Sandbar, the popular restaurant and bar at Jetties Beach, is seeking a new five-year lease to continue running the town-owned concession and bathhouse area. But it’s got some competition for that lease.
The owners of Millie’s restaurant in Madaket have also submitted a proposal to the town to run the Jetties Beach concession, along with a third group known as Swim at Jetties LLC, managed by Vanessa Traniello, of Nantucket and Newburyport, MA.
Under state procurement laws, the town is required to put the Jetties Beach concession area out to bid, and the new lease will run from 2022 through the 2026 season.
A town committee has started to review all three proposals based on their business and operations plans, quality control, and references. The committee includes the town’s Director of Municipal Finance Brian Turbitt, the town’s Licensing Administrator Amy Baxter, the town’s Director of Culture and Tourism Janet Schulte, former Nantucket Public Schools Superintendent Mike Cozort, and Assistant Town Manager Rachel Day. They will make a recommendation to the Select Board for its August 4 meeting, when it will award the five-year lease.
Sandbar, owned by Nantucket native George Kelly and island resident Nick Nass, opened for business in 2017. Their five-year lease expires at the end of this year, and the town issued a request for proposals (RFP) back in March to run a seasonal beach restaurant, bar, retail space and bathhouse at Jetties Beach. Under the terms of the RFP, the tenant would pay the town an annual lease payment of $150,236 starting in 2022, which would increase by 3 percent annually.
Bo Blair, the owner of Millie’s in Madaket and a handful of other restaurant ventures in and around Washington D.C., submitted his group’s proposal as manager of Hither Creek LLC, doing business as “Millie’s The Harpoon.”
In Sandbar’s current lease with the town there is also a revenue sharing component which requires it to pay the town a percentage of its monthly gross sales over $1 million. That clause in the lease has resulted in more than $400,000 going back to the town. After 2017 when it was determined that the town could not receive a revenue share from a liquor license that it awards, those funds were distributed to various island non-profits including A Safe Place, the Alliance for Substance Abuse Prevention, and the Interfaith Council’s Food, Fuel & Rental Assistance program. Sandbar has reported to the town gross sales over the past four seasons as follows:
- 2017: $2,715,940
- 2018: $3,050,000
- 2019: $3,214,867
- 2020: $2,531,184 (covid)