Chowder Wars Episode IV Revenge Of The Shakes

Guarantee a very long term lease or they take the building, pilings and pagers and leave. My feelings are that 50 year leases are OK if the business remains the same. Any new owners or name changes should end the lease and require a cancellation fee.

Recently Shake requested a demolition permit to tear down the building when its lease expires in summer 2021.

“For five years we have been requesting for the city to extend Chris’s lease,” said Tony Lombardo, the attorney representing Shake.

“The Grotto has been a tenant since 1959 — it’s the best tenant the city has. They pay the city far more than market value while Shake’s business generates one-third of the income the city gets from the wharf.”

Lombardo noted that Shake currently pays the city $250,000 per year to essentially rent a 4,000-square-foot property. The Shake family has always owned the building and the pilings underneath it and has been fully responsible for its maintenance, Lombardo said.

Chowder Wars Episode IV Revenge Of The Shakes

 

Rappa’s Closed

City is against consolidation.

The Monterey City Council on Tuesday will consider taking final action to deny the transfer of a wharf lease for Rappa’s Seafood Restaurant from Anthony Rappa to would-be buyer James Gilbert, who has three other wharf restaurants.

Rappa, who has been running the restaurant since 1980, said Thursday that he hopes the council decides otherwise.

“What they are doing is counterproductive,” said Rappa, who at age 79 wants to retire. He said Gilbert has the money to make badly needed improvements to the property, along with plans to make it a “destination location.”

The restaurant sits in a good location near the end of the wharf, with a second-level observation deck overlooking the harbor.

Rappa’s Closed

Wharf Leases Deemed Legal

Wharf Signs

Willard tried to break the leases, which probably would have put people out of business, leading to Cannery Row style schlock taking over the wharf..

The council concluded the current leases “clearly state that the buildings are the property and responsibility of the lease holders.” The council said ownership “was properly negotiated as a part of the lease extensions in the early ’90s and was not a gift of public funds.”

Assistant City Manager Fred Cohn said the wharf businesses have ground leases from the city under which they essentially “rent the mud” beneath the wharf. The tenants are responsible for the pilings, decking and buildings, he said.

Wharf Leases Deemed Legal

Monterey Going After Wharf Leaseholders

wharf night

Somehow that phrase “proper lease and code enforcement” sounds like turning Fisherman’s Wharf into another fake charm like the ‘Row.

The leases, some of them for 50 years, run too long and don’t bring in rentals at the market rate, said Commissioner Willard “Bill” McCrone. The council should seek to change them, he said.

“The public,” he said, “is not getting a fair shake.”

Wharf businesses aren’t being charged enough to cover utilities and wharf repairs, he said. In many cases, properties leased from the city long ago have been subleased to others at much higher rates, with the original lessor pocketing the difference, he said.

The city owns the buildings on the wharf, McCrone said, and with proper lease and code enforcement, its revenues could double from $1million to $2 million a year.

Monterey Going After Wharf Leaseholders

Wharf Association Wants To Ban Chowder Samples

Soon the wharf will be a bad as the ‘Row. Keep the chowder samples. Keep the wharf funky.

Wharf Signs

“It cheapens the experience down here to be handed chowder at every place in the wharf they walk at,” says Board Member Kevin Phillips. “We think it’s better off without it.”

Phillips, who also owns Abalonetti’s, said it’s been a problem for years. Now, he thinks it’s out of hand.

“This whole barking and oral advertising that goes along with it,” says Phillips. “A lot of people are uncomfortable with it.”

But other businesses like the Old Fisherman’s Grotto don’t agree.

“It’s a great thing,” says Owner Chris Shake. “Why would you want to take away something that is very positive for the wharf?”

Wharf Association Wants To Ban Chowder Samples

Chowdergate Ends – Domenico’s To Pay For Pagers

Next time, just deliver them back to their owner. That makes a better statement.

As part of the settlement negotiated by retired Judge Harkjoon Paik, Mercurio agreed to pay Shake $6,870.

The agreement ends both civil and criminal actions against Mercurio, owner of Domenico’s on the Wharf. He was charged with petty theft for stealing the pagers, which were used to summon patrons of Shake’s Old Fisherman’s Grotto when their tables were ready.

Chowdergate Ends – Domenico’s To Pay For Pagers

Oh Those Wharf Chowderheads Part III

Remind me to never call Richard Rosen for services . .

Judge Tom Wills ruled Thursday that Mercurio’s expectations of privacy did not extend to the ocean floor and that the diver who found the pagers was working for Mercurio’s competitor, Chris Shake, not the police.

Mercurio is charged with one count of petty theft for allegedly tossing Shake’s seating pagers into the bay after luring in customers who were waiting on the wharf for tables in Shake’s restaurant, Old Fisherman’s Grotto.

Mercurio’s attorney, Richard Rosen, argued that Shake had the diver search beneath Domenico’s to pursue a criminal prosecution, violating Mercurio’s Fourth Amendment rights against unlawful search and seizure.

After two days of hearings on the matter, Wills said Thursday that only one of the dives — a sting operation that turned up no pager — involved the police. And he said Mercurio’s lease made it clear the city had every right to enter the water below the wharf for any reason.

Oh Those Wharf Chowderheads Part III

Oh Those Wharf Chowderheads Part II

Attorney Richard Rosen. ha ha.

Fisherman’s Wharf restaurateur Sam Mercurio appeared to be in deep water Thursday in the case of his competitor’s missing seating pagers.

Testimony will continue this afternoon, but Judge Tom Wills seemed to indicate Thursday he thought Mercurio’s defense attorney was all washed up in his contention that a diver’s recovery of the pagers from the water beneath Mercurio’s restaurant constituted an illegal warrantless search.<

Shake and Mercurio faced off in a Salinas courtroom Thursday afternoon as prosecutor Mary Tatum fought defense attorney Richard Rosen’s motion to suppress the pagers as evidence because they were illegally seized without a warrant from Mercurio’s leased property.

Oh Those Wharf Chowderheads Part II

Oh Those Wharf Chowderheads

It would be more fun to to have a person in a Domenico’s uniform deliver the pagers, but that would take a bit of bravery.

Last fall, according to court documents, Shake began noticing the disappearance of pagers he gives to customers to allow them to wander the wharf while waiting for a table.

Shake, who suspected a competitor was wooing his customers and dumping the devices, hired diver Don Maulhardt to search under the wharf. On two dives, Maulhardt recovered 10 pagers from the harbor’s bottom, allegedly beneath Domenico’s.

Maulhardt in the water beneath Domenico’s when they set up a sting with an undercover officer Nov. 19. That officer posed as a patron with one of the Grotto’s pagers on the wharf. Mercurio allegedly persuaded the officer to dine at his restaurant and took the pager, promising to return it to the Grotto.

Oh Those Wharf Chowderheads