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! One that still remains and is in full operation is the Beachcomber on West Lake Road, Conesus Lake, NY. 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 and Eleanor Kiedrowski then owned the establishment for 4-5 years from approximately 1959-1963. Paul Kiedrowski was the executive chef while Eleanor handled all the baking. At some point throughout the years, there were cages of parakeets and monkeys behind the bar and go-go dancers in a cage in the area where our “Fireside” dining area is now located.
Walter Broman acquired the Beachcomber in the 60’s and operated it for over 20 years, with family members like the late John “J.B.” Broman. At some point, the now “Lakeside Dining Room” was enclosed from a patio to a dining area.
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. During the years when the Wallens owned the property the pole barn was converted into a bar which is now 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 as storage areas mostly, as they needed much attention too.
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 off or send to us at info@beachcomberNY.com. 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!