02/02/2012 06:48 PM NY1 Exclusive: Coney Island Business Owner To Move Entire Building From Boardwalk

By: Jeanine Ramirez

A Coney Island business owner is being forced to leave the boardwalk, and he’s taking his whole building with him—literally.

Steve Bitetzakis is fighting back the only way he knows how. He lost his battle to keep his business, Steve’s Grill House, on the Coney Island boardwalk and now he’s taking the whole building with him. “It’s better than nothing, because they were looking to take the building from me,” says Bitetzakis. Bitetzakis erected the modular building back in 1993 on land that’s changed owners several times over the years. The city now owns the land, but the Grill House is not part of plans for the new Coney Island. His lease was not renewed after the end of the season, but Bitetzakis says the building is his and a judge agreed he could keep it. However, he must move it if he wants it.

Bitetzakis says he plans on moving his building on February 10. The structure sits on concrete columns reinforced in steel and will be lifted with hydraulic jacks. “They’re going to move it on steel plates with dollies and they’re going to slowly move it to the new location,” says Bitetzakis. He’s still not sure where that new location will be, but Bitetzakis says it’ll be somewhere in Coney Island, although he’d rather remain on the boardwalk. “I have ocean view. I’ve been here. I’ve built up a nice business. Of course I’d love to stay here,” says Bitetzakis. He’s not the only one. Several other boardwalk businesses have been forced out to make way for new businesses near the new amusement parks. His staff and his customers say it’s not fair. “Steve definitely should’ve been here because he’s always provided a good service,” says employee Barry Flynn. “It’s amazing to me that they could put all these new businesses and leave him out. And he’s been here,” says customer Frank Collorio. Bitetzakis’ family has been operating boardwalk businesses since the 1950s. His father Gregory ran Gregory and Paul’s Concession for decades. “It’s in the blood. Coney Island is in my blood,” says Bitetzakis. He vows to continue his tradition of serving Coney Island customers, just not on the boardwalk.