At the April 23 City Council meeting, Mayor Sack announced that the City and the Rye Golf Club Commission had reached an agreement to sign an exclusive Whitby Castle catering deal with Lessing’s, Inc.
By Tom McDermott
At the April 23 City Council meeting, Mayor Sack announced that the City and the Rye Golf Club Commission had reached an agreement to sign an exclusive Whitby Castle catering deal with Lessing’s, Inc. The company was chosen from six candidates who responded to December’s RFP.
The deal with Lessing’s was described as a very good one for the club and the City, although it was not necessarily the most lucrative. Council liaisons Kirstin Bucci and Terry McCarthy, both RGC members, said that Lessing’s was the best potential partner and fit for the club, especially since it has experience operating with country clubs and municipal golf clubs.
The Council voted 6-0 in favor of the agreement, which begins May 1 (Deputy Mayor Laura Brett was absent).
Lessing’s was founded in 1890 and six generations of the Lessing family have operated the food service and restaurant business, headquartered in Great River, Long Island, near Islip. It provides restaurant and catering services at several state and county owned golf clubs on Long Island, including Timber Point, which Michael Lessing said is very similar to Rye Golf Club’s business.
Commenting on the new contract, Mr. Lessing told the paper, “Our company is excited about entering the Westchester market. Whitby Castle, with its sweeping views, is a great building. We look forward to hosting local fund raisers and being part of the Rye community.”
In the Agreement with RGC, Lessing’s will pay a $25,000 minimum to the club this year, followed by $150,000 in 2015, and $200,000 in 2016. That last figure would represent at least an $800,000 swing from last season’s $600,000 loss, as noted by Sack in his comments prior to the vote.
Additionally, Sack said that the club has a revenue-sharing arrangement with the new provider. Lessing’s will also commit $50,000 each year towards marketing the Castle.
Sack alluded to a somewhat difficult process as disagreements arose between the City and the Commission as to what was the best catering course to take. But, it appeared that most of that was in the past, at least for a night. The Mayor praised the Commission members and Peter Marshall and Angela Sposatto who led the RFP team.
Addressing the Council, RGC Commission member Leon Sculti said he wanted club members to know that all the commissioners were united throughout the process to do what was best for members. He emphasized the commissioners’ lack of any “consternation” among them, as the process unfolded. Sack acknowledged the fact, but told him, “We’re not doing this just for you; we’re doing this for the whole City.”
Wasting no time in getting started, Lessing’s has already listed Whitby Castle as one of its wedding venues.