The Tap & Grill: Rockaway’s new hotspot?


IMG_1647In 2007, a Manhattan businessman set up a taco shop on Beach 96th Street, in a forlorn area of Queens, hard by the Atlantic Ocean. That taco shop slowly started to attract a loyal following of locals and visitors alike, and spurred a youthful, entrepreneurial boom. Most residents would acknowledge the opening of the taco shop as the first wave of the Rockaway resurgence.

This month the second, and significantly more moneyed, wave of that resurgence hit our shores. The Tap & Grill on Beach 97th Street has been sold to a Manhattan-based private real estate investment firm. Cayuga Capital, known for reviving near-failed residential projects in Williamsburg (Steelworks Lofts and 44 Berry), has acquired the mixed-use property.

According to Cayuga’s website, the 5,000 square feet of retail space will be converted to a bar and restaurant. A call to the New York State Liquor Authority confirmed that a liquor license for that location is pending in the name of Rockaway Restaurant Co. LLC, which lists Cayuga partner Jamie Wiseman as a principal.

But more interestingly, the Cayuga website also indicates that 8 residential apartments in the building, totaling an additional 2,050 square feet, will be converted to Rockaway’s first boutique hotel since….ever?

Rumors have been circulating in Rockaway over the past few weeks that “the Taco guy” has bought the building, but that does not seem to be the case. However it remains to be seen if David Selig and Joseph Cusick of Rockaway Taco may be involved in the new restaurant operation, which is just a block away from their Taco empire.

An inspection of the property over the weekend revealed a building that has been emptied of all tenants and boarded up, presumably awaiting renovation for the 2013 season. The Tap & Grill website main page is still functional, but indicates that the establishment was shuttered in August after nineteen years.

Calls and emails to Mr. Wiseman were not returned.


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The Tap & Grill

Cayuga Capital Management