Business Notes

Ketch to Be Transformed Into ‘Bird and Betty’s’ By Summer

Tide Table Restaurant Group Planning ‘Good Times and Great Food’
Feb 20, 2019
Photo by: Ryan Morrill The site of the former Ketch restaurant and bar will be reinvented as Bird and Betty’s.

The site of The Ketch restaurant and bar will be reinvented as Bird and Betty’s, “a throwback to the exciting summer days and nights of the 1960s and 70s,” under new ownership.

The Tide Table Group, owners of Mud City Crab House, Ship Bottom Shellfish, Parker’s Garage & Oyster Saloon, the Black Whale Bar & Fish House, and the Old Causeway Steak & Oyster House, announced the acquisition of The Ketch restaurant and nightclub on Dock Road on Feb. 14. In December, Ocean County Superior Court Judge Francis Hodgson ruled that The Ketch owner had to complete the sale to the new ownership group after contractual issues arose.

The deal has been in the works for more than two years, owners said. It was finalized on Feb. 11. Bird and Betty’s will open May 9.

The new owners are currently preparing to transform the historic building on the Beach Haven waterfront into a casual dining and nightspot that will ring of classic LBI good times.

“We are all very excited about this new project, which will emphasize fun,” said co-owner Melanie Magaziner. “We want to create something everyone will love focusing on the new deck and outdoor space, which will be built next winter. But we want to start setting the tone this summer by bringing great bands to the stage.”

The Tide Table Group includes the Nugent, Magaziner, Burris and Mehl families.

Their successful eateries tell the story of the Long Beach Island region’s past and present through dishes and atmosphere, each in its own way. Bird and Betty’s’ atmosphere will be distinct from its Tide Table Group neighbor, the adjacent Parker’s Garage.

Whereas Parker’s Garage celebrates the baymen and Victorian Golden Age of Beach Haven, Bird and Betty’s’ throwback scene will be the classic 1960s and ’70s.

“It was a time of beach parties, epic fishing excursions, and rock and roll youth culture,” described the owners as they announced the acquisition.

Billy Mehl, who recently joined the team full time, will give both the interior and exterior a facelift for this summer. The plans for the full renovation and extended deck are already drawn and permitted for 2020, owners said.

The menu will include many favorites from across the Tide Table Group’s menus as well as artisan pizza. The kitchen will be run by acclaimed Parker’s Garage chef Kyle Baddorf. The bar operation will be overseen by Kurt Gilfillan and Filemon Alaba, the veteran bar managers of the Black Whale and Old Causeway. There are plans to continue the tradition of live music.

The historic building has a lively history that Bird and Betty’s will carry on with a new personality. Actually, the name hearkens back to previous owners.

“It was the Acme Hotel in the early part of the 1900s, said to be the oldest tavern on LBI,” the new owners said.

“Betty and Bird Clutter purchased it in 1956 and ran a successful bar. Bird remembers a secret trap door where alcohol was moved in during the Prohibition era. According to local historian, John Lloyd, in the 60s and 70s, it attracted an energized crowd who came for the excitement of LBI nights and live music.”

They eventually sold to the D’Onofrio family, who also owned the former Quarter Deck Inn in Ship Bottom. Michael Battista took over the property thereafter and has operated it from 1984 until the sale to the Tide Table Group. Over the years, national acts such as the late Clarence Clemons and Jimmy Cliff performed at The Ketch. Battista continues to own The Marlin in Beach Haven.

Said Magaziner, “As we’ve done with our other projects, we’re preserving the history of Beach Haven. We’re looking to build on our existing community partnerships with companies like Jetty and provide great experiences for all generations.

The Tide Table Restaurant Group has become known for excellent service, customer experience and the finest quality foods, specifically seafood, sourced locally whenever possible.

Sustainable practices are important to the restaurant group. Through oyster shell recycling, local sourcing, partnerships, Ocean Friendly Restaurant certifications, an oyster co-op, and many fundraisers, they are dedicated to supporting the local environment and community.

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