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South Beach

With purchase of city lot, Mistler plans outdoor dining for South Beach

By Howard B. Owens

Some time this summer, downtown will have another outdoor dining venue.

On Monday, the Batavia City Council approved the sale of a small downtown parcel to South Beach Restaurant owner Ken Mistler.

The 1,900-square-foot lot is adjacent the restaurant. Mistler intends to convert a portion of it to a seating area and an outdoor grill.

The lot, currently known as Kiwanis Memorial Park, will be divided so that a portion will remain green space with a six-foot-wide walkway dedicated to the Kiwanis Club. 

The purchase price is $1,000, which Mistler said is exactly the appraised value for the lot. He said in order to make the purchase, the city required him to pay for a professional appraisal, which cost $700.

"I think it's going to enhance downtown, and bring more people to downtown," said Fifth Ward Councilwoman Kathy Briggs. "I'm excited about it."

Mistler said that's exactly his goal. He hopes the new place will help promote downtown, generate more revenue for his employees and allow him to add three more staff members.

"This is for downtown," Mistler said. "Batavia is a small community and I like what goes on here."

When completed, the grill will serve customers both inside and outside the dining area. It will also be a place where people can drive to, park at the curb, and get a quick hamburger or hot dog. Walk-up customers will also be welcome.

Still undecided is what alcohol service will be available. If Mistler wants a cash bar outside, he needs to get another liquor license. Or he could knock a hole in the wall behind his current bar and service customers through a window. Or customers could buy liquor inside and bring it out to the patio.

As for the Kiwanis, Mistler said he is offering them the walkway as a place to sell bricks as a fund raiser every five years. He said he will supply the labor to lay the bricks and if the Kiwanis don't sell them, he will, and donate the money to the Kiwanis.

Sign carrying in front of South Beach not in Suzanne Corona's future

By Howard B. Owens

South Beach owner Ken Mistler announced today that he won't require Suzanne Corona to carry a sign in front of the restaurant saying "I stole from South Beach."

"Her sincere apology was restitution enough for me," Mistler said.

Corona, already facing a public lewdness conviction for her part in a sex act at Farrall Park in June, could have been charged with a felony for trashing the South Beach lunch buffet one afternoon last month. To avoid the charge, she signed a contract with Mistler last week admitting her deed and agreeing to carry the sign for four hours.

Mistler said Corona's husband reached out to him through a mutual friend to ask if during the four-hour walk he could be their to protect his wife from public abuse.

"It was at that point that I realized that this affects more than Suzanne," Mistler said. "It affects her whole family. I can't punish her family for something she did."

Reached this afternoon, Corona said she was grateful to Mistler for his decision.

"That is very wonderful of him," Corona said. "I told this to the media before and it got cut out -- he's a very fair man, a nice man and I respect him very much. I can't thank him enough that he's chosen this direction for my family."

After Corona got out of the hospital following an eight-day stay, she immediately came to Mistler ready to sign the contract, Mistler said. He said he figured that was a hard eight days lying in a hospital bed thinking about what she had done and the anticipation of the walk was probably difficult to think about.

He said he didn't feel the need to ask any more of her.

"She never said she wouldn't do the walk," Mistler said.

While Corona is off the hook for the four-hour "walk of shame," Mistler said he is suggesting to her -- only a suggestion -- that she volunteer for four hours with a local agency such as the animal shelter or help with a charity event.

"I've done that before," Corona said. "I've volunteered in soup kitchens. I've volunteered at a hospice. I can certainly do something for him in that regard. I most certainly will."

Sabres legend Danny Gare celebrating new grandchild in Batavia

By Howard B. Owens

Buffalo Sabres legend Danny Gare has an important Genesee County tie -- his daughter and son-in-law live in Le Roy. And now he has a grandchild. His daughter just gave birth at UMMC, so he was in Batavia tonight and stopped in at South Beach for dinner with his son-in-law.

Above, South Beach owner Ken Mistler takes a mobile phone picture of Mary Kline with Gare. Below, Chef Arvin Ortiz -- a HUGE Sabres fan -- poses with Gare.

Mistler's new South Beach poised for a grand opening

By Howard B. Owens

When I stopped into South Beach, 59 E. Main St., Batavia, this afternoon to see what was up with the re-opening plans, the first thing Ken Mistler did was give me a cup of ice water.

Man, was it good. And not just because it was 96 degrees outside.

Mistler has a whole new filtration system that all the water -- for cooking, ice and table service -- goes through. It's as pure and clear as a pristine mountain stream.

And it's also evidence of the first-rate job Mistler has done in putting together the new South Beach. He's not calling it "Ken Mistler's South Beach," but that's how we might start thinking about it. It's both that different and yet still South Beach.

Inside are the same bamboo and beachy themes, but Mistler has also made a lot of changes, from adding a side-door entrance and doing away with the Main Street entrance, to enclosing the kitchen. The latter change helps keep heat in the kitchen instead of the dining room. He's also added new, larger, more private booths.

There's also more seating overall and a bigger bar.

And Mistler isn't done. He's got expansion plans for downstairs once the main restaurant is running smoothly.

The new South Beach officially opens Tuesday.

As for the food, Mistler said it will be "South Beach with a flair." There will be steaks and seafood and pineapple dishes, but one unique feature is that diners will have the option of ordering -- and paying less -- for smaller portions.

"We thought, when we go out to eat the plates are just too big, too much food on the plate, and you feel obligated to eat it," Mistler said. "We’ll do away with that by offering the same dish, but a smaller portion at a lower price."

Mistler closes on South Beach purchase this afternoon

By Howard B. Owens

I ran into Ken Mistler about 30 minutes ago entering The Insurance Center office on Main Street. He let me know he was closing on his purchase of South Beach, building and restaurant.

Mistler said there are two potential tenants looking at the location, but nothing is firm yet.

Ken Mistler set to purchase 10th building downtown -- former South Beach location

By Howard B. Owens

Ken Mislter, who currently owns 9 buildings in Downtown Batavia by his count, has reached a purchase agreement for the former South Beach Restaurant location.

The deal will close May 1. Mistler said the building will be immediately available to a lessee looking to open a restaurant.  It's turnkey ready, Mislter said.

"The guy (Alex Giuliani) left the salt and the pepper," Mistler said, explaining how the restaurant is ready to open now.

Alex and Barbara left the location in pristine condition, other sources tell me.

The asking price for the building was $425,000. Mistler said he paid something less than that, but won't disclose the price until after it becomes public record. Separately, he also bought all the equipment.

Alex and Barbara Giuliani closed the restaurant unexpectedly three months ago, and the abrupt closure was controversial.

Sunnys offers to honor unused South Beach gift certificates

By Howard B. Owens

Tina Rose, co-owner of Sunnys Restaurant in the Genesee Country Mall, left a comment on The Batavian about an hour ago offering to honor unused gift certificates from South Beach, which was shuttered Sunday.

Long time Batavia Restaurant Owners comes to aid:

Local family owned Sunnys Restaurant in the Batavia City Centre is stepping in to honor Gift Certificates.
Anyone who has purchased or received a Southbeach Gift Cert.- Sunnys owners Michael and Tina Rose will honor at their Restaurant. In these tough economic times no one wants or can afford to lose money. Simply give us a call at 343-4578 or stop in.

*some restrictions may apply*

That's a generous offer, but also smart business.

UPDATE: Cori Majors from Center Street Smokehouse says gift certificates may also be redeemed there, and there may be job openings.

Colleen Odessa, sales manager for Alex's Place, also said certicates can be redeemed there as well.

South Beach owner "was forced to close" restaurant, says sister-in-law

By Philip Anselmo

Earlier today, The Batavian was informed that South Beach restaurant in Batavia had abruptly closed over the weekend, and the former employees—about 30 or so—were coming by to pick up their final checks. We spoke with some of the staff as they came and went. You can see our earlier post for those details.

Gail Giuliani phoned us a little while ago to say that her brother-in-law, Alex Giuliani, the restaurant's owner, "had to close" the business the way he did, without notifying the employees, for fear of theft. Gail told us that Alex has already moved back to his home in Florida and was likely not able to comment on the matter at this time.

"The reason they were not told was because Alex was advised not to tell them," she said. "Because when you tell people like that, they will steal from you."

One employee who went in to pick up her check today even said that had she known that the place was closing, she would not have "rung up" the meals. Jason Giuliani, Alex's grandson, was handing out the paychecks at the restaurant this morning when he overheard that comment, she said. Jason had worked as a manager at South Beach.

"Alex wrote a very very nice note to his employees and it says: 'To all my employees, today is a very sad for me.' And he went on and told them how he had to do it. And he left this letter on the bar when Jason went in today to give the employees their paychecks."

Alex and Barbara, his wife and co-owner of South Beach, were at the restaurant Sunday cleaning up, according to Gail, who was helping out. They were not there to "empty the place out," she said. "All the furniture is there. Everything is still in the building."

"One of the barmaids went by when we were cleaning that place," she continued. "We were there from eight o'clock in the morning to six o'clock at night. We scrubbed every cooler, every stove. I went back, cleaned all the bathrooms, cleaned all the rugs. We didn't want to leave it any other way. We had to take bags of food out of the place. This waitress happened to go by and saw all this stuff.... So she started text messaging everybody around, and before you know it... Jason's phone was ringing off the wall."

Gail says that she understands the workers might feel a little resentment, but that Alex had no choice in the matter. She said: "If Alex wasn't forced to do this, he would have never done this."

"It just irritates me," she continued. "The employee's are angry, but let's face it—bartenders and waitresses—is that a career? I'm sure they can find another job.... If you put yourself in that position: what would you do? Would you tell your employees that next week is going to be your last night? He was advised not tell his help. They just made it like my brother-in-law just up and left and he's a real rat. But people who know him, know that he's not like that. He's a charming man and a gentleman." 

Batavia's South Beach restaurant closed abruptly and without warning

By Philip Anselmo

About a dozen waitresses, cooks and other staff of Batavia's South Beach gathered in the parking lot outside the restaurant this morning after they had each picked up the "last" check. South Beach was closed. They found out yesterday.

One of the restaurant's former managers says that she saw the owners, Alex and Barbara Giuliani, emptying the place out and packing up trucks Sunday. She started texting her colleagues that afternoon. Soon after, everyone got the call: Come by Monday morning at 9:30 a.m. to pick up your check.

The only message to customers was written on a piece of paper, taped to the door: "We're sorry folks but due to economic conditions Southbeach will have to close its doors effective today until further notice. From all of us here at the beach, we thank you for your patronage."

Several waitresses on scene told us that they had worked Saturday evening, and the owners were still selling gift certificates. When they left that night, they all thought they were coming back to work Monday.

Some say the owners took off for Florida. Neither of the owners were on scene. Instead, inside, Alex Giuliani's grandson, Jason, passed out the checks. Jason Giuliani had worked at South Beach as a manager.

Arlana Pathammavong authored a post about the closing of the restaurant on The Batavian late last night. We will see what other information when we can gather.

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