Ben Rocheleau and Bethany Pinkham of Westbrook are among the couples searching for a new wedding reception venue after the closure of the Blue Sky restaurant in the Atlantic House Hotel in York Beach.

But Don Rivers says his restaurant, which closed two weeks ago, will reopen “any day now,” and there’s no reason for people who have booked events there to start making new plans.

With guests booking flights and save-the-date cards to be ordered for their wedding Sept. 22, Rocheleau and Pinkham aren’t taking his word for it – even if that means losing their $1,900 deposit.

“I just have lost faith that they’re a secure place to move forward with,” Pinkham said.

The restaurant was served an eviction notice March 30 and ordered to vacate the building within 48 hours, according to the York County Sheriff’s Office.

According to documents filed in York District Court, the property’s owner, Two Beach Street LLC, terminated its lease with Blue Sky in January because the restaurant owed nearly $20,000 in rent payments.

Rivers said Tuesday that he’s “in the middle of negotiations” with his landlord to reopen. He refused to talk about why the restaurant closed.

“Our intent is to open shortly,” Rivers said. “We’re working on it diligently.”

The town’s assessing records give a post office box for Boston-based D&D Management Group as the contact for Two Beach Street LLC. A message left Tuesday with D&D Management was not immediately returned.

Rocheleau said he first heard from the baker of their wedding cake that Blue Sky had closed, then read about the eviction in articles published last week by The York Weekly.

“We never heard any communication from (Blue Sky) whatsoever that something was going on,” Rocheleau said.

The restaurant initially put up a sign that said it was closed for the evening “due to equipment failure,” according to The York Weekly.

Rivers said Tuesday that he posted the message, which he admitted was inaccurate, because he “didn’t want to alarm anybody.”

“We thought it was going to be a few days, but it was a few weeks,” he said.

The York Weekly reported that the sign was changed later to say the restaurant would be open the next week, which would have been last week. Now the sign says it’s “re-opening soon.”

Regardless of whether the restaurant reopens, Rocheleau said, he and his fiancee don’t want a business that sends its customers mixed messages to be in charge of their wedding day.

“I don’t trust them at all,” he said.

Blue Sky acknowledged the reports of its closure in a message posted Friday on its Facebook page.

“We sincerely apologize for the delay in contacting everyone but we wanted to wait for the best and most accurate information available to us,” it says.

Rivers said no weddings were booked for the weeks since the restaurant closed. He said he has gotten calls from concerned couples, and “a lot of folks are sticking with it.”

The four-story Atlantic House Hotel was run-down and vacant when Rivers decided to redevelop the property about 10 years ago. The hotel and restaurant opened in November 2007 after a $7.5 million renovation.

Fred Petrone, manager of the Atlantic House Hotel, said about 25 events are booked at the restaurant from mid-May to the fall, and he has been having hours-long conversations with couples to assure them that the Blue Sky will be open.

That, he said, is his first priority. He doesn’t yet know whether people who cancel will get their deposits back.

“An afterthought is how we’re going to deal with folks who absolutely refuse to have their wedding here,” he said.

The state Attorney General’s Office has not received any formal complaints, said Brenda Kielty, spokeswoman for the office.

Although Pinkham is disappointed that her reception won’t be held at the hotel, which had “all the charm I was looking for,” she said she’s grateful to have time to find another venue.

Other couples they have talked to, whose weddings are coming up much sooner, don’t have that luxury.

“That uncertainty and that turmoil that they must be feeling … I don’t want that extra pressure on our day,” Pinkham said.

 

Staff Writer Leslie Bridgers can be contacted at 791-6364 or at: [email protected]