THROGGS NECK, The Bronx (PIX11) — A meal at The Ice House Cafe comes with a view of the Throggs Neck neighborhood in the Bronx.
The dinnertime conversation on Friday focused on the business’ future at Locust Point Marina. The owners have operated the business for 20 years under a license with New York City. But the city’s plans have changed.
The family that has operated the marina and restaurant for two decades has heard they won’t be running things anymore.
Terry Dambinskas is the owner. She spoke to customers on Friday with her daughter, Natasha Dambinskas.
“I was 16 when they got it. Now I teach in the neighborhood. We live in the neighborhood. We are part of the neighborhood,” Natasha Dambinskas said.
The family said they were given three weeks’ notice that the license was not being renewed, and they did not win the bidding process.
The marina facility is located on parkland owned by the City of New York. The Parks Department conducts the process of hiring vendors.
The city had granted the current operators a license and renewal for 20 years. That expired in the fall of 2022, and the bidding process began.
In a statement to PIX11 News, a Parks Department spokesperson offered some details about the legally required process.
“After an exhaustive RFP process, as mandated by city law, we have selected the new operator for Locust Point. We thank the former operators,” the spokesperson wrote.
The new operator, according to the city, will “bring a significant $5 million investment and new programming to Locust Point Marina, the onsite restaurant, and the Bronx at large.”
The current owners said they submitted a 140-page proposal.
Customers said they love the food, staff and family atmosphere.
“This is going to be very upsetting to the people. The workmen come here. They have good service. You’re not rushed if you wanna take your time,” said Ann Smith.
NYC Council Member Marjorie Velazquez represents the area and also worked on the local community board.
“The RFP process went through NYC Parks, who chose a different operator that I have yet to meet or hear from. To hear that a local, woman-owned business whose owner also lives in the district lost a contract to such a staple to the community without reason is truly upsetting, and I look forward to finding out what led to this determination,” wrote Council Member Velazquez, who is also Chair of the Committee on Consumer and Worker Protection.
The current license expires on April 1, and the family has started a social media campaign and planned a rally Sunday at 11 a.m. at the restaurant.