When the Millie’s restaurant team announced its intention to open a new fast/casual restaurant known as “Surfside” on The Strip on Broad Street, owner Bo Blair said one of the major challenges would be finding housing for the additional employees needed to staff the new establishment.
At the time, Blair told the Current: "It's incredibly difficult to operate on the island, as everyone knows, so we’re searching for an employee house that will cost somewhere around $2 million, which is completely insane.”
This week, Blair checked that goal off his list after closing a deal to buy 35 Bartlett for $1.48 million. The three-bedroom, 1.5 bathroom home was originally built in 1970.
On Thursday Blair told the Current “we were lucky to get an employee house for what seems amazingly enough to be a reasonable price. Fortunately we’re in a position to buy a $1.5 million employee house. It’s just crazy. If we weren’t able to do that, there’s no way we would be able to open a new business.”
He paused before adding: “Man…it’s difficult.”
It’s become common for island businesses to secure staff housing for their employees through leasing or buying existing housing units around the island. And of course they’re not the first to make such a major investment. But Blair said he never imagined doing so would require the amount of resources he just outlayed to acquire a modest residence for his staff.
While the initial goal was to have Surfside operating this month, Blair said the opening date will likely be pushed into June.
“We’re trying,” he said. “We’re making a lot of progress. Sometime before mid-June. It’s taking us a couple extra weeks more than I thought.”
You can read more about the concept for Surfside by clicking here.