Amy’s is open, but still for sale

PORT ORCHARD — Two questions seem to be uppermost on the minds of South Kitsap fine diners: “Has Amy’s On The Bay been sold?” And, “Why is Amy’s closed?”

The answers to the questions are direct and simple, said the business’s owner, Amy Creed: “Not yet” and an emphatic “no.”

Creed said the false rumor that the Port Orchard waterfront restaurant has closed probably germinated on local social-media group postings on Facebook and Twitter.

“I just want people to know that we’re still open for business,” said Creed, who opened the restaurant in March 2006.

“I’ve got people who have said, ‘I’m so sorry you’re closed or else I would have visited.’ When I tell them we’re open, they say, ‘Oh, then I’ll come down this weekend.’ It’s pretty widespread that people think we’re closed.”

The business owner estimated Amy’s attracted 80,000 customers last year.

Despite the restaurant’s doors remaining open for lunch and evening diners each day, Creed believes the rumor has affected business somewhat. She said her numbers are down for Amy’s and its companion restaurant, Sidelines.

“We get phone calls every day from people asking if we’re open. Some don’t even bother calling and just message me on Facebook or email to say ‘I’m so sorry you’re closed.’ ”

Since the two restaurants were listed for sale as a tandem Sept. 30 with Old Towne Realty of Port Orchard, Creed has gotten a steady flow of interested buyers to contact her. But so far, a deal hasn’t materialized. She says the holidays have had a lot to do with the slow pace of her real estate proposition.

“I still have two interested local buyers, but I don’t know if I’m going to get an offer before Christmas, because the holidays are so busy for people,” Creed said. “I can tell you that the two parties are local and have some local experience, which is ideal for me. But I’m open to whatever is out there.”

She said interest has been shown by potential buyers across the U.S., including those in New York City, Los Angeles, Jacksonville, Florida, Atlanta and nearby Seattle.

While getting to a deal has slowed, Creed said the pace “is about what I expected. This is not a small business deal. We’re talking about two businesses being purchased at the same time.”

The restaurant owner said if she could start the real estate process over again, she would have placed the businesses on the market earlier in the year. Two of the potential owners are local, she said: one is an operator of a Port Orchard fine dining restaurant. The other has broad business experience in Central and South Kitsap.

“It’s probably a matter for them of getting through the holiday madness to sit down,” Creed said. “They’ve already gone through the financials of Amy’s and we are now going over the financials for Sidelines with them.”

Creed is asking $550,000 for the two businesses. The price does not include the building, which is owned by El Dorado Hills Co.

Family, not restaurant management, is now her near-term priority. Earlier this year, Creed said the time was ripe to expand her family. She, her husband and their 21-month-old baby live in Port Orchard.