Metro

Panel awaits engineer’s report on whether Cape Cod seafood shack will fall into ocean

Liam’s has been a staple for visitors to Orleans for decades since it opened in the 1950s, but a storm that ravaged the beach last weekend caused extreme erosion.
Barry Chin/Globe Staff
Liam’s has been a staple for visitors to Orleans for decades since it opened in the 1950s, but a storm that ravaged the beach last weekend caused extreme erosion.

Liam’s seafood shack on Nauset Beach will have to wait a bit longer to learn its fate, but its owner already has begun to grieve.

Liam’s has been a staple for visitors to Orleans for decades since it opened in the 1950s, but a storm that ravaged the beach last weekend caused extreme erosion, and Liam’s is at risk of tumbling into the Atlantic.

The town on Wednesday delayed a decision on whether the summertime haven will have to be razed, as selectmen await an official evaluation from an engineer. That vote is now scheduled for Monday night.

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The board is also evaluating Nauset Beach as a whole, where the Town of Orleans owns a parking lot, administration buildings, and bathrooms.

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“We’re trying to find out when nature is going to take over,” Selectman Alan McClennen said at a meeting Wednesday.

For John Ohman, the owner of Liam’s for nearly three decades, the goodbye to his beloved restaurant already feels inevitable.

“I am beginning to feel like a death in the family — extreme loss and sorrow, then periods of remembering what a great time our family had there for 28 years,” Ohman said. “Our three sons have really never known life without Liam’s and Nauset Beach being an integral part of it.”

Ohman said he isn’t sure how he will respond to the board’s decision, which also includes a vote to terminate his contract to lease the building, which was supposed to cover several more years.

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“I’ll know more about the termination when they take action Monday,” he said.

The second nor’easter in a week hit Massachusetts’ coast Wednesday night, but Ohman said the restaurant’s condition is “pretty much the same” as after high tides ravaged the area during last weekend’s nor’easter.

“The building itself is holding up for now,” he said. “The sand under the foundation is extremely fragile.”

Laney Ruckstuhl can be reached at laney.ruckstuhl@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @laneyruckstuhl.