The Beachcomber’s History
There were many restaurants and inns on Conesus Lake prior to the early 1930’s; most of them are gone forever! The Beachcomber on West Lake Road, Conesus Lake, NY still remains and is in full operation. Built by B.C. Mehlenbacher of Dansville and named for his wife, it was called “Peg’s Point," and originated as a small grocery store, with gas pumps at the road. In 1933, it became a restaurant and taproom, after surviving prohibition.
Around 1952, Bob Corris of Rochester purchased and did extensive remodeling, creating a “South Sea Island” atmosphere and renamed it The Beachcomber. This included importing a sand beach with artificial palm trees. Corris promoted the Beachcomber and it became one of the top resort & restaurants in Western New York before he lost it in bankruptcy. Within three or four years it changed hands and Bob Clifford tried to operate the Beachcomber for about two years.
Paul & Eleanor Kiedrowski owned the establishment for about 3 years from approximately 1961 until 1964. They had several other restaurants and were quite established in business. Paul was the executive chef while Eleanor handled all the baking and was said to make many delicious items and desserts! After Paul's unexpected death the family was devastated and closed for business, never to reopen.
Walter Broman acquired the Beachcomber in 1965 and operated it for about 20 years, with family members like the late John "JB: Broman, and Jimmy Broman. Jimmy ran it from about the Mid '70s. Early on, there were parakeets (and stories of a monkey) in cages, as well as a Macaw, and a parrot. There was white sand on the floor inside and palm trees, in and out. At some point, there was a go-go cage where people would come to enjoy dancing from the area and Rochester. Hotel rooms would be rented to guests to come to enjoy the lake and Beachcomber food and fun. The house on the road front just north of the Beachcomber was owned as well and was a liquor store for a period and later a water ski shop.
Tom and Diane Wallen owned the property for approximately 17 years. They leased it out to various people during that time, typically for 1 or 2 years each. A house once stood where the Cabana is today. It caught fire and a pole barn to store boats was built in its place. When the Wallens owned the property, the pole barn was converted into a bar known fondly as The Cabana! The restaurant itself became difficult to operate as it was in ill repair in many ways for a few years. The motel rooms upstairs remained mostly storage areas, as they needed much attention. During the years when the Wallons owned the property, the storage/party room was converted into a bar that was called the Pavilion. Later renovated and renamed by the Mays before they opened, & fondly now known as the Cabana & Dockside Grill! In spring 2015 the volleyball court was built to host weekly adult leagues! In Spring 2017 the Cabana was renovated into the bar you see
On March 10, 2005, Tom & Mary Alice May purchased the property. Since then, extensive remodeling has been completed, and has continued yearly with constant improvements. This amazing property has evolved into a hot spot once again! The Beachcomber now offers a variety of food, drinks and entertainment for everyone. We aim to serve delicious food and festive beverages, with a great staff dedicated to the service of our guests. You can find everything in one beautiful location. With two restaurants, we provide indoor and outdoor dining for casual and upscale food options. Additionally, enjoy our sandy beach for kids to be kids, 50 docks for seasonal, overnight, and patrons, a bonfire pit, live music, a sand volleyball court for league play, and renovated overnight guest rooms overlooking the lake - all with an amazing view! We also offer year round catering and banquets onsite and off, and of course takeout.
We aim to provide memories for all occasions! Summer brings fun for all ages of course, however throughout the fall and winter we keep things going with themed parties! Join us for our annual Halloween party, Brunch with Santa, Holiday gatherings, our very own Winter Festival, Mardi Gras, a Fishing Derby, St. Patrick's Day party, an Annual Polar Plunge for Vincent House, and Easter/Mothers Day Brunches! There's never a dull moment to meet with friends and make new ones!
Today, Tom serves as your Executive Chef, serving wonderful, fresh, house made dishes while Mary Alice handles the catering, accounting and overall daily operations. Together with their son Thomas & their excellent staff and family, The Beachcomber has continued to be a time-honored tradition in the wonderful Finger Lakes!
When you come to visit, please note several historic Conesus Lake photos on the inside walls of the Crab Shack Restaurant including various ones of the Beachcomber through the years. Help us complete our history! If you have any pictures, documents, or information about the Beachcomber, please drop them off or send them to us at [email protected]. If you have a story, this is a great way to tell it! If you haven't met us, please ask your server or bartender to let us know so we can stop over to say hello. We look forward to having you!