NORTH FORK, NY – After months of public discussion and plans, the legendary Galley Ho will be reborn on the New Suffolk waterfront.
According to members of the New Suffolk Waterfront Fund, new tenants Ken and Maryann Birmingham, who have lived on the North Fork for years and have careers in the food service industry, will operate the newly rebuilt Galley Ho, now to be called Case’s Place.
“We are confident that the Birminghams will create the food establishment that we have long envisioned for the Galley Ho building. After an extensive search process, Ken and Maryann stood out for their willingness to work with the NSWF to incorporate the business into the community,” said Pat McIntyre, chair of the NSWF.
Ken Birmingham has a long culinary legacy on the North Fork: He’s a chef with over 30 years of experience and also a master butcher; the couple owned Riverhead Beef from 1995 to 2005. Maryann, meanwhile, is a local caterer who has planned the picnic lunch provided by Robins Island after the New Suffolk July 4 parade, according to a release from the NSWF. She was also a teacher with a specialty in food service courses at Cornell Cooperative Extension, NSWF board members said.
Carrying on the Galley Ho tradition, Case’s Place will serve local seafood, chowders, burgers, sandwiches and homemade condiments and fries at affordable prices.
The NSWF board of directors said that the new owners of Case’s Place will adhere to the longtime mission of NSWF, “to support commercial activities on the site that enhance community life. The proposal demonstrates a clear understanding of the blend of public space and private business that defines the uniqueness of the New Suffolk Waterfront,” they wrote.
And, they added, “The rental income from Case’s Place will generate funds to help offset the costs of maintaining the entire 2.5 acre property and will help to ensure that the waterfront remains an open space forever.”
The public should expect the new owners to participate in NSWF’s annual fundraisers, such as the annual Chowderfest, as well as programs and other activities that will take place at the waterfront, the board said.
Case’s Place is expected to open in May.
The road to the new incarnation of the Galley Ho has been long: After Sandy, the wooden building that once housed the Galley Ho restaurant in New Suffolk was moved to a new location, farther away from the bay.
For decades, the eatery stood only 18 feet from Peconic Bay on the small New Suffolk waterfront property at the end of New Suffolk Road.
Hurricane Sandy, however, wreaked havoc on the structure’s aging foundation and bulkhead — and members of the New Suffolk Waterfront Fund decided that it was time to relocate the old Galley Ho.
The building was stabilized; the original foundation was lost after Hurricane Sandy.
Built around the turn of the 20th century, the building touches a deep chord for many New Suffolk residents.
The decision to save the building made not only good financial sense, but was also an environmentally wise choice, former NSWF chair Barbara Schnitzler said.
After plans were made to relocate, renovate and add 47 square feet to the historic Galley Ho restaurant building, incuding a 66-seat restaurant and 16 slip marina on the 2.3 acres in the M-II zoning district, some members of the public cried out, stating they were fearful that the facility could host weddings and other large events. Neighbors raised concerns about parking, noise and environmental impacts. Some said they were afraid the size and scale of the new restaurant would far surpass the Galley Ho’s former reputation of a snack bar where boaters could grab a burger and enjoy the view.
However, the project was given the green light in 2014 and today, the NSWF board said they believe the Birminghams will carry on the longtime legacy and tradition of the Galley Ho, when it opens as Case’s Place.