.

Update: Blue Cottage May Be Bustling No More

The hopping seaside watering hole faces financial challenges, a possible eviction and has filed for Chapter 11 re-organization.

Editor’s note: One party in this story who wished to be off the record at the time of publication decided to be quoted. This story is updated with those quotes.

Since opening its doors in 2008, The Blue Cottage has always served the public on their sweeping patio deck through the warm months and closed-up shop after Halloween as the first chill fell on the idyllic Indian Neck shoreline neighborhood where the restaurant is nestled.

However, this past summer may have been the last one in business for the Cottage – evidence was found in a large and looming H Pearce realty sign reading “Available.” In recent days, after the photographs for this story were taken, the “Available” sign was removed from the property. The realtor on the property is Rich Guralnick. A representative from H Pearce said today regarding the sign, that all questions should be referred to the landlord. The Blue Cottage property is not currently listed on the realty company’s website.

Hal Beckley who owns  and the property of the Blue Cottage, maintains that he has no idea how the sign got there and does not know who removed it. Representatives of the Blue Cottage maintain the same.

Richard Novak, the Middletown-based lawyer representing , LLC, said that the business partners, which consist of four partners, Lenny Caponera, Nick and Gina Colavolpe and Michael DePonte will be opening up the Blue Cottage come spring. The partners also own  downtown, which operates under Mango’s Bar and Grille, LLC. That business is still open to the public and is not a seasonal business.

Hal Beckley who owns  and the 4,183-sqaure-foot restaurant and the apartment above at 2 Sybil Ave., served the Blue Cottage, LLC an eviction notice on Sept. 12, 2011 with demands for the business owners to vacate by Sept. 17, 2011. They have been in a lease with Beckley since June 18, 2008. In the legal documents, Beckley and his representing law firm Chesson & Schweickert, LLC of Milford, claimed that the Blue Cottage, LLC had “failed to pay the monthly rent due on July 1, 2010, thru and including Aug. 1, 2011.”

The total sum owed to Bud’s Realty, LLC if the entire rent was, in fact not paid by the Blue Cottage, LCC, as the court documents state, would be in excess of $110,000. Assistant Chief and Fire Marshal for the Branford Fire Department, Shaun Heffernan stated regarding the apartment listed in the lease agreement available at the New Haven Housing Authority Court, “There was previously an apartment in that building. It has not been used as an apartment since the Blue Cottage moved in and to make it an apartment again, it would require modification.”

Though the initial word from Novak was no comment on behalf of his clients, the Blue Cottage proprietor, Nick Colavolpe went on the record this morning stating, “The alleged claim that states the Blue Cottage has not paid rent since July 2010 is a false claim.”

The restaurant group’s lawyer, Novak stated that he and his clients were denying all charged allegations. He noted that his clients entered into Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection under the Federal Court and now the group has 180 days to come up with a re-organization plan. The group does not have to vacate the premises under protection of Chapter 11 and neither can the place be leased to another party while the Chapter 11 protection is issued. Novak did not offer a re-organization plan on behalf of his clients.

“The Blue Cottage, LLC,” Novak stated, “has filed for protection under the U.S. Bankruptcy Code, Chapter 11, and has plans to re-open during the regular season.”

This morning, Nick maintained that that Mango’s, which operates under a separate LLC from Blue Cottage is “doing good.” He added, “We are excited about the Christmas season.” Nick noted plans for a new tapas menu in January. As the case in years past, Nick noted that all dual gift cards for Blue Cottage and Mangos are redeemable at Mango’s year-round and at the Blue Cottage during season.

Of the Blue Cottage, Nick said, “If it isn’t there next season, it’s Hal Beckly.” Nick said in late 2010 there was ongoing re-negotiations regarding a lease between the Blue Cottage LLC and Bud’s Realty LLC.  “I’m old school,” Nick said. “We had a handshake and we were re-negotiating the lease.”

Late last week Beckley stated, very briefly of his tenants, “They owe a lot of people a lot of money.”

“We want to argue this out in court,” said Nick. "We are doing everything we can to get that place open in April.”

The case of Bud’s Realty, LLC vs. The Blue Cottage, LLC will not head back to New Haven Housing Authority court until resolutions are reached in bankruptcy court. The next hearing for The Blue Cottage, LLC in the housing authority court will be in the next six months. 

The original story published Dec. 5, 2011 appeared as below:

Since opening its doors in 2008, The Blue Cottage has always served the public on their sweeping patio deck through the warm months and closed-up shop after Halloween as the first chill fell on the idyllic Indian Neck shoreline neighborhood where the restaurant is nestled. However, this past summer may have been the last one in business for the Cottage – evidence is found in a large and looming “Available” sign posted by H Pearce. The realtor on the property is Rich Guralnick but the property is not listed on the realty company's website.

If you ask Richard Novak, the Middletown-based lawyer representing , LLC, he’ll tell you that the business partners, which consist of four partners, Lenny Caponera, Nick and Gina Colavolpe and Michael DePonte will be opening up the Blue Cottage come spring but the landlord’s actions would lead you to think otherwise. The partners also own  downtown, which operates under Mango’s Bar and Grille, LLC. That business is still open to the public.

Hal Beckley who owns  and the 4,183-sqaure-foot restaurant and the apartment above, at 2 Sybil Ave., served the Blue Cottage, LLC an eviction notice on Sept. 12, 2011 with demands for the business owners to vacate by Sept. 17, 2011. They have been in a lease with Beckley since June 18, 2008. In the legal documents, Beckley and his representing law firm Chesson & Schweickert, LLC of Milford, claimed that the Blue Cottage, LLC had “failed to pay the monthly rent due on July 1, 2010, thru and including Aug. 1, 2011.” The total sum owed to Bud’s Realty, LLC if the entire rent was, in fact not paid by the Blue Cottage, LCC, would be in excess of $110,000.

The restaurant group’s lawyer, Novak, would not speak freely on the record but did note that some of the rent was paid and hypothetically stated that if some of the rent was not paid, it may because there was a violation of their agreed upon lease on the plaintiff’s side. He would not state specifics. After stating that he and his clients were denying all charged allegations, he noted that his clients entered into Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection under the federal court and now the group has 180 days to come up with a re-organization plan. The group does not have to vacate the premises under protection of Chapter 11. Novak did not offer a re-organization plan on behalf of his clients.

“The Cottage, LLC,” Novak stated, “has filed for protection under the U.S. Bankruptcy Code, Chapter 11, and has plans to re-open during the regular season.”

Late last week Beckley stated, very briefly of his tenants, “They owe a lot of people a lot of money.”

The case of Bud’s Realty, LLC vs. The Blue Cottage, LLC will not head back to New Haven housing court until resolutions are reached in bankruptcy court. The next hearing for The Blue Cottage, LLC will be in the next six months. 

Martin Caldwell December 08, 2011 at 05:18 PM
Would you kindly point out exactly where the reporter injected any personal opinion in the article? Because I see absolutely no evidence of it, which makes it difficult to respond to your assertion.
jj December 08, 2011 at 05:41 PM
Sorry. Did my statement lead you to believe I meant this article? I was speaking in general terms. But you proved the point I was trying to make. My statement was vague. As is the reporting in the article. Who put the sign up? What does the firemarshall have to do with this? I assume the landlord was doing something shady. Sounds like the sign should have never gone up. In which case the Cottage is already harmed in the public's eye. And seems like there was an illegal apartment above the Cottage. If there were facts stating either way, garnering opinions on the statements would be moot.
Martin Caldwell December 08, 2011 at 06:24 PM
Yes, I assumed you meant this article, since it's the only article you or I have ever commented on at this site. (If you click our names it shows that.) I still see nothing vague about the article, and nothing other than simple facts having been reported— including information about the sign's appearance and disappearance, and a statement made by the fire marshall in a housing court proceeding. So I guess we will have to agree to disagree.
jj December 08, 2011 at 07:01 PM
Agreed. That's what this is for...exchanging opinions.
Wayne Cooke December 08, 2011 at 08:42 PM
So, Martin...Are you hoping to see further Patch "exclusives" on the legal battles between local businesses, or will this one hold you for awhile? After all, in today's economic climate, this could actually be a daily feature.
Martin Caldwell December 08, 2011 at 08:55 PM
The sole reason I commented was because I saw nothing wrong with the article and no basis for the criticisms asserted in some of the comments. I never stated I was hoping to see (or not see) any particular types of articles reported. The Patch can and should report on whatever it deems newsworthy. Not really sure what you're trying to elicit from me. Did you want to clarify?
Wayne Cooke December 08, 2011 at 10:10 PM
Simply, that if Patch found this story "newsworthy", where is the line drawn? Can we expect in depth articles on ALL businesses with an "AVAILABLE" sign in front or a legal matter pending in the courts? Or just those cases residing in the current rumormill with "appealing" enough controversy attached?
Martin Caldwell December 08, 2011 at 10:20 PM
The line is drawn wherever it (Patch), deems appropriate. I don't think that you, I or anyone else should dictate what a particular news outlet reports. Would you find it appropriate that anyone else dictate what *you* may or may not "publish?" I'm guessing not since, as you stated above, you "doubt if many Branford citizens have ever invoked it, or relied upon [the First Amendment], as much as [you] have."
Linda December 08, 2011 at 10:27 PM
65 comments and it's NOT "newsworthy" ???
Wayne Cooke December 09, 2011 at 12:19 AM
Martin....We're not debating the First Amendment--that's a foregone conclusion--but rather journalistic integrity....Recall that I also said because you CAN report on something doesn't mean you SHOULD. Linda...3/4's of the comments have dealt with journalistic standards (or the lack thereof), not the subject matter of the article.
Linda December 09, 2011 at 12:50 AM
If you CAN report on something, does that mean you COULD (freedom of speech), or does that mean you SHOULDN'T according to someone else's standards or rules?
Wayne Cooke December 09, 2011 at 01:10 AM
Now THAT question, Linda, is what most of the 65 comments were about.
jj December 09, 2011 at 02:04 AM
If both sides of a story are not articulated, or one party gives a 'no comment', then the reader is left to form an opinion, without all the facts. In this case, for legal reasons in a private matter, there should not have been a story that effects one's livelihood. Would it be ok if the Patch reported all of the businesses the have filed bankruptcy? Or how about if you or your neighbors filed? Just because you can report that, does not mean you should.
local December 09, 2011 at 03:17 AM
This place was a dump and the neighborhood didn't support it, who cares it's closing. A lot of ppl are happy it's gone. I'm sure few ppl are shocked they are evading responcibility in paying rent. With the way they treated the neighborhood as their personnal trash can, it's a good thing they're going under. The funny part is hal defended them the most and he's getting the short end of the stick. Karma all around it seems.
Wayne Cooke December 09, 2011 at 01:01 PM
Your comment is appreciated, "local", in that its mean-spirited innuendo is exactly to the point I and others were making, and which this type of article encourages. Interesting how "newsworthy" Patch has no problem serving as a forum for a local business being called a "dump". Then again, Martin, since the First Amendment allows it, it's fine to say it, right?
local December 09, 2011 at 09:23 PM
If you don't like free speech move to china. I think nicole did a great job and was more than fair. Also i could go with a long list of reasons on why it's a dump, but why bother? There is a reason they closed every oct. They peeved off everyone in the surrounding area.
Martin Caldwell December 09, 2011 at 09:45 PM
Actually, by asserting that someone other than the news outlet itself (the "press") should be the arbiter of what should or should not be printed, you *are* debating the First Amendment. The press is free to print what it chooses to print under the First Amendment. Integrity (of any sort) is a *subjective* measurement. You disagreed with what was printed (for your subjective reasons), and I didn't disagree (for my subjective reasons).
Martin Caldwell December 09, 2011 at 10:00 PM
First to clarify, I am not passing judgment on *any* of the parties mentioned in this article. I've commented here simply to express my personal opinion regarding the appropriateness of the publishing of the article. Wayne, the First Amendment does *not* apply at all to the comments posted here. But it's a common misunderstanding as to exactly which restraints upon speech the First Amendment applies. Patch, as a *private* actor (as opposed to a *government* actor) is free to remove whatever comments it wants, and is free to eliminate them entirely— with impunity. The First Amendment applies only to *governmental* entities restraining speech, expression, press, etc. So to answer your question, Wayne, the First Amendment is entirely irrelevant with regard to these comments, as they are simply not within its purview.
Linda December 09, 2011 at 10:47 PM
I think my comment about "free speech" was misunderstood. I wanted to make a point that you "could" report something if you wanted to, without judgement from someone else's stern point of reasoning on "how" it "should" be reported, to justify their own personal standards on the matter.
Wayne Cooke December 09, 2011 at 11:18 PM
No...My point, Martin, is that because of the First Amendment, people (like local, here) think they can say anything they want, regardless how hurtful or damaging it is. And, while they legally can, that doesn't mean they should--which I think responds to Linda's point. Then again, maybe it doesn't. Truth is, this is making me kinda dizzy....
Martin Caldwell December 09, 2011 at 11:23 PM
:) Yes, it's been a long discussion.
Wayne Cooke December 09, 2011 at 11:36 PM
; )
Dr. Alfred C. Whitehead December 10, 2011 at 01:31 AM
I would like to have the last word on this subject (for now) if I may...I think Nicole Ball should be given credit for publishing an article (whether it "should have, could have, would have, right or wrong, public or private") that created a great debate with many valid points from all sides of the aisle. It was enlightening to see and read so many well defined points being made in a civilized manner. In that respect she did her job. Congratulations to Nicole for providing a comment page like this and allowing us to debate the issues in a public forum. Bravo!
Wayne Cooke December 10, 2011 at 02:15 AM
Sorry to jump in here on your last word, Fred, but I hardly think that the intent of the article was to prompt a debate on journalistic ethics. I'll be the first to give Nicole credit for a creative community website with some first rate features, but articles like this one--for all the reasons stated above--we could do without. OK, I'm done (for now). ; )
Dr. Alfred C. Whitehead December 10, 2011 at 02:35 AM
W ayne... in all due respect... I think we are not finished hearing from you! lol :-)
jeff December 10, 2011 at 05:08 PM
Wayne,what exactly is it that your growing? All I see is the truck with the giant signs on it.Is it blocking the crops? The DaRos kool-aid is pretty good,I'm glad I voted for him.
Wayne Cooke December 10, 2011 at 05:42 PM
Jeff...It's five acres of an exotic crop (you better get a paper and pencil for this)..called...C-O-R-N. I seriously doubt you couldn't see it this summer past the trailer. Did you read the CT 490 Guide yet? I just sent copies to the Blackstone & WW just for you--and other wayward/uninformed Kool-aid drinkers.
Nicole Ball December 10, 2011 at 07:15 PM
Comments will be closed on this story should any discussion of topics NOT relevant to this article continue. Thank you for your understanding.
jeff December 11, 2011 at 12:32 PM
Will the Blue Cottage restaurant stay or leave? Went to the library yesterday.....
Wayne Cooke December 11, 2011 at 02:01 PM
Jeff....I believe the Blue Cottage will stay...And yesterday, I watched the Army-Navy game. ; )

Boards

More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something