On Monday, August 15, 2016 Hillstone Restaurant Group posted an announcement on their Facebook page that they will no longer allow boats to dock at their Houston’s restaurant in Pompano Beach. This caught our attention because the City of Boca Raton has been negotiating with Hillstone to build and operate a restaurant on the City owned Wildflower property, which is adjacent to the Intracoastal Waterway.

Background on the Wildflower situation can be found starting here: Ready-set-do-nothing

The original Hillstone proposal for the Wildflower site included docks, but no docks are in their latest site plan. Furthermore, the current lease agreement indicates that the City can, at its own expense, build and maintain docks at the site but only with Hillstone’s approval. Given that Hillstone feels that boaters detract from the dining experience, the probability of Hillstone approving dockage for the Wilflower site is very low.

Following is the text of Hillstone’s announcement on their Facebook page. Houstons Pompano Beach on Facebook

Effective Tuesday, August 16th 2016, Houston’s Pompano Beach will be permanently closing the dock to all boat traffic. The decision was made with careful consideration. While we recognize boating is part of the culture and appeal of the Intracostal Waterway, we do not feel dockage is an amenity that contributes to our goal of providing a first rate dining experience for our guests. We sincerely apologize for any disappointment this might cause our boating enthusiasts, but are hopeful this change will reduce the wait times that result from large amounts of boating traffic.

This announcement has generated over 1,000 comments and has been shared over 700 times. Almost all of the comments are negative regarding the announcement and the restaurant. To save our readers some time, we copied 10 typical comments and included them below:

Shelly Gillette Mellon – We stopped going because they refuse to accommodate children by having NO high chairs. “They’re too hard to clean” Try eating with a toddler squirming in your lap

Randy Rogers – Beginning of the end. I have seen this movie before.

Matt Temkin – Speckle trout and sautéed snapper u can only have it that way because it’s frozen. Only snowbirds and tourist like this place

Jim Clarke – Houstons we have a problem…no more patronage from me by land or sea

Michael Garrett – Out of business within 2 yrs. Idiots!

Louis Luigi Migliaccio – How does having dockage take away from having a “first rate” dining experience? We stopped here once a couple of years ago with our boat, menu stunk and we never went back. Soon there will be no wait times because there will be no customers. What a joke

Liz Schiff-King – Same parent company that wants to open a Hillstone restaurant on the water in Boca (pretty much the only commercial property on the water) with NO docking and wanted to take some of the boat ramps parking as well. They have pissed off the boaters in Boca and they haven’t even come to an agreement yet! Check the page: Save Boca’s Silver Palm Park Boat Ramp

Terry Delmonaco – I just sent out a blast email corporate wide to all our managers and sales people informing them not to take clients here anymore. I sent it to 14 branch offices around the country. I don’t think the idiot that decided to shut down the dock thought this one out. We have many people in our organization that fly into our Deerfield Beach branch for meetings and take clients and associates to Houston’s. That has just ended

Jason Jacobs – No parties of 6 or more at 1 table, no kids’ high chairs allowed and now no boats, doesn’t feel like management cares too much about its customers.

Ron Alan – Their decision to turn their backs on boaters will undoubtedly affect their ability to secure a lease on the Wildflower property along Boca’s Intracoastal Waterway.

So there you have it. Not only has the situation regarding the Wildflower property been a disaster for the City and its citizens, but it looks like the City’s partner in the public-private partnership is also a disaster.

If you agree that the Wildflower site should be a downtown public space instead a chain restaurant, please tell the mayor and council members. It’s easy by using the following link: City Council contact info