive capital improvements to the city-owned property on Lattingtown Road, currently leased by restaurant owner Jeanine DiMenna. The RFP sets forth the city’s vision for improvements, which could include adding a second story, or a total demolition of the structure to facilitate a catering hall with a capacity of 200, an increase from the 133 patrons the existing structure allows, excluding 111 more in the outdoor dining areas and a tiki bar. The contract the city ultimately awards could also include a licensing agreement for up to 30 years.
DiMenna has said that the city’s vision for the building, as it stands, is beyond her reach.
“It would be a shame if Glen Cove brought in out-of-towners to take over,” Dunn said. “All her staff would lose their jobs, and we’d lose the personal touch that you receive when visiting The View.”
Dunn isn’t the only one advocating for The View Grill. An online petition, with 1,764 signatures, surfaced since the community first learned about the RFP last month, and a Facebook group called “Save the View-Glen Cove” had 700 members as of press time.
Kent Monkan, owner of KVM Food Corp., is the only bidder competing against DiMenna for the city-owned property at 111 Lattingtown Road. Monkan owns two restaurants on the North Shore — the Brass Rail, in Locust Valley, and the Heirloom Tavern, in Glen Head. Monkan had not returned several calls seeking comment as the Herald went to press.
Glen Cove Mayor Pamela Panzenbeck said that the city’s request for proposal submissions would be reviewed by members of a committee that includes Louis Fugazy Jr., Scott Grupp, Pat Hall, Cherise Kramer, Vincent Hartley, Cynthia Ayres and Lisa Travatello. The group is tasked with reviewing submissions through the end of the month, and will submit their suggestions to the City Council for review. According to the RFP guidelines, the contract will be awarded late this month or in early October. Meetings between the proposers and committee will be facilitated by Yelena Quiles.
Fred DiMenna, Jeanine’s husband and the restaurant’s event coordinator, said The View hosted 262 private events in 2022, with an average of 33 people per event. Between January and April last year, the restaurant hosted 50 private events, which accounted for about 20 percent of its annual revenue. Because The View’s lease is set to expire next February, DiMenna has told prospective customers that he is uncertain about the restaurant’s future and cannot commit to any private events next year.
DiMenna sad he hoped the city would announce its decision within the RFP’s anticipated fall timeline, since there are only two submitted proposals. He added that for every uncertain day that passes, the restaurant is losing future revenue.
“We’ve got us losing from our pockets, and us losing with respect to renovating the place,” DiMenna said. “We have the city losing rent money, and we have the people of the city losing the ability to have events with us at the beginning of next year, even if we do get the lease.”
Charlie La Greca, a new Glen Cove resident, signed Dunn’s petition. La Greca hasn’t dined at The View, but is familiar with the Brass Rail. He signed the petition because he remembered how sparse franchises were in Italy when he lived there, and appreciated the country’s “mom-and-pop” business model.
“Knowing that The View comes from someone who resides here makes me want to protect that, because it’s part of the culture of this town,” La Greca said. “Just like the Brass Rail is an important place in Locust Valley, The View holds the same position, so why shouldn’t they have that opportunity to be allowed the chance to stay there first?”
Liz Greenberg, a local resident who is familiar with both restaurants, said she was frustrated when she heard that Monkan was vying for the contract. She believes that anyone who would take the DiMennas’ lease would cultivate an impersonal atmosphere. The community is devoted to the DiMennas, Greenberg said, and she appreciates all that they have done, and wants to support people who foster a warm, personal atmosphere.