For almost half a century, The Landing restaurant and bar along the Delaware River in New Hope has been a beloved part of the community. With its scenic views and flair for friendliness, crowds of locals and tourists flocked to the unique spot.
Owners Chris and Denise Bollenbacher announced last week that they’ve sold their riverfront business to Landmark Hospitality’s Frank and Jeanne Cretella.
“It’s been my life,” said Chris Bollenbacher, who opened the restaurant when he was 22. “I’ll miss it and I’m thankful to everyone who supported us. It’s a wonderful town.”
The Cretellas plan to reopen the business, which has been closed since November due to the pandemic, in April and operate it much as before until the fall, when sweeping renovations will begin, said Frank Cretella. All The Landing’s staff has been offered jobs with the new business, he said.
Plans call for the adjacent Fred’s Breakfast Club building to be razed and replaced with a two-story, 44-room “boutique hotel,” Cretella said. The club’s 1,400 members will be welcomed into the newly designed Landing, he noted, where breakfast will be served for hotel guests and the larger community.
All the plans are preliminary and no formal hearings have begun. Informal meetings with borough officials, Cretella said, have found support.
Saying he and his wife “fell in love” with New Hope and The Landing decades ago, Cretella said he wants his design to “be respectful” of the waterfront and the property’s beautiful views that take in the New Hope-Lambertville Bridge.
While the proposed hotel will include a riverfront deck for guests, a public walkway and the existing public docks will remain, said Cretella. A cruise barge may also be docked there, he added.
The historic house that currently houses The Landing’s dining room will stay, but the various additions, including the outdoor bar will be taken down. The new, smaller, “more intimate” interior will feature an open kitchen and a “land and sea” menu. The multimillion dollar project will offer total seating for 120, including indoor and outdoor dining, said Cretella.
Denise Bollenbacher said she and her husband are pleased with Cretella’s vision. “We’re happy with what he’s thinking,” she said. “We’ve enjoyed getting to know him. He’s a man of his word.”
Landmark also owns the Logan Inn and the Mansion Inn in New Hope and Hotel Du Village in Solebury, as well as several other venues in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.