Blue Moon Fish Co.: The deal that got away from Delray Beach

Broward County-based Blue Moon Fish Co. thought it had hooked a deal to take over the shuttered Hudson at Waterway East restaurant in Delray Beach. Hudson closed its doors April 10.

The waterfront patio of Hudson restaurant in Delray Beach on June 2, 2015. (Richard Graulich / The Palm Beach Post)
The waterfront patio of Hudson restaurant in Delray Beach on June 2, 2015. (Richard Graulich / The Palm Beach Post)

» RELATED: Hudsons offered good food with great view

For Blue Moon, Hudson was ideal because it had the same setup: A waterfront restaurant on the Intracoastal, next to a bridge.

But at the last minute, Blue Moon owner Bryce Statham says the deal went south. And although he regrets that he and Hudson’s owners couldn’t come to terms, Statham sounded wistful about what could have been.

A raw bar. A broad range of fresh seafood.

And Blue Moon’s signature Lousiana-influenced cuisine that has made the eatery a destination restaurant in Lauderdale-by-the Sea for 20 years.

“I would have loved to have been there,” Statham said.

Blue Moon is at the northeast corner of the Intracoastal and Commercial Boulevard.

Waterfront restaurants are a rare commodity in Palm Beach County. Last month, River House in Palm Beach Gardens was sold to BrickTops,  a concept by the co-founder of Houston’s restaurant.

But even a great waterfront location doesn’t guarantee success.

And no matter how great business is  during the winter tourist season, “August comes no matter what,” Statham said.

Hudson, which opened in December 2014, was in business for less than two years.

A partnership that includes former professional hockey player Behn Wilson bought the Hudson property at 900 E. Atlantic Ave. for $2.6 million in July 2013, according to county property records.

The site previously was Old Calypso restaurant.

Together with owner/restaurateur Sam Bonasso, formerly of Outback restaurantsWilson and partners turned Hudson into a mix of concepts.

Hudson dubbed itself as a “speakeasy,” a gastropub-type lounge with high-top seating, a restaurant and outside bar. The limited menu featured a hodgepodge of seafood, meats and “comfort food,” such as mac ‘n cheese.

Statham saw the space and realized it would be the perfect spot to duplicate the success of his Broward location. He even was lining up a refrigerated food truck to service Delray.

But he was wary about the lease pricing, which he thought was too much for projected sales. Attempts to trim the price at the last minute resulted in the deal falling apart.

Statham, a self-described small operator, acknowledged he got nervous about committing to a higher number, especially because the deal happened very fast.

He also expressed a bit of regret with his hesitation: “Maybe it was a mistake….Who knows what will happen. It was a mixed opportunity on both ends.”

Now the property once again is being marketed for lease, or for sale.

The large restaurant property features 7,600 square feet of interior space, plus 1,200 of patio space. Dock parking for boats is available, too, said broker Tom Prakas of the Prakas & Co. in Boca Raton.

Prakas, who is marketing the site, said Monday he’s already received several promising inquiries, and he expects a deal could be done within the next couple of weeks. “We have multiple groups looking at it,” he said.

The property is listed for sale at $7.6 million. It also can be leased for $699,000, plus annual rent of $450,000 per year.




Author: Alexandra Clough

Alexandra Clough covers business for the Palm Beach Post. She has written real estate, law, economic development, banking, retail and high-tech stories for the Post for more than 20 years.

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