New London waterfront restaurant closes abruptly, citing structural issues

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New London — On the Waterfront, a popular restaurant at 250 Pequot Ave., closed abruptly on Friday.

A sign posted at the front entrance greeting Friday’s dinner crowd said the business was closed until further notice “due to a structural weakness on our sea wall.”

"It is with extremely heavy hearts and much internal sadness that we have to announce the temporary closure of On The Waterfront," reads a message on the restaurant's Facebook page, facebook.com/onthewaterfrontnl/. "Recent tides have caused damage to the structural integrity of the building, and we have to think first and foremost about the safety of all of you, the most loyal and compassionate patrons."

Owner Steve "Stash" Schiavone said in an interview Friday evening that the damage was noticed earlier this week and after an engineer reviewed the sea wall, the business made the call to temporarily close. He said he and his staff appreciated the overwhelming support they'd received from patrons.

"We can't put the building in jeopardy and we can't put the public in jeopardy," Schiavone said. "We're a little upset about it. It's tough to put your heart and soul into something and this happens. But we'll get through it and do the best we can."

Schiavone said while it was unlikely to be a "short-term fix," it was too soon to tell how long it would take to reinforce the structure to Federal Emergency Management Administration standards.

Within the next week or two after a review by marine engineers, he said, he'll have a clearer picture of how long repairs will take.

As of 7 p.m. Friday, more than 150 residents and at least one fellow business owner took to Facebook to share their disappointment at the closure and well wishes for the future.

"Yours is one of the few places I like to go to," commented Roderick "Rod" Cornish, owner of Hot Rod Cafe on Bank Street. "I wish speedy repairs and open soon. I like you guys and you run a great place."

b.kail@theday.com

g.smith@theday.com

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