Imagine the scene.
You’re driving down Post Road near Ann & Hope. You can’t quite believe your eyes because there, not too far from the road, is the entrance to Rocky Point. There’s no mistaking the cinder block columns and the bridge between the two, with the multi-colored letters to the park’s name, cock-eyed and looking like they had just gotten off the Cork Screw. The gate is too small to be a knockoff of the original and, what is really mystifying, is that it wasn’t there yesterday. So how did it suddenly appear?
When that day happens, sometime this March, the answer will become obvious.
This gate to Rocky Point is on wheels. Actually, it will be part of a 16-by-34-foot food trailer – the Rocky Point Clam Shack.
The trailer, the brainchild of Anthony Restivo, is just the prelude to a Rocky Point experience.
Restivo and his major backer, Chanping “Ping” Hou, visited the Beacon last week to outline plans to rekindle park memories while serving the food that could only be found at Rocky Point. They have the recipes for Rocky Point clam cakes and chowder. In addition, they will bring back lobster dinners and the corn and steamers the Shore Dinner Hall was renowned for.
If you don’t have the time to stop and eat, there will be retail packs of the clam cake mix with directions on how to make them at home.
That’s not all. Under the Plexiglas of picnic tables surrounding the gate trailer will be photographs of the park. Clam cake bags will bear the Shore Dinner Hall drawing just like the originals. Kids will be able to ride a three-foot lobster and Rocky Point placemats – the work of local artist Frank Galasso – will be at each setting.
“We want to keep the whole idea of Rocky Point,” says Restivo. “It’s about family and it’s affordable.”
Restivo, who has been in the mobile kitchen business for 12 years, remembers family outings to the park and the fun he had as a kid. His plan has gained the endorsement of the city’s Zoning Board of Review. And in case you’re wondering, the gates over the trailer will be made of wood and look like blocks.
On the other hand, Hou, a mechanical engineer who came to this country from Taiwan in 1969, never had the chance to visit Rocky Point when it was operating as an amusement park. Hou is tied in with a group of investors in Chinese Native Products. He said there is interest in a government program designed to create jobs through the investment of foreign capital.
“There are a lot of Chinese businesses that make a lot of money and they want to get away from China,” he said.
Whether the Rocky Point food trailer will be the bridge to other new ventures remains to be seen. Restivo said the trailer operation would employ five or six.
“It will be everything Rocky Point,” Restivo said.
To also boost efforts to develop the site of the original park, Restivo said the company intends to support the Rocky Point Foundation, the non-profit organization that led efforts to get a referendum in 2010 to get the $9.6 million needed to buy 82 acres from the Small Business Administration. The foundation is working with the city and state as they consider development of the property after demolition and cleanup is completed later this summer.