One year after its doors closed for good, Boardwalk Cafe is reopening under new ownership — with help from its founders.
The downtown cafe known locally for its grinder sandwiches closed last May after then-owner Tina Doss, who had purchased the business in 2011 from Tom Pasquale, tried unsuccessfully to take the business out of a downward spiral.
Doss had sought help from brothers Joe and Bryon Stephens, who had owned the cafe in the 1990s and originally dubbed it Boardwalk Cafe, and ended up by selling the business to Bryon’s fiancee Patricia Rozzi in July.
It’s been Rozzi’s dream to own her own business, she said. “And with Bryon and Joe, it’s coming true.”
Boardwalk Cafe was launched in late 1992 after the Stephens brothers bought out the Fore Corners Cafe on the corner of Broadway and Fifth Street and renamed it. The Stephens brothers and their parents owned the cafe for six years. The cafe then went through a series of ownership changes before closing last year.
Now dubbed The Original Boardwalk Cafe, in homage to the Stephens brothers’ renewed involvement and return to their family’s recipes, the business is expected to reopen sometime in May once issues with the point-of-sale system are worked out, Rozzi said.
And you probably won’t recognize it.
Rozzi, her family members and the Stephenses have spent the last several months remodeling the building, stripping the inside down to the concrete floor and the roof trusses.
“We had to pull up six layers of flooring,” Joe Stephens said. But once all the old was gone, the new came — new flooring, new drywall and paint, new seating, tables and counters, even new kitchen appliances.
Rozzi’s family, the Zimmermans, put thousands of hours into remodeling the interior, Rozzi estimated. “This would never have come together without them.”