NEWBURYPORT — When it comes to The Goat, a lot has been up in the air recently. Will Tom Brady retire or return to the Patriots? And will The Goat restaurant proposed on Merrimac Street ever open?
Brady’s fate will likely be decided sooner as a cease-and-desist order slapped on the restaurant’s owners by the city in December remains in place.
The Goat is a popular chain of restaurants owned by The Fleury Group, with locations in Hampton, Manchester and Portsmouth, New Hampshire.
The Hampton-based company initially planned to open Luchos Barra de Tequila in October 2021 in the space at 54R Merrimac St. owned by Newburyport Development, part of the Steve Carp-owned New England Development.
The Newburyport Building Department, however, issued a cease-and-desist order for the new restaurant, which was renamed The Goat, in early December.
Building Commissioner Gregory Earls said the restaurant’s contractors had yet to submit completed, updated designs for the project at the time. The cease-and-desist order was issued to give the contractors a chance to also show how the building would conform to the Americans with Disabilities Act.
“We are just on hold and are waiting for them. It’s that simple,” he said. “We’re not pushing them and the building is buttoned up tight. So it’s up to them.”
Little is known when those plans will make their way to Earls’ office at City Hall.
New England Development General Manager Christopher Skiba declined to comment on the matter and Albert Fleury, owner of The Fleury Group, did not return a phone call Wednesday.
The Fleury Group does not have a phone number listed on its website, where Luchos Barra de Tequila continues to be listed as a restaurant “coming soon” to Newburyport.
The Merrimac Street space was previously occupied by Plum Island Coffee Roasters and its former owner, at-large City Councilor Bruce Vogel, spoke out against New England Development in 2021 for not extending his lease after 15 years of business.
Staff writer Jim Sullivan covers Newburyport for The Daily News. He can be reached via email at email@example.com or by phone at 978-961-3145. Follow him on Twitter @ndnsully.