Murmurs of “Jeanine,” “The View” and “RFP” echoed throughout Glen Cove City Hall chambers before Tuesday’s City Council meeting. Although some residents were there to discuss concerns about local laws and safety, others were there clutching bright pink signs reading “Save The View-Support Jeanine.”
The demonstration came in response to the news that local restaurant owner Jeanine DiMenna’s lease on The View Grill expires next February. A request for proposal for the city-owned property that houses the restaurant, at the Glen Cove Golf Course on Lattingtown Road, was issued on July 10. Proposals are due Aug 30.
The city’s RFP, which Mayor Pamela Panzenbeck said was similar to RFPs from the Town of Oyster Bay and Hempstead, is intended to attract experienced restaurateurs to operate an eatery at the golf course and park. It is seeking proposals that include renovations of the existing restaurant — with the potential addition of ground floor space and/or a second floor — that would facilitate catering for groups as large as 200, while maintaining restaurant service.
The RFP states that a teardown of the facility is not discouraged, and that the respondents will be judged on a weighted scale, scoring their experience and financial ability to achieve the city’s vision (a maximum 30 points), their 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).
“We have put our RFP together in what we feel that we can afford and accomplish,” DiMenna said in a phone call to the Herald. “Aside from making it a 200-seat catering hall, which is not something we’re interested in doing, we have ideas to really give it a nice facelift. We still want to keep it at moderate prices, and do more of our community service and community events at the restaurant. We’re interested in making it a little bit larger, to accommodate a little bit more people, but not taking away from the quaintness of it.”
At the public portion of the Aug. 22 council meeting, Roni Chastain, who expressed concern about the RFP’s criteria, asked City Attorney Tip Henderson about the points system, and whether it will “help Glen Cove business owners get more points.”
Henderson responded by saying that the points won’t be the only criteria used to rate the proposals, and that drafting the RFP was a “group effort” that included Panzenbeck as well as the city’s deputy mayor, purchasing agent, comptroller and building department.
A committee of five to seven local business owners and others who are familiar with the property will recommend proposals to the City Council, which will approve the final contract.
At the pre-council meeting on Aug. 15, Panzenbeck suggested that the council email her recommendations for the committee, and said that she already had a list of 20 names she was considering. At the Aug. 22 council meeting, Panzenbeck added that Councilwoman Barbara Peebles had submitted suggestions, and that the committee would be formed the week of Aug. 28.
In a Facebook post, Councilman Kevin Maccarone addressed rumors that the RFP was seeking a catering hall operator to run an establishment like the Mansion, the Swan Club or the Crescent Beach Club, on the North Shore, saying they were false.
“Whether you categorize the space as it currently stands as a restaurant, pub, tavern or catering hall, the fact of the matter is they provide catering services,” the post reads. “It’s space that caters to small and mid-size private parties and events (i.e. golf outing luncheons, engagement parties, baby showers, reunions, etc.). Hence the terminology of the RFP referencing “catering.”
Maccarone said he could guarantee that the core focus in awarding the next lease, whether to DiMenna or someone else, would be on locals who frequent the restaurant or the golf course, specifically golfers, pickleball players and parkgoers.
Glen Cove resident Gracie Donaldson Cipriano addressed the council, saying she understood that drafting an RFP is required by law, but after reading the 39-page document with her father, a small-business owner, she found that the requests for renovation were “astronomical,” and speculated that DiMenna would not have the financial backing to fulfill the RFP’s criteria.