Since the death of the widely respected partner in ownership, Jerry Berry, along with previous partner,Jim Campbell,still living, the future of the Captain's Wheel Restaurant has been in question. Widowed Carletta Berry wanted to take over and silent partner, Michael McFarland, who purchased Campbell's interest,based on advice of his mentor, Jerry, chose to rise from silent partner to CEO. Those issues are to be decided in court sometime in January.
What can't be adjudicated in court, is the dismantling of the local infrastructure. As developers flocked to Bayview a few years ago, it became obvious that at least some of the investors wanted to transport this lazy backwater into a mecca for wealthy summer water sports enthusiasts. Unfortunately this included the task of getting rid of long time residents, some, third and even fourth generation. Situated 8 miles from the main highway, (hwy95) Bayview sits at the foot of Farragut State Park.
First, the town trailer park, often referred to as an eyesore, was purchased and razed. This purchase was engineered by Bob Holland , currently owner of the Vista Bay Marina, The previously know as Bayview Marina, and now called Harborview, and then Boileau's Marina, which included the patio and the Buttonhook.
The trailer park property was subsequently sold to James Darling, of WSU and NFL fame as a linebacker. Darling came into the community knowing that his predecessor, Holland, had stepped on many toes and wanted to avoid that. He worked assiduously to heal community breaches ,and is continuously trying to balance his interests with the community.Currently, he is building the first of three phases, involving about 32 condo units.
The former RV park at Boileaus' was turned into a parking lot to satisfy parking requirements for other Holland enterprises. The Bayview Motel was sold to a former NBA basketball player, about the same time. Not wanting to be subject to motel taxes and regulations, he turned that project into monthly rentals.That project has crashed since with the current economy, only about four units are rented. We now have less than half of the temporary RV and tent capacity for tourist than a few years ago.
This brings us to there present condition. The local economy has tubed. Many permanent residents have moved away, leaving a shell for the winter months. New condo projects probably will not help, as most will be purchased as second or vacation homes. The Buttonhook Restaurant has closed, with an opening date up in the air. Terry's Cafe, owned by Chan of Scenic Bay Marina, may reopen soon for breakfast and lunches. The patio, now leased from Chan by Scott & Jeanne Bjerge, has stayed open much later in the year, due to other closures, and will stay open throughout the Winter season. The hours of operation at the Patio will be 11:00 am to 7:00 pm.Cocktails are available at the Patio.There is still a possibility of the former Terry's Cafe opening soon, as lights are on again and remodeling is in progress.
Today, we morn one more stake in the heart of Bayview. Losing hundreds of dollars per month trying to stay open during the slow months, the Captain's Wheel is throwing in the towel for, at least the next two months. The last days of this drama will play out after January 3, when the lights will dim over the most stable full service restaurant & bar that has existed since 1996. The possibly last hurrah of the 'Wheel will be New Years Eve, with ever popular, "The Keep" playing for your listening pleasure.
Left open, will be the JD's, a bar and the patio, along with Ralph's internet cafe, which along with the patio brings Lite meals to the table, but puts Bayview into a category of not having a sit down restaurant in operation during this winter season.
Asked why this was necessary, Captain's wheel management just sighed and said, " There are either not enough people living here during the winter season, or due to the economy, choose not to eat out. Either way, we can't keep on losing money where the bottomless pit equals the total loss of equity and bankruptcy.
Folks, It's going to be a long winter. The hopes and prayers of local residents continue to come up negative, as the cards are turning up as a pair of deuces.
Photo by Taryn Hecker Thonpson.
"I'm just a humble Muckraker who formerly wrote a neighborhood column for the Spokesman-Review, and now just this blog. write All rights reserved. No reproduction or use of this material without written consent is permitted by copyright laws. Contact me at: firstname.lastname@example.org