2011-03-03 / Editorial

Farewell to Tropi Grille

We had heard that Tricia’s Tropi Grille on Narragansett Avenue would not be re-opening. We asked owner Trish Masso for comment and she sent us the following email:

“My lease has been increasingly expensive, rent plus property taxes on the property, insurance and, of course, utilities. My current lease expires in another month, and we had been negotiating a renewal.

“The landlord put the building on the market for $749,000, and did not want to give me a lease longer than six months in an effort to sell the building ‘easier.’ But to sell or finance a business, buyers and banks want to see at least a five-year lease.

“I tried to convince him that he would be better off with a long-term tenant in the building paying the bills in this market, and that maybe some rent reduction should be in order as well. But that was non-negotiable.

“He offered me another short-term lease even more expensive than the lease that I have been paying. My legal and financial advisors basically told me I would be crazy to agree to it. The building needs a lot of repairs, which would have been my responsibility as well.

“New windows, doors, etc. And it still smells like oil when the water table is high from the oil spill two years ago. The combination of conditions made staying short term not a good business decision.

“I have improved the property over the years quite a bit, originally completely renovating the entire building back in 2002 from a severely uninhabitable condition. Paying for half of the new roof, and the fire suppression system required by state law. Putting the Tiki Bar at the back of the building and the outdoor Aruba Lounge area, which was upgraded last May with new fencing, paint, pavers, etc.

“We had just completed more improvements this last month, refinishing the dining room floors again, and painting the walls a new SeaGlass shade. We were planning on re-opening for the spring on St. Patrick’s Day weekend before the negotiations came to a head.

“Even more upsetting is that eight to 10 current staff will be out of a job, and I won’t be able to offer 20 to 25 summer staff positions either.

“I appreciate the incredible staff I have had over the years, most recently Chef and partner Jack Corey, Manager Candi Clarke, Assistant Chefs Adam Corey and Danny Blais, and Servers Margaret Carlin, Maria Snyder and Jenna Graziosi. Their talent, personality and loyalty will be greatly missed. We offered creative, fresh food made from scratch, and friendly and fun staff that the customers enjoyed interacting with.

“I appreciate the patronage of the locals and the tourists over the years. Many of our customers became very dear friends. We will miss them all, and their beloved dogs, as we had become a destination in the summer for having a pet friendly patio.”

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