LONG ISLAND CITY — A Queens restaurant and wedding venue that's been under fire since its owner was indicted on bribery and fraud charges last month says it will reopen under new management later this week.
A man who identified himself as the new manager of Water's Edge told DNAinfo that the eatery is closed for renovations and will reopen Friday night under a new staff that's "here to bring a positive change," to the troubled venue.
"There's been a lot of controversial, negative media presence," said the manager, who did not want to give his name. "We're trying to bring back the iconic establishment."
The restaurant, located at the end of 44th Drive overlooking the East River, once earned rave reviews on wedding planning websites but has recently found itself in hot water after owner Harendra Singh was indicted on a slew of federal charges last month.
Those include accusations that he bribed a government employee on Long Island, and that he fraudulently reported losses that Water's Edge suffered during Hurricane Sandy in order to score federal relief funds, according to prosecutors.
Last week, Newsday reported that Water's Edge shuttered after workers walked out, telling the paper they hadn't been paid in weeks. ABC News reported Friday that one couple who was supposed to be married there this past weekend showed up to find the venue locked up with a sign saying it was closed for renovations.
The new manager who spoke to DNAinfo said Singh still the owns Water's Edge, but that the restaurant will be run by new management moving forward. He said this week's closure was due to minor renovations — including new flooring and other "sprucing up" — but that they plan to reopen Friday for dinner.
The manager also assured that the venue will be open for weddings and any other future events that are booked at the space. It will be taking reservations for holiday parties and hosting events for Thanksgiving and Christmas, he said.
"We are fully available," he said. "I have full confidence in my team."
But the restaurant's recent troubles have been enough to scare off some couples, including bride-to-be Deirdre Galvin, 25, who planned her May wedding at Water's Edge, and even booked a ferry to usher guests from her neighborhood in Rockaway Beach to the waterfront venue.
But she and her fiancé decided to book another venue for their big day after seeing a Gothamist article about Water's Edge last month which said it "may be the next ReBar," comparing it to the popular Brooklyn wedding space that abruptly closed last year, leaving couples in the lurch.
"We were panicking," Galvin said. "Our save the dates have gone out, and our family has booked hotels."
The couple is hoping to get their $2,500 deposit back from Water's Edge and booked another space for their wedding this spring instead.
"It's too risky to stay with them," Galvin said.
An attorney representing Singh declined to comment for this story.