Bradford Beach Restaurant Advancing
Concessionaire plans to add full-service restaurant to historic beach house.
A modular bar would be constructed on the open-air second level of the structure. Seating would be added to both levels, but the company dropped plans to add shipping containers to the facility after the Historic Preservation Commission rejected the proposal in August.
Individuals would not be able to sit in any of the new chairs without being a dining customer. Existing seating, including the more heavily used benches in the southeast corner, would remain open to the public. The restaurant will provide table service.
Hynes said the upper floor is rarely used, an opinion backed by Supervisor Liz Sumner who said she visited the beach multiple times in 2020.
Hynes said he didn’t view the proposal as taking anything away from anyone, but instead adding an amenity.
The bridge that crosses N. Lincoln Memorial Dr. will continue to be open to the public. “We encourage for it to be open,” said Hynes. “It actually hurt us last year when it wasn’t open.” The bridge was closed for repairs in 2020.
Fourteen individuals submitted letters in objection, raising concerns about what was characterized as the privatization of the beach.
“Now that I’ve seen the plans for what will be done here I go ‘this looks reasonable,'” said Supervisor Jason Haas. He said similar concerns were raised with beer gardens in parks.
Hynes and partner Luke Cholodecki, operating as CCH Management, got their start as concessionaires at Chicago’s Montrose Beach.
Supervisor Steven Shea said it was important to continue to hold vendors’ “feet to the fire” to make sure no county assets are surrendered.
But the item before the Parks, Environment and Energy Committee was informational only. No vote was to be taken.
“We have no role at this time,” said committee chair Supervisor Sheldon Wasserman, the committee chair. The city must approve any building permits, after Dock Bradford submits structural calculations for the shipping container bar. Through the approved concessionaire contract, the parks department has oversight.
Lucas said Dock Bradford was a good partner with the beach’s volleyball operator and The Ability Center, which led the installation of accessibility improvements in 2020.
Additionally, Dock Bradford must contribute $70,000 in the first two years of the lease to a park improvement fund, plus 1% of gross sales annually starting in 2021.
“I think there is a tremendous amount of misinformation out there,” said Wasserman. He said the hearing helped illuminate what was actually happening. “Having this meeting today deals with the reality.”
A second public meeting regarding the proposal is scheduled for Wednesday at 5:30 p.m. by the Lakefront Development Advisory Commission.
The beach house, 2400 N. Lincoln Memorial Dr., was constructed in 1950 according to city records.