Wednesday, June 28, 2000

Barleycorn's to sail into N.Ky. history

By Terry Flynn
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        NEWPORT — The Barleycorn's Yacht Club floating restaurant and bar, a fixture on the Newport waterfront under various names for 28 years, will sail into history after the Labor Day fireworks and Riverfest celebration in September.

        In an agreement between Barleycorn's owner, Ken Heil, and city officials, Mr. Heil has agreed to pay back rent and license fees and to close the restaurant after Sept. 30.

        The settlement calls for Barleycorn's to pay the city $90,000 in back rent in three monthly installments, plus about $10,000 in occupational and liquor license fees, and base rent for the period through September.

        “I believe the settle is fair from both sides,” said New port City Manager Phil Ciafardini.

        “If we had litigated, I didn't really expect to get anything for the city but the riverfront site ... no money.”

        Mr. Ciafardini has known Mr. Heil since both were growing up in the city's south end.

        “We don't want to forget that Ken is a Newport native,” Mr. Ciafardini said.

        “He came down to the river when it wasn't fashionable to invest in the city, when we first started the long road up. He was willing to invest in the city, and we appreciated that.”

        For Mr. Heil, who now lives in Fort Mitchell, the settlement marks the conclusion of a 16-year business that was one of the earliest and, at times, the most successful on the Northern Kentucky riverfront.

        “I've always been proud that I was there from the beginning,” he said Tuesday. “Considering the new aquarium and the many other restaurants now on the river, along with the current city administration, I've accomplished all that I can.”

        Barleycorn's will go out with a bang, according to the settlement, by once again being at the center of the Toyota/WEBN fireworks extravaganza Sept. 3 at the conclusion to Riverfest.

        The restaurant will remain open until Sept. 30, after which the city assumes possession of the site, including the parking lot lobelow the Newport Aquarium.

        Mr. Heil will be responsible for removing the barge from the site.

        The city filed for eviction in February, claiming Barleycorn's owed more than $125,000 in back lease payments. Barleycorn's counterclaimed that the city violated the lease by failing to obtain a grant to pave the parking lot.

        Both sides filed other actions in Campbell District and Circuit courts.

        Barleycorn's originally was known as the Newport Yacht Club, started in the 1960s by Helen Enzweiler, a member of Newport's Peluso family. The current Barleycorn's boat was a tow boat called the Neville,which Mrs. Enzweiler purchased in 1971 and added to the Yacht Club structure.

        Mr. Heil purchased the floating restaurant from Mrs. Enzweiler's brother, Dewey Peluso, in 1984.

        He owns and will continue to operate three other Barleycorn's restaurants - in Cold Spring, Lakeside Park and downtown Cincinnati - and the Blue Moon Saloon in Hyde Park.


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