LINCOLN CITY — The shuttered Bay House Restaurant was a beehive of activity last week as former customers of the once-popular brasserie plundered the doomed building for mementos of their favorite retreat.
Proprietor Steve Wilson smiled and encouraged visitors to take what they could carry rather than condemn priceless memories to the wrecking ball. Wilson and his partners sold the 14-year-old upscale eatery last year to owners of Pacific City’s Pelican Pub and Brewery, who plan to raze the building and erect a new operation at the site.
“Every time we came to Lincoln City, we’d bring our friends here,” said Becky Daniels as she hoisted a familiar “Minors Allowed” sign that once graced the majordomo’s station of the upscale restaurant. “It was such great service, such wonderful food.”
At the front of the building where movie producers, sports legends, shoe moguls and well-heeled residents once entered, gym-owner Robert Dempewolf sized-up the heavy wooden door and commented it was the “perfect fit” for the studio of his new beach house.
While others exited the building with odds and ends, restaurant-owner Brooke Manca, of Side Door Café in Gleneden Beach, scored some of the best remains: a clutch of bar stools — each worth $1,400 — and a 22-foot Oregon black walnut bar top to grace her events center.
“That black walnut is hard to find,” said Wilson as the rare fixture left the building. “But I feel good that this kitchen equipment, the bar, the artwork, the signs, the swinging doors and even the windows are going to people who can appreciate it and use it.”
In the meantime, Wilson is set to open the new Bay House in a $2 million home overlooking the Siletz River and bay. The home has been remodeled to have three guest rooms and a five-table restaurant. It’s opening is imminent, held up only by installation of a hood in the commercial kitchen.
“This was all stuff we couldn’t use,” remarked Wilson. “I’d rather give it away to our friends than see it demolished forever.”