Cody's BBQ on East Main Street closed down in May, after less than three years in business. (Photo: Peter Blasl)


The Cody’s BBQ site is now in the hands of the bank that held a $770,000 mortgage on the property.

Suffolk County property records show that Downtown Riverhead Holdings LLC of East Hampton on June 10 conveyed title to the property to Bridge Land Corp., a subsidiary of Bridge Bancorp Inc. A spokesperson for Bridgehampton National Bank confirmed that the bank has taken title to the property but said she did not yet know the bank’s plans for marketing the property.

Builder Ray Dickhoff, who built Summerwind Square, where he is a partner in the popular new eatery Joe’s Garage, said a BNB official recently approached him to say the bank is looking to sell the Cody’s site for $950,000.

“It’s a turn-key sale,” Dickhoff said, “for the property, the business, the fixtures, everything.”

Cody’s shut down abruptly in May. In a May 17 interview, Cody’s owner Richard Ghirardi Sr. blamed a bad economy, Hurricane Sandy and the struggling downtown business district for the decline of the restaurant and bar, which he opened with his son Richard Jr. in August 2011.

Rich Ghirardi Sr. at Cody's in August 2011. (Photo: Peter Blasl)“I loved Cody’s, but unfortunately this is a business decision I had to make,” he told RiverheadLOCAL. “If it was at least covering expenses, it would be different,” he said. “I have a ton of money sunk into that place,” he said. “I just couldn’t do it any more. It’s just enough already.”

But two waitresses who worked there told the News-Review the restaurant was abruptly closed May 14 after employees found a N.Y. State Workers Compensation Board stop-work order on a basement fax machine. A spokesman for the Workers Compensation Board told the newspaper that the stop-work order was issued May 12 after an investigator found the restaurant still operating almost nine months after its workers’ compensation insurance policy had been canceled. The restaurant faced more than $30,000 in penalties for operating without workers’ compensation insurance, according to the newspaper report.

2014 0517 codysDickhoff said he thought the Cody’s location, with its long deck and outdoor bar
“would be a great spot for a seafood place.”

Ghirardi’s company, Downtown Rhd Holdings LLC, purchased the property, the former longtime home of Villella Shoes, in October 2006 for $1.1 million. Ghirardi, an East Hampton builder, renovated the the building for use as a restaurant.

Michael’s on the Boardwalk, an upscale continental restaurant, operated there from 2006 to 2009.

After Michael’s closed, Ghirardi rented the site to the Casa Rica Restaurant and Sports Bar in 2009. The Casa Rica was the scene of numerous police incidents on and around the premises — including arrests for serving alcohol to minors, multiple fights, a stabbing and a machete attack that seriously injured a patron, and many town code violations. The State Liquor Authority brought charges against Casa Rica’s operator, Potrerillo’s Corp., which surrendered its license and closed the bar in November 2010.

Ghirardi renovated the building again into a western-themed BBQ place. Former Riverhead councilman Victor Prusinowski joined Ghirardi as a general manager. It opened in August 2011.

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Denise is a veteran local reporter, editor and attorney. Her work has been recognized with numerous journalism awards, including investigative reporting and writer of the year awards from the N.Y. Press Association. She was also honored in 2020 with a NY State Senate Woman of Distinction Award for her trailblazing work in local online news. She is a founder, owner and co-publisher of this website.Email Denise.