Last Updated: 7 p.m.
A proposal by Jamie Bourdeau and Dudley Shaw, owners of Beach Front Grille in Flagler Beach, is the Palm Coast city administration’s top choice to replace the Green Lion Cafe at Palm Harbor Golf Club. The city today announced its intent to award the new lease for the concession at the club to Loopers, the name Bourdeau and Shaw are giving to the new enterprise.
The restaurant would employ 32 people in addition to the owners, presumably in a mixture of full and part-time slots. Shaw also owns two Mediquick facilities.
“I’m going in with an open mind,” Bourdeau said this evening, his eyes open too, to the way matters unfolded at Palm Harbor in the past year. “We’ll be well counseled, we have a great law firm that will take care of all of our legalese and our lease, we’ll be protected. After saying all that, I’m sure we’ll have a good relationship with the city, the politicians and the administration.”
Bourdeau’s and Shaw’s proposal was one of two. The other was that of Thai and I of Bunnell, which would have served Thai food at the restaurant. Thai and I has three days to contest the award. Loopers earned more than double the points to win the lease once the city completed the bidding process. (See Loopers’ full proposal here, and Thai and I’s proposal here.)
The contracted opening day is March 1 or before, if Loopers is able to open ahead of time. The business is projecting to spend upwards of $100,000 in preparation for the new facility, including the installation of a six-burner stove.
For the city, landing a mirrored Beach Front grill will have almost certainly caused administrators and council members to sigh with relief after what had been such an anemic round of bidding that, with three hours left in the bidding window in September, no one had responded to the request. The city extended the window until early October, knowing that it had two interested bidders. The city’s challenge was to find a replacement for what had been a popular destination and a stable business run by professional restaurateurs with another one promising as solid a plan.
Beach Front Grille’s name is established, the way the Green Lion’s lineage in the business was in 2017, when it took over what had been Canfield’s Restaurant.
Canfield’s had had a storied run from 2009 to 2016, when its chef was Karen Barchowski: she won the then-Chamber of Commerce’s best restaurant award three years running. But she left in 2016 (and just sold Sally’s Ice Cream in Flagler Beach), and the restaurant took a nosedive. It was revived when the Green Lion took over in 2017.
The Green Lion has until January 15 to vacate the premises, and may run its business there until then. The city is paying the Green Lion a year’s back rent since the city broke the lease earlier this summer at the end of more than a year of re-negotiations over the Green Lion lease. The negotiations soured, and even though the Green Lion wanted to stay there, it found the terms of the lease, as they progressively changed, untenable.
“The Marlows are good friends of Beach Front Grille, and I certainly don’t want to walk on a friendship we started with them as well,” Bourdeau said, “but we can see that the relationship was souring, that’s when we decided, hey that’s probably not going to work out for them.”
The terms that Loopers will take on are the very same final terms offered the Green Lion: Rent would be a modest $1,500 a month to start, with an annual increase of 3 percent. The restaurant will not be required to show the city its books, nor offer any profit sharing past a certain level of gross sales. It will be responsible for all utilities, including water and electricity. Utilities, particularly water, had been among the sticking points in negotiations with the Green Lion, as were last-minute demands by council members, even after terms had been worked out administratively.
The Green Lion is also owned by a family of long-time restaurateurs, the Marlows, who own the Golden Lion in Flagler Beach and are preparing to open a bistro next door to it. The Marlows own their properties in Flagler Beach. Bourdeau and Shaw are renting the building for Beach Front Grille–a property whose value doubled in the past year, according to the property appraiser.
But Bourdeau said there are no intentions to alter operations at Beach Front Grille. “As far as the restaurant is concerned we have no plans on changing anything at the Beach Front Grille, we have a great clientele, we have tremendous regulars,” he said. The challenge will be to develop a daily breakfast menu at Palm Harbor, since Beach Front offers breakfast only on Sundays.
A “looper” is another word for caddie. Jamie Bourdeau listed four other “significant team members” in his proposal: Cierra Katz, Cory Ryan Dougherty, Jacelyn Lepaoja and Alexander Rami. All four are listed as managers.
“Loopers was established in 2022 and is intended to be a full-service restaurant that serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner,” the proposal states. The restaurant’s fare–a six-page menu was included–will have grab-and-go breakfast and lunch options, fresh fish, prime rib and barbecue options headlining its dinner specials, which will change weekly, and a full bar. The proposal already includes a full list of specialty cocktails tailed to the golf course (“The Birdie,” “Loopers Mojoto,” and so on.)
“In order to actively shape our brand and who we are, we will pay close attention to the factors that will immediately affect the restaurant such as the naming, logo, fonts, décor, menu items, service speed and quality, and hours of operation,” the proposal states. Loopers will also have its own merchandise–t-shirts for $20, ball caps for $15, koozies and tumblers. Bourdeau submitted the licenses held through Beach Front Grille to check those boxes–liquor, business, even a dog-friendly dining permit secured through Flagler Beach.
Beach Front Grille, south of the Flagler Beach pier, seats 150. Loopers will seat 88, half of them on a covered deck facing the golf course.
Loopers will offer catering and a beverage cart attendant who will serve drinks to players on the 18-hole golf course. “Major sporting events such as The Masters, The Kentucky Derby, The Super Bowl, The World Series, The US Open, etc..will be recognized with food and drink specials,” the proposal states.
According to the proposal, Bourdeau ran a restaurant (Old Fibbers Restaurant and Tavern) in Connecticut between 1991 and 1996, and opened Beach Front grille in 2014.
A panel of city administrators evaluated and scored the two bids. Clearly, the experience and track record behind Bourdeau and Shaw and their team favored them.
Bounseng Lodbansa, owner of Thai and I, acknowledged in his introductory letter that he quit his job only last March to start the restaurant on Bunnell’s State Street. It’s his first restaurant, though he’d worked at a Japanese restaurant as an assistant manager previously. “I have been interested in opening my own restaurant and have referred to many resources to gain more knowledge on how to start-up a restaurant business,” he wrote.
Thai and I has been acclaimed, but the city likely had reservations about Lodbansa’s ability to replicate the success with the limited resources proposed: just two chefs, two cooks and four servers listed in the proposal. That proposal submitted a copy of the menu from Thai and I, which contrasted with the more original menu submitted by Loopers.
During the expected down time between the closing of the Green Lion and the opening of Loopers, the city will have a food truck at Palm Harbor Golf.
JB Malone says
Well this is a dark horse that just fell from the sky, no previous mention of interest or down loading bid package. On top of that the cities decision came quick, wonder if there is a back story that has not been disclosed.
Great news. We have been dining at Beach Front Grill for many years. The food is great, and the staff is very helpful and accommodating. Good luck to Jamie and company.
Excellent great guy and great restaurant. Can’t wait I will definitely go there because I couldn’t afford the green lion. Hopefully we can get some decent tap beer . Bye Chrissy!
A Flagler Beach Surfer Bar supplanting the Green Lion; there goes the culture of the Golf Culture. Most Restaurants affiliated with Golf Courses require a certain dress code: Shirts with Collars and Business Casual Pants either Long or Short. Biker Shorts, Cargo Pants, and Denim not allowed. They are the bill of fare together with Tank Tops for Surfer Bars. The patrons until the Sun goes down and the patrons when the Stars come out will be diametrically opposite. Let’s see how the neighbors accept them.
And what do you thing the Golden Lion is which? I thought the Green Lion was great there but I expect the same from Jamie and company. Beach Front has great food, great portion and the staff is very friendly, oh yea lets not forget about the Sunday brunch.
We frequent the Green Lion and have never noticed a “dress code”. My husband is always in cargo shorts, a t-shirt or a columbia shirt, and most of the time crocs(leather). We have never been turned away.
Tired of it says
Don’t care who gets it. Never going there again.
Dennis C Rathsam says
Beach Front Grille has one of the best cheese burgers I have ever eaten! GOOD LUCK BOYS
Tina Compton says
Jamie is a great guy but the beachfront grilles food is seriously basic/mediocre. Sometimes it’s downright terrible. We literally live around the corner but will never eat there again.
I agree Tina, the food is not very good at all. I tried different items at times, never liked any of them. I will never go back!
Len D says
Sad to see the Green Lion go. Look forward to trying it. Congrats and Good luck to Jammie and Co.
I’ve been a loyal Green Lion customer since they opened that fine restaurant years ago. But I’ll tell you this… when they close their doors for the last time and leave the premises, I’m completely DONE eating there at the city owned golf course after having such a sour taste in my mouth from the city’s behavior over the course of extended and broken-down negotiations with the Marlow family. I’m anxiously awaiting the opening of the new restaurant the Marlows are building next to the Golden Lion in Flagler Beach, because they really do know the restaurant business and have such a fine reputation that their new endeavor is bound to be their next success, in stark contrast to the city of Palm Coast’s sorry history and demeaning, anti-business attitude toward the Green Lion’s owners and by extension, also the employees who were working there. It is a chapter that, for me, will be coming to an end and that location will not be on my go-to list ever again. Sayonara!
The ORIGINAL land of no turn signals says
Stopped going to the Beach Front Grille years ago.Over priced small pitchers of beer and $food was ok at times service was terrible back then.$60 with tip for 2 people for lunch is way over priced for the quality.Better hold on to something when you get the bill at the new restaurant.
And the green lion was cheap? The PBR on tap disguised as green lion Ale at $13 a pitcher? Com on man!
Captain Obvious says
Don’t be fooled.
The Fix Was In all along for this.
PC gov’t is on the take.