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In Portsmouth: Goodbye, Reidy’s — hello, Mindy’s

Restaurant sold after Covid closed its doors

By Jim McGaw
Posted 9/29/20

PORTSMOUTH — The greasy spoon where you could get all the local scuttlebutt over a cup of joe and a plate of bacon and eggs is no more.

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In Portsmouth: Goodbye, Reidy’s — hello, Mindy’s

Restaurant sold after Covid closed its doors


PORTSMOUTH — The greasy spoon where you could get all the local scuttlebutt over a cup of joe and a plate of bacon and eggs is no more.

Reidy’s Family Restaurant, a Portsmouth institution since the ’50s, was recently sold by owner Bob Collins, who couldn’t find an economically feasible way to keep the dining establishment open under strict Covid-19 guidelines.

The building located at 3351 East Main Road recently sold for $350,000 to Yu L. Zhang, who plans to re-open it as Mindy’s within the next few months.

On Monday, the Town Council, sitting as the Board of License Commissioners, voted unanimously to advertise for a public hearing to consider Ms. Zhang’s application for a Class BV beverage license for Mindy’s. That hearing is set for Monday, Oct. 26. 

Ms. Zhang, who goes by “Mindy,” has another restaurant on Broadway in Newport called Umi’s Asian Cuisine. She plans on keeping breakfast at her new venture, while serving Asian food — including sushi — at lunch and dinner. 

Reidy’s was originally owned by Steve Reidy, who sold the business to Mr. Collins in 1994 after the latter had operated it for two years under a lease.

Trail easement considered

In other business Monday night, the council voted unanimously to enter into discussions with Aquidneck Land Trust (ALT) regarding the use of property at town-owned Glen Farm.

The nonprofit ALT is undergoing a fund-raising campaign to preserve 7.5 acres of property to the north of Glen Farm Stables. ALT is seeking a town easement over a portion of the stables property in order to make the property part of the existing Sakonnet Greenway Trail.

“In times of the pandemic, we’re seeing huge increases of the use of all of our trail systems,” ALT Executive Director Chuck Allott told the council. He requested tentative approval of the easement, and then ALT would return at a later date for formal approval of a memorandum of understanding.

Council member Len Katzman said while he liked the idea, he was hesitant to support any easement in perpetuity without knowing the longterm ramifications. 

“When we grant easements, we give up the rights to do other things there that we may want to do,” Mr. Katzman said.

Council member Keith Hamilton said be believed the maximum length of an easement the town may approve is 10 years, after which time it could be renewed.

Mr. Allott said the easement doesn’t need to be in perpetuity, and that those details could be worked out during the discussions with the town.

School board opening

The council accepted with regret the resignation of Cate Holtman from the School Committee, effective Sept. 1, and also approved a process to select a new member to fill her vacancy.

Council Vice President Linda Ujifusa proposed the selection process, which must be carried out by the Town Council since it’s too late to put another candidate on the November ballot as nomination papers were due by July 10. (There will be three candidates for School Committee on the ballot — all incumbents running unopposed.)

Per the selection process, which was approved unanimously, the town clerk will solicit applications by advertising the open position and qualified candidates must apply by noon on Nov. 13.

Written applications need to include the following: 

• a résumé

• a cover letter that covers why they want to serve on the school board, their major goals and why they’d be a good member

• a statement saying they are willing and able to carry out all school board responsibilities outlined in a memo by the superintendent of schools

At the Nov. 23 Town Council meeting, the applicants will make a short personal statement and answer questions from the council (via Zoom or in person), and the council will then select a candidate to fill the vacancy.

Other resignations

The council also accepted with regret the resignations of Allison Serina, Katrine Hansen and Renate Marek from the Portsmouth Housing Authority.

Three candidates to fill those vacancies — Gary Gump, Jim Seveney and Terri Cortvriend — were listed on Monday’s agenda. However, the council unanimously voted to re-advertise the positions and make the appointments at the Oct. 26 meeting.

New ballot drop box

Town Administrator Richard Rainer, Jr. announced that a new ballot drop box has been installed at the main entrance to Town Hall. He thanked the Department of Public Works for working with the Canvassing Authority in getting the box put in place.

Mr. Rainer said the R.I. Board of Elections has committed to funding a security system for the drop box.

Future meetings

Here’s the upcoming schedule for future council meetings:

• 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 13

• 9 a.m. on Saturday, Oct. 17 (annual meeting focusing on Prudence Island issues)

• 7 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 26

• 7 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 9

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