The Lake Erie water temperature is unlikely to reach 50 degrees, so this may not be the best weekend to jump in, but it is the traditional Memorial Day weekend opening at area beaches.
And at Woodlawn Beach State Park, the new operator of the restaurant and bar has been busy putting the finishing touches on his venture.
The Beach Bar at Woodlawn Beach opens this weekend in the space previously occupied by Woody’s Beach Club and Taqueria, both at the main building and on the beach. It will be open from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.
Robert Bieber, who has been managing restaurants and has been in the marine business for 30 years, is the new operator.
“It’s been overwhelming,” Bieber said, but, “I knew it would come together.”
The Town Board terminated its contract with Woody’s in March, and Bieber won the bid in mid-April to run the restaurant.
Electricians and carpenters were bustling this week, as vendors delivered food and drink supplies.
“Today I was digging a 6-foot trench,” Bieber said. “I do what it takes to get done.”
He built a new clam bar on the southern end of the bar and plans to sell beer from Hamburg Brewing Co. on tap at the main bar, as well as Labatt and Red Bull products.
In addition to clams, the menu includes chicken fingers, crab cakes, fish and chips, nachos, wraps, hamburgers and sandwiches, including prime rib, sausage, chicken and mahi mahi. Other items include calamari, shrimp, mussels, mozzarella sticks, pizza logs and jalapeno peppers. Most items are under $10, and food on a children’s menu is $3.95.
Bieber said he hopes to deliver lunch to offices in the Gateway office building next to the park, sell fried dough and french fries on the beach and soft ice cream at the restaurant.
He is planning entertainment Thursday through Sunday evenings and will continue the agreement with Longboards for kayak and stand-up paddle board rentals, he said.
The state park is operated by the Town of Hamburg, which charges a $7 entry fee per car from 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily, and later on nights with special events, said Martin Denecke, the director of the town’s Department of Recreation, Senior and Youth Services. The same fee will be charged whether or not swimming is allowed, he said.
An adult volleyball league will play Tuesdays and Thursdays, and the league will host a tournament next weekend, Denecke said. The Pirate’s Cove bounce house play area returns, and there will be a children’s festival and fireworks this summer, he said.
Attendance at the beach has grown every year in the past three years, and the beach is close to breaking even, according to the town supervisor.
But as always, if there is a lot of rainfall, the park will remain open, but swimming will be prohibited until bacteria levels return to a safe level.