Opening up a new restaurant during a pandemic is risky business as many local restaurants have had to alter their operations, resulting in a slash in sales. 

But Joshua Smith says fear will let stop him from serving seafood to a community he knows well.

“Opening a business, at any point you feel vulnerable. There is a lot of fear behind it, fear of failure,” said the former chef and partner at Short & Main in Gloucester. “Things are going to be drastically different from what we envisioned, but it is important to keep moving forward.”

Smith is collaborating with his wife Ariel Smith, who formerly worked at Neptune Oyster Bar in Boston, and her sister Sarah Clasby Becker to open their new restaurant Talise on June 15. 

The name means “beautiful, lovely waters,” which Smith believes captures a sense of place considering the restaurant’s location — perched over  picturesque Lobster Cove in Annisquam. 

“I always said that when I was looking at places that I would know as soon as I walked in,” Joshua Smith explained. 

When he walked into 33 River Road property, formerly The Market Restaurant, “it just felt right.” 

The 64-seat seasonal restaurant will serve seafood, crudos, oysters, picked-that-day salad greens and vegetables, and naturally leavened bread made from the same starter that Smith used for the pizza dough at Short & Main.  

The wine list will reflect the food and focus on growers who embrace the same beliefs of the Cape Ann farmers who deliver the produce daily.

“We have been looking in the back of our minds for some time, knowing that we wanted to do something on our own,” said Ariel Smith, explaining that when the owners of The Market Restaurant, Nico and Amelia Monday, decided to sell they jumped at the opportunity. 

The Mondays opened The Market in 2010 and had decided to close before the coronavirus pandemic hit. They are still involved at Short & Main, which they opened with partners in 2013.

The Mondays did not return the Times’ calls for comment in time for publication. 

For the beginning of the season at Talise, there will be take-out, no contact curbside pick-up along with beach picnic baskets and ready-to-eat meal kits that can be preordered for next day pick-up or delivery. 

While the hours of operation are yet to be determined, Smith and company are eager to open and provide care to the community through food. 

“We are adjusting as much as we can along with the rest of the world, and we hope to be something that helps people feel hope,” Smith said. “We hope we can be a space and a place that the community can feel better during this time through food and community.”

Staff writer Taylor Ann Bradford can be reached at 978-675-2705 or

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