Finn’s changes hands for second time in one year
Thomas “TJ” Martucci has big plans for Finn’s Restaurant. He just doesn’t know what they are yet.
Martucci “is an experienced restauranteer,” according to his attorney, Sanford Resnick, who attended the Town Council’s meeting on July 5 remotely as the council, acting in its capacity as the Board of License Commissioners considered the transfer of the liquor license from Tail Finns, LLC, Member John J. Franchi d/b/a Finn’s Seafood Restaurant, to TMG – BI Operating, Inc. Stockholder: Thomas J. Martucci d/b/a To Be Determined.
The “d/b/a To Be Determined” caught the councilor’s attention. “I need to stand in the space, let it speak to me,” said Martucci, who was at the meeting and has businesses based out of East Greenwich.
Among Martucci’s growing holdings are a few that incorporate the name “The Trap.” His latest is The Trap North in Smithfield and he plans to build The Trap South in Narragansett at the site of the old Charlie O’s. “I will say I’m building my brand out on the backs of the Trap,” a pub and grill style eatery. “To date that space hasn’t spoken to me like a Trap. Most likely it will never be a Trap.”
Instead, Martucci is leaning towards seafood, perhaps Italian-style. “I’m mostly excited to bring that building back to life,” he said. He will be working with an “experienced architect and design team.”
License Commissioner Sven Risom asked if he could describe a little bit about the business he envisioned and whether the emphasis would be on the food or the drink.
Martucci said he probably would let Ernie’s continue doing breakfast while he focused on lunch and dinners. He said it wouldn’t be “a drinking scene, but hoping [people] will stay and enjoy an after-dinner drink.”
Risom also wanted to know if the restaurant would be open for just the two busiest months on the island, or into the shoulder seasons.
Martucci said he would like to join the Chamber of Commerce and to “capitalize on the shoulder months,” especially to take advantage of the wedding business. “What’s the secret sauce for Nantucket and why are people going there? You know, in April, May...October.”
After asking some “technical questions” about parking spaces – there are only seven that belong with the building – Commissioner Martha Ball asked if he planned to open this summer.
“No,” said Martucci. “I think I would be doing your town a disservice and I think I would be doing my brand a disservice to miraculously close, redecorate, and open up. It just won’t happen.”
“As you know,” said Ball, it was open for seven days last summer.”
On July 9, 2021, long-time owners Fred and Debbie Howarth sold the building to 212 Water Street, LLC. And the new owner was open only on a limited basis.
As far as opening “just to retain the liquor license,” said Martucci, “it wouldn’t be my first choice.”
First Warden André Boudreau asked Town Clerk Millie McGinnes, if when a license was transferred, it gave the new holder a year to start using it.
McGinness said it did give the owner time and he didn’t need to use it this summer.
“I want that to be abundantly clear” in the written decision, said Boudreau.
The motion to approve the liquor license transfer was approved unanimously by the board, with Keith Stover and Mark Emmanuelle absent from the meeting.
Then it was on to the outdoor entertainment license. “I really file that for every business I buy,” said Martucci, adding that it was “good housekeeping.” He would probably use it from 4 to 7 p.m., “for adults wrapping up a day at the beach, not during dinner service.”
The entertainment license was also approved 3 – 0, and when all was said and done, Resnick said, “Thank you very much. I’d like to meet Millie. She was very helpful” with all the complicated paper work.
“You can’t have her,” said Boudreau.
“That’s too bad,” said Resnick. I was going to offer her a job.”