Saquatucket Snack Shack Draws Just One Proposal

By: William F. Galvin

Topics: Saquatucket Harbor

Only one response was received from the request for proposals for the snack shack at Saquatucket Harbor this week. WILLIAM F. GALVIN PHOTO

HARWICH — The town has received only one response to its request for proposals for the lease of the Saquatucket Harbor snack shack this summer. Town Administrator Christopher Clark said he would be putting together a rating team to evaluate the proposal.

“I thought we'd have a few more responses based upon the comments we had,” Clark said. “But it's nice to have an established business put one in. Remember, we had only one bidder for the Cranberry Valley Golf Course restaurant.”

The proposal was filed by Joseph Griffiths, who provided a local address, but his business, The Port Seafood Grille and Bar, is a waterfront operation in Newport, R.I. Griffiths is listed as owner/operator of the Newport restaurant since 1983. From 1988 to 1998 he also operated Sabrina Doyle's Irish Pub in Medway.

The RFP objective was to solicit proposals which outline a plan for the operation of the snack shack for the sale of food, drink, ice cream and seasonal sundry items (like suntan lotion) at a reasonable rate with a fair and equitable return to the town of Harwich.

Griffiths' proposal is to establish the Dockside Seafood Shack at the 500-square-foot harbor building which has an expansive outside deck overlooking the harbor. He is proposing to offer the town either 7 percent of the gross annual receipts or $24,000 per year for the first five years with the extension of a second five-year option provide either 8 percent or $32,000 annually.

When discussing the lease terms more than a month ago, Selectman Larry Ballantine asked why the town was proposing a five-year and not the traditional three-year lease. Harbormaster John Rendon pointed out the leaseholder would be responsible for the significant investment in equipment to furnish the kitchen. Griffith's proposal says that the small kitchen space is a drawback.

The RFP required the applicant to file a menu containing a lengthy list of food offerings, such as lobster rolls, clam chowder, various fried foods, hot dogs and burgers, bacon, sausage, and eggs from the grill, rolls and sandwiches, healthy low-calorie options, cold and hot drinks and ice cream. The applicant can apply to the board of selectmen for a seasonal beer and wine license.

Griffiths' proposal anticipates considerable demand between 11:30 a.m. and 8:30 p.m. that will require substantial morning food preparation. At least initially, according to the proposal, they may be unable to commit to an overlapping breakfast operation. It further states they may be able to provide breakfast “when we can better gauge demand.”

Clark said breakfast is mentioned in the RFP, but he added it is not included in the rating system set up in the RFP.

Clark previously wanted to have the lease for the snack shack awarded by March 21 to allow the leaseholder to begin ordering necessary equipment and to apply for a seasonal beer and wine license to be ready to begin operations on weekends by Memorial Day.

Harbormaster John Rendon, who was active in shaping the snack shack proposal, was on vacation this week and not available for comment.