It was an intense few months of renovation, but PJ Lobster House has a new home Down Port.
Formerly located on the corner of Main Street and North Country Road in Upper Port, owner James Luciano had to move when The Gitto Group purchased the property for a planned apartment complex.
The new space, located at 134 Main St., in the former Ocean 88 restaurant location, needed to be completely redone, Luciano said. But the outcome is a good one.
“It feels more like a restaurant now,” he said.
Luciano has owned PJ Lobster House for 20 years, after taking over the space from its original owner.
And he wanted to homage to him in the new location, according to local artist Linda Alfin. She, alongside fellow Port Jeff artist Jennifer Hannaford, were asked to paint a large mural inside the seating area.
Luciano “asked me to paint a specific type of fishing boat the old owner used,” Alfin said.
The detail on the scene is impeccable. Hannaford, known for her water imagery, detailed the waves where the boat floats.
“We painted the numbers on the boat to symbolize when the restaurant first opened,” Hannaford said.
Both artists were thrilled to help decorate the new space.
“We’re not just local artists, we’re neighbors,” Hannaford said. “We’re so grateful to be a part of it. It’s nice when people in the village see and care about local art.”
Alfin agreed. “We both live in this town, so to help out in any way we can is great,” she said.
But the painting is just part of the renovation. Luciano said they had to gut the space, but in doing so added a bar — something they didn’t have at the former spot — and moved the beloved fish market to the front of the restaurant, detached from the dining areas.
Overall, the restaurant can hold more than 50 more customers than the old location did, going from 90 people to about 140.
“The kitchen is doubled in size,” Luciano added. “Because of the pandemic, we were getting hit with a lot of takeout orders, so it will better equip us for that.”
The new PJ Lobster House is open every day from 12 until 9 p.m.