Friday, January 19, 2001

Barge eateries shuffle on

N.Ky. riverfront picture changes

By Terry Flynn
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        COVINGTON — Restaurant barges were moving up and down the Ohio River on Thursday from Covington and Newport as Northern Kentucky's riverfront scene continued to change after the demise of four floating eateries.

[photo] Towboats move the barges that housed Pisces and Gators Sports Bar down the Ohio River toward Louisville on Thursday. The eateries previously were located at Covington Landing.
(Patrick Reddy photos)
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        The former Barleycorn's complex, auctioned Monday for $130,000, is being moved upriver to Dayton, Ky., where it will be the center of the new 100-slip Queen City Riverboat Marina owned by Bob Nolan.

        A pair of barges that were home to several restaurants in the past few years, including most recently Pisces and Gators Sports Bar, were moved from the Covington Landing mooring site Thursday to begin their trip back to Louisville. The fourth recent closing was Sloppy Joe's, also on Newport's Riverboat Row.

        The two barges that left Covington are owned by Star of Louisville, a company that operates a cruise boat in Louisville. The company has no immediate plans for the two boats, a spokesman said.

        Covington Assistant City Manager Tom Steidel said the city is working with prospective tenants to fill the empty spot on the riverfront with another floating attraction.

        “We're still in negotiations, so I can't name any names,” Mr. Steidel said Thursday. “But I think we may have a good fit for the location.”

[photo] Garrett Smith (right) guides sections of decking into place at the Port Bellevue development. At left is Danny McKernan. Both men work for Flexicore Systems Inc. of Huber Heights, Ohio.
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        He said that overall, business is still good for the other restaurants at Covington Landing. “We're looking at two additional venues in the main part of the landing for this year,” he said.

        Mr. Steidel said replacing the boats that went to Louisville “is not critical to the success of Covington Landing. All we did was rent the space (to Star of Louisville).”

        Newport City Manager Phil Ciafardini said that city will renew efforts to lease the site occupied by Barleycorn's since 1984. The owners of the Newport Aquarium, just above the site, have expressed some interest in the ri verfront property, and at least one other developer may be looking at the location.

        Meanwhile, work progresses at the Port Bellevue site, just over the Newport city limits from the Chart House Restaurant and the Comfort Suites hotel.

        Port Bellevue will be the location of a Joe's Crab Shack seafood restaurant, a Burger King and offices on the second floor above the Burger King.


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