Damage Assessments Underway Across Cape Cod; Iconic Restaurant Among Storm Casualties

Liam’s Restaurant teeters on the edge at Nauset Beach in Orleans

ORLEANS – The powerful nor’easter last weekend wreaked havoc across the Cape Cod coastline and a legendary restaurant is one of the casualties.

Damage assessments are being conducted across the region and major erosion and structural damage has been reported from Town Neck Beach in Sandwich all the way to the Cape Cod National Seashore beaches on the Outer Cape.

The owner of Liam’s Restaurant at Nauset Beach in Orleans, John Ohman, says the town is tearing down the eatery at the end of the week.

“[It’s] not because the building is not solid, but there is no land structure around it,” Ohman said. “The ocean will eventually eat away underneath the building and it would eventually fall into the sea.”

Ohman called the storm a 100-year event.

“In two tide cycles, in the space of 13 hours, 60 or 70 feet of beach in front of Liam’s was destroyed,” he said.

Ohman has asked the town to seek emergency sand restoration from the National Park Service.

“I have heard no word nor do I know if it’s a feasible event,” Ohman said.

Even though the building will come down this week, Ohman said this is definitely not the end of the restaurant.

“I own the name. I own the recipes,” he said. “It will most likely will reappear at a different place on Cape Cod.”

The National Seashore’s Chief of Facility Maintenance Karst Hoogeboom says the stairs at Marconi Beach were destroyed, a road through a wetland in Provincetown was washed out and several buildings had roof damage from the intense winds.

“I don’t know if it’s as bad as it was in the January storm but we have had some damage,” Hoogeboom said.

The high bluffs also saw erosion.

“All of the high bluffs are quite dangerous at this point,” Hoogeboom said. “We are already seeing some cracks starting to form in the ground above them which means they are getting ready to let loose and fall down into the beach itself.”

There is also a lot less of the Herring Cove Beach North Parking Lot than there was before the storm.

“Our north end parking lot continues to take a beating,” he said.

The vault toilet building at the far northern end has had its foundation undermined at one corner.

“We’re in the process of getting a contract together to remove that and we will remove it this spring,” Hoogeboom said.

A new building is scheduled to be built in a different location after the summer season.

Hoogeboom said the January 4 storm was a game changer on the Outer Cape which began a process of changing the coastline.

“The January storm started it and this one continued that,” he said.

The destruction from the nor’easter at Town Neck Beach in Sandwich is also evident.

Large trees in the area have been uprooted and stairs have been wiped out from the waves. A section of the boardwalk is also gone.

The dunes at the beach also took a pounding as a small section has been eroded away.

The home closest to the parking lot was also destroyed.

Yarmouth’s Director of Natural Resources Karl von Hone said the coast saw some beach erosion and impacts to larger salt marshes.

Grey’s Beach saw additional erosion on top of what was lost during the January storm.

“The one saving grace was we didn’t have an ice pack that was being pushed around with the astronomical high tides,” von Hone said. “So we didn’t have damage that typical is done by ice floe but we did see quite a bit of erosion that has to be addressed in some time to come.”

Von Hone said the cumulative damage from the January 4 storm and last weekend’s nor’easter has not been seen in Yarmouth for at least 20 years.

By BRIAN MERCHANT, CapeCod.com NewsCenter

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