NEWBURYPORT — The restaurant property at the corner of High and Green streets has seen happier days.
It wasn't long ago that patrons from across the city flocked to the popular BluWater Cafe when it occupied the 140 High St. spot. Before that, the former Mall Restaurant enjoyed a steady stream of regulars.
But since Cafe Europa, an Italian/Lebanese restaurant that most recently filled the space, closed down last year, the property has been dormant. Instead of drawing customers for lunch and dinner, its closed doors have drawn questions from the community on what's to become of the once-thriving restaurant space.
On Thursday, the building is slated to be sold at public auction. According to John McInnis Auctioneers of Amesbury, which has been contracted by Provident Bank to handle the auction, the landmark restaurant space is being handled as a foreclosure sale.
Salem Registry of Deeds records lists the owners as Mark and Catherine Miller under Z&L Realty Trust.
Cafe Europa owners Mike and Dee Farah were the last to operate the commercial condominium space as a restaurant. They opened the spot in fall 2009, trying their hand at authentic Lebanese cuisine, coupled with a mix of Italian dishes that chef Mike Farah cooked himself to positive reviews.
A year or so after the opening, Cafe Europa was gone. It's unknown whether limited business or a pending foreclosure action on Z&L Realty Trust prompted the closure.
Now, it will fall upon someone new to see if they can be successful at the high-profile corner location.
According to John McInnis Auctioneers' website, the commercial condominium is approximately 4,239 square feet and "can be ready for operation in very little time."
The bidding will begin at 10 a.m. Thursday. Prospective bidders should register one hour before the auction and bring cash or a certified bank check in the amount of $20,000. The property can be viewed by appointment by calling 800-822-1417.