Village Ramps Up Search for New Riverfront Restaurant

Longtime fixture ‘Civile’s on the Hudson’ closed following Hurricane Sandy damage

BY JAMES LEGGATE

IMGP2253IMGP2282Haverstraw officials are seeking a new restaurateur to take over the former site of Civile’s on the Hudson and are hoping that a successful eatery could draw customers and other new businesses to the village.

Tom Civile ran his restaurant for nearly 15 years at the site, located next to the Hudson River and adjacent to Emeline Park. The restaurant attracted diners from up and down the river, including some who arrived by boat to enjoy the Italian cuisine and scenic views, especially in the spring and summer.

“He had a good business, a well-known business,” Haverstraw Mayor Michael Kohut said.

When Hurricane Sandy blew through the region in 2012, flood waters rose into the restaurant and winds blew a heating and air conditioning unit off the building. Civile eventually decided to shut down and the village agreed to end the lease. The building is currently boarded up.

The site has a lot to offer an experienced restaurant owner, according to Kohut. The village plans to replace the damaged air conditioner, and the building itself has two floors which a new operator could use to expand the restaurant into the upstairs apartment and add balcony seating. The village is also planning improvements to Emeline Park and recently put out a Request For Proposals for the work. The property is easy to reach for diners not familiar with the area, since it’s just a straight shot down Main Street from Route 9W.

Kohut also pointed to the village’s historic architecture and and its small but growing restaurant community as further advantages to the location. There’s also the iconic Hudson River views.

A popular new restaurant could also be a boon for the village, which Kohut described as being “like Brooklyn before Brooklyn became hip.”

“Haverstraw is the next great destination in Rockland,” he said.

Besides drawing more diners to the area, the village would make money from renting the site. The Village of Haverstraw, which jointly purchased the property with the Scenic Hudson nonprofit organization when the previous owner wanted to retire, will take sole ownership of the site this year.

New businesses also mean new jobs, Kohut said.

The village previously sought a new operator after Civile’s closing and chose one, but the funding fell through, Kohut said. Several other potential operators had come forward at the time and the mayor said he believed several were still interested.

Now they’re looking for an operator with previous restaurant experience who’s willing to take a minimum five-year lease and accept the building as-is. Officials don’t have a specific idea for what kind of restaurant they want, but they want to hear ideas and find an operator whose vision aligns with their own, Kohut said. They’d also like to hear ideas about how the future eatery can “interrelate with the park areas adjacent to the restaurant,” according to a notice from the village.

Officials will show the building at 16 Front Street by appointment only February 13 and 20. Anyone interested can call 845-429-0300 to schedule a time.

“There’s a lot of things going on in Haverstraw and the right restaurateur could be another reason to come here,” Kohut said.