(Nov. 1, 2013) A faulty electrical circuit set a fire that gutted Waterman’s Seafood Company on Route 50 and took firefighters almost four hours to extinguish on Oct. 5, 2012.
Just over a year later, the restaurant is hosting its re-launching party in an all-new building today, Friday, Nov. 1, with a ribbon cutting ceremony and celebration.
“We’ve been here for 30 years,” co-Owner Jamy Davy said. “We’re trying to set up for the next 30.”
When the flames wrecked the old Waterman’s building, the owners decided to start from scratch rather than rebuild within the old structure.
The new building is modernized with a central kitchen and décor Davy described as “bright, beachy… a modern fish house.” Its crowning piece, he said, is its banquet room.
The room can seat around 85 people and had already seen eight events from baby showers to reunions in Waterman’s first 15 days open, starting Oct. 10, Davy said.
The restaurant is also taking the opportunity to update its menu, though loyal customers can still find old favorites, he said.
“We wanted to make sure that when people came back… we had all the go-to items,” Davy said “(The) fried chicken’s still the same as it was the day it burned down.” The same goes for the crab cakes and all-you-can-eat crab special, he said. New items include seafood pastas, calamari and more fresh options, like fries cut in-house and fresh-caught fish.
Davy and co-owner Ross Bergy oversaw the rebuilding process themselves, lead by contractors from Littleton and Sons Construction.
As is often the case with construction, the project took longer than they expected.
“Once we knew we were going to lose the summer, we slowed down and did it right,” Davy said. “The fire gave us an opportunity to keep up with the competition.”
The decision to start fresh, rather than replace damaged parts of the old Waterman’s, came partly from the former structure itself. The building was three decades old and had additions that were less than practical, Davy said.
To raise a new building was to “reinvest in the future,” he said, boosting efficiency in the kitchen and creating a structure that the owners know well, which will help them if future problems arise.
Though the business lost part of its staff after a yearlong shutdown, some familiar faces are back both in the booths and behind the bar.
“The feedback on the interior’s been amazing,” Davy said. “A lot of the old faces have come back.”
“If you’ve come to Waterman’s for many years, it’s a must see,” he said. “There’s nothing like it, really, in West Ocean City.”
Waterman’s is open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. seven days a week, with dine-in, carry out and its seafood market open for business.
Visit www.crabsoc.com for more information and to see the menu, or call 410-213-1020 or search for “Waterman’s Seafood Company” on Facebook.