Ken Samuels, co-owner of the Avon Pavilion restaurant, said he has received more than 3,000 messages about the closing of the restaurant.
By ED SALVAS
Ken Samuels, chef and co-owner of the Avon Pavilion restaurant, has received more than 3,000 emails, texts, Facebook and phone messages from customers who will miss the popular oceanfront restaurant that’s been serving breakfast, lunch and dinner for 33 summers on the beachfront in Avon.
“Overwhelming emotion,” Samuels said of the response to the announcement that the Avon Pavilion had served its last meals after Labor Day and that the restaurant would be closing for good. He explained that the lease with the borough was ending and he and his partner, Rob Fishman, felt the timing was right.
“We’re all getting older, time to take a pause and re-invent myself,” he said.
There will be a restaurant there next summer, but it won’t be the Avon Pavilion. Samuels said they own the name, and the borough will be seeking a new tenant for the building and the clothing boutique which was completely rebuilt after Superstorm Sandy destroyed the original Pavilion in 2012. They are negotiating with the borough over purchase of the equipment and fixtures in the building.
Samuels recalled their first visit to the building which was storm-ravaged and in need of repair, but he immediately recognized the potential.
“It could be a spectacular location with large windows overlooking the ocean.” He recalls telling Fishman “We have to do this.”
It not only became a hit with diners, it also became a source of employment for thousands of students who found summer jobs. The Pavilion employed 200 people each year and In a farewell message in The Coaster, Samuels said “I am proud of the generations of the kitchen, servers and dining room staff that have grown up at the restaurant. Some began at 14 years old and remained through grad school, marriage and after starting families.”
Their biggest challenge came with Superstorm Sandy” in October of 2012. The building was demolished and Samuels and his crew worked through the winter and spring to erect a tent and fashioned used shipping containers for a kitchen so they could open in 2013. “We did it all as a family, we needed it to survive,” Samuels said.
In 2020, the Covid 19 pandemic created a new challenge. They developed a mobile Order-To- Go program using pagers and are also proud of their donations of meals to needy families, serving 3,000 families thanks to the generosity of their customers and suppliers.
The story ends on a bright note. Samuels said the summer of 2020 had the best beach weather in 30 years.