The fight to keep a popular waterfront restaurant open is expected to go to Washington D.C.
That’s where Nueces County leaders will meet with federal officials to talk about options the county has to pay back about $750,000 in federal grant money.
“We probably need to get the Department of Justice to get involved because they are in charge of creating new agreements,” said Barbara Canales, Nueces County Judge. “Right? I can’t make the old agreement disappear, but what if I were to create a new agreement? What would that look like?”
The plan is to resolve the issue before the next county budget is approved in August, Canales said.
6 Investigates first reported in November that the county either has to pay back the grant money to the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service or close the Mikel May’s restaurant on Bob Hall Pier. The county accepted the grant funds years ago to build a new observation deck on the pier. It’s the spot where the county now has a 5-year lease agreement with Mikel May’s. Part of the grant agreement does not allow for a private restaurant.
Over the years, the restaurant has become a tourist draw and a money-maker for Nueces County, which is why leaders don’t want to close it.
“I’d like to see Mikel May’s keep doing what they’re doing – adding to the local economy, being an amazing asset for tourists and locals on Bob Hall Pier,” Canales said. “I’m proud of what it looks like out there.”
The restaurant brings in an estimated $12,000 per month in additional revenue to the county, which is used to offset pier maintenance cost, said Commissioner Brent Chesney, during a previous interview.