BELMAR, NJ — Overlooking the Shark River in grandiose style, the Marina Grille has officially opened — the anchor tenant in the $6 million Belmar Marina Building.
During a ribbon-cutting on May 9, local officials and representatives of Chefs International, including President and CEO Bob Cooper and members of his new 200-member waitstaff, gathered on the steps of the 12,000-square-foot eatery to mark the occasion.
It becomes the third dining establishment in Belmar operated by Point Pleasant Beach-based Chefs International — the other two being 9th Avenue Pier, which is a stone’s throw away from the new eatery, and Anchor Tavern in the downtown district.
There’s a view of the Shark River from nearly every seat and bar stool at Marina Grille, whether it’s from the spacious indoor dining room or massive outdoor dining deck.
Unlike sister eatery 9th Avenue Pier, Marina Grille will be open year-round. Rather than holding liquor licenses, both establishments will operate with a concessionaire’s permit to sell alcohol, which is not transferrable or cannot be sold.
The Marina Building, located on Route 35 at Tenth Avenue, also will house the marina office, and the bait and tackle shop, which is expected to relocate from its onsite trailer in the next several weeks.
For Belmar, this public/private partnership means it now owns the redeveloped property and will collect rent from Chefs International — some $250,000 annually for both Marina Grille, and 9th Avenue Pier and Mini-Golf.
Under the 24-year lease, which has several renewal options, the borough can bring in $7.6 million in rent during that period, or some $24 million if the lease is extended to 50 years. Rents will compound at a rate of 2 percent a year for the first 10 years and 3 percent every year thereafter.
Marina Grille becomes the 11th restaurant operated by Chefs International Inc., which has 10 establishments in Monmouth and Ocean counties—including Jack Baker’s Lobster Shanty, Wharfside Restaurant and Wharfside Patio Bar in nearby Point Pleasant Beach — and another in Pennsylvania.