STEVENSVILLE — The Hemingway’s restaurant, a visual trademark of the journey into the Eastern Shore, will transition into Libbey’s Coastal Kitchen and Cocktails next spring, Bay Bridge Marina co-owner Rob Petrie announced Wednesday, Oct. 27.
“I have been involved in real estate development for [over 50 years] and this location is arguably the best real estate on the Chesapeake Bay,” Petrie told The Bay Times. “I had a vision to enhance the marina and moreover, renovate and rebrand the restaurant so it becomes an ultimate dining experience for the local residents and visits alike; a place they will want to gather, not only for the spectacular views, but for the atmosphere.”
The restaurant located at the Bay Bridge Marina on Pier One Road is scheduled to close on Dec. 29.
“Hemingway’s is a premier location long in need of life support, [and] arguably the best restaurant location within miles of here,” said the marina’s other co-owner Tim McGrath. “We intend to give it new life as Libbey’s, a first-class place for the residents of Kent Island to gather and dine.”
The Chesapeake Bay Beach Club will work as Libbey’s onsite management company, overseeing restaurant operations, human resources, and marketing, according to a press release. Carrie Simmons, the club’s director of marketing, said Libbey’s will “have a local approach focusing on high quality service, food, and beverage,” a notion seconded by the beach club’s president, Dereck Janes.
“Hemingway’s will finally have the local attention it truly deserves in becoming an extraordinary restaurant offering the very best in food, beverage, and service,” Janes said.
Some of those food items will focus on fresh, seasonal ingredients “rich in the Eastern Shore tradition,” Simmons said, adding that the Hemingway’s menu launched in the fall was a reflection of the upcoming menu style for Libbey’s.
“Hemingway’s Restaurant has been an Eastern Shore tradition for decades,” Simmons said. “While the Hemingway’s name is well known throughout the mid-Atlantic for those travel to and from the beach, it is time for a new beginning.”
The restaurant, which first opened as the Pier No. 1 Marina and Restaurant in 1971, will also be undergoing structural changes to its main floor. Several design elements like flooring, paint, light fixtures, tables, chairs and décor, will be updated; restrooms will be added to the second floor (whereas the current setup requires customers to go outside downstairs), as well as a private dining room; and the bar will be relocated to the center of the restaurant to create a “floor to ceiling focal point,” Simmons said.
Outside, the upstairs deck will be garnished with new furniture, and an awning-style covering will be installed, and boat cushions will be added to all the exterior chairs.
“Libbey’s Coastal Kitchen will be a concept unlike any other restaurant on the Chesapeake Bay,” Janes said. “Sophisticated yet casual, upscale yet approachable, and [featuring] breathtaking sunset views.”
For the staff, Simmons said the kitchen and all back of house spaces will be remodeled to create “a more functional kitchen and better work environment.”
The Oct. 27 statement, which coincided with a press event at Hemingway’s related to the Bay Bridge Run, was the first time the Libbey’s concept was unveiled. When Petrie Ventures and McGrath Development acquired the Bay Bridge Marina in July, they had announced the retirement of the long-standing Hemingway’s concept, without specifying its replacement.
Banked off the coast of the Bay on a marina featuring 230 slips, the two developers also announced renovations to the marina to make the restaurant more available to boaters, including Brazilian IPE floating docks and full-length finger piers.
“We want to be accessible to boaters who dock with us, locals who are looking for an amazing meal, and travelers who simply want to take in the most dynamic sunset,” Simmons said.
The two developers also said that they will be re-opening the Tiki Bar in the Spring.
“It was apparent that this was a very underutilized property with tremendous potential,” Petrie said in July, calling the marina “a diamond in the rough.”
Simmons said the closing and re-opening processes will be shared on the new restaurant’s social media pages @libbeyscoastalkitchen. Though they have not yet done so, as of Nov. 1, they will also be launching a website: www.libbeyscoastalkitchen.com