Harborside 1901 Bar and Grill will be Boothbay Harbor's newest addition to its evergrowing culinary scene. Local restaurateurs Ridvan Erman Celikel and Metehan Sahin are partnering with local sushi chef FNU Suji to bring a new spin on surf with a touch of turf. The trio decided at the end of last summer to open Harborside this year since several businesses have found success in the tumult of the pandemic.
“This was a big risk taking over a place where there's no open area,” said Sahin. “That was the biggest concern, if COVID is going to get easier for everybody or if it's just going to get worse. This was always a question mark, but thankfully with the new order, after May 24 it's going to be OK not to wear a mask if you're vaccinated. Hopefully this will bring better business for everybody.”
Celikel said the restaurant will serve lunch and dinner and will focus mainly on seafood, but will also offer a variety of other options like pork chops, chicken, steaks, vegetarian dishes and more. With a soft open to come shortly, after June 1, the staff will begin serving breakfast as well.
Suji said he sources fresh seafood locally whenever possible and, with a patronage’s appetite enough to consume 300 pounds or more of tuna every four to five days, it can be a tall order. But once the tuna is in the kitchen and Suji is filleting it, the specials begin to take shape, said Sahin.
“This beautiful harbor brings in lots of nice fresh seafood, so we try to (buy local) as much as we can. So, whether it's tuna or halibut, we are always looking …,” said Celikel.
Sylvia Guevara will run the kitchen and even though the restaurant is not yet open, she has been dropping photos on social media of dishes patrons can look forward to. Guevara said there is something for every meal as far as lobster goes, like the lobster omelet, lobster taco and a dish consisting of half a grilled lobster with the other half tossed in vodka sauce and fettuccini.
“Definitely a lot of lobster options,” said Guevara, pondering her favorite dish so far. “To be honest, I have to stay true to my tacos. I love tacos, but for dinner, the lobster dish was one of my favorites along with the ossobuco.”
For six weeks, the staff have been trying new dishes and old dishes with a new twist, Celikel said. “Opening this spot is really going to be something new and … hopefully this is going to turn out good for everybody.”