One of Gloucester's most visible gateway business locations is springing back to life.
Brothers Jack and Chris Fallon and Patrick Silveira are teaming up to convert the former Friendly's restaurant off Grant Circle into a full-service family restaurant called the Saltwater Grille. Their goal is to open its doors in the Cape Ann Plaza in April.
The partners are in the midst of renovating the restaurant, which the Friendly's chain abruptly closed on just a few hours' notice to workers and customers nearly a year ago, into one with a full bar and tables.
The new restaurant will operate on a seasonal basis, Jack Fallon said, and is seeking a seasonal all-alcohol license from the city, which would allow alcohol sales from April 1 through Jan. 14, 2020. Alison Battle, who serves as clerk for the city's Licensing Board, said any establishment with a seasonal license cannot sell alcohol between Jan. 15 and March 31.
The three restaurateurs are coming at the project from diverse backgrounds.
Jack Fallon has worked managing the bar and beverage services for 27 years at Bass Rocks Golf Club on Beach Road, while Silveira has worked for years as a cook at Lobsta Land off Route 128 at Causeway Street, and Chris Fallon works in the computer industry.
Jack Fallon said the three are uniformly committed to their new venture, and were drawn to it in part by its location and opportunity.
"We know it's a great place," he said. "It attracts a lot of visitors, and the local base is very solid, so we're looking to reach out to a lot of our friends and neighbors.
"It has good parking. It has a beautiful view, especially," Fallon added. "It really is like a gateway to Gloucester when you think about it. It's hard to miss it when you're coming into the city."
The Fallons and Silveira will be leasing the site from the Hang Chin and Hong & Hang Realty Trusts, both based out of Brookline. The property is officially listed as being on Washington Street, which provides access to it and to the adjacent Jasmine Garden restaurant. The overall property is assessed at $1.049 million, city records show.
Jasmine Garden, which had sought but failed to get an all-alcohol license when the city's Licensing Board put one on the block two years ago, continues to operate on a seasonal basis. It is now closed, but is due to reopen April 1, a spokeswoman said. The Friendly's, a longtime staple of the Cape Ann Plaza, shut down for good last March 25 after having survived two earlier corporate bankruptcy cutbacks.
The Saltwater Grille, meanwhile, will spotlight seafood and other dinners, as well as a number of craft beers and other amenities. The restaurant faces a Licensing Board hearing on its bid for a seasonal alcohol license on March 12 at City Hall, with an approval — if granted — then passed on for ratification by the state's Alcohol Beverage Control Commission.
"We still have some things to do," Jack Fallon said. "We haven't fully set the menu or pricing yet, and we still have to dot some i's and cross the t's.
"But we're excited about it," he said. "We're looking forward to it, and we hope a lot of other people will be, too."
Ray Lamont can be reached at 978-675-2705, or firstname.lastname@example.org.