(Feb. 28, 2014) When he opened Harpoon Hanna’s Restaurant in April, 1983, owner Frank Hanna seated more than 500 diners the first night — something he thought would never happen again.
More than 30 years later, the Fenwick Island, Del., restaurant regularly seats around 800 on busy summer nights, leading to long lines during the height of the summer season, general manager James Lucas said.
To accommodate its growing business, Harpoon Hanna’s is in the middle of some major renovations, with an upscale banquet room and three-season deck on the way for summer 2014. The restaurant will stay open through the renovations, which are adding more than 200 seats.
“It’s incredible to see how much we’ve grown,” said Wes Hanna, Frank Hanna’s son and the restaurant’s current owner.
“We’ve had a demand for weddings and functions for several years now, and we haven’t had the room to accommodate people,” Lucas said, so the renovations kicked off Jan. 1 of this year.
Hanna’s old banquet room seated about 80, but the new design will hold 100, with the option to open sliding glass doors to a new, three-season deck for bigger parties.
“We can do functions of 200 people and make it feel like one room” with the 18-foot opening between the two areas, Lucas said.
The high-ceiling banquet hall will have a first-class feel, with new hardwood floors, drywall over the old wooden walls, new molding and a fresh coat of paint, Lucas said. It will be suitable for weddings, rehearsal dinners, banquets, conferences, reunions and more.
The three-season area is “a more modern deck than what we’ve built in the past,” with TimberTech composite decking and stainless steel railing, Lucas said.
On warm summer days, the deck can be opened for outdoor seating, but when cool weather arrives, its flaps can be closed to keep in heat.
Harpoon Hanna’s also revamped its bar last year, adding a new island, draft system, flooring and ceilings, as well as a window to open and brighten the area.
The restaurant upgraded its siding two years ago, giving it a stone finish out front, Lucas said. “The whole building, now, has been upgraded.”
The banquet room and deck projects should be completed by Easter, giving diners a new experience when they come in this summer, he said. The new seating will cut wait times, which can top more than an hour in the summer, Lucas said.
Hanna’s is also working on new menu items and revamping its wine list for the summer. It will be giving away a trip to California for a vineyard tour to compliment the new list, Lucas said.
With 16 tons of air conditioning going into the restaurant during the height of the season, “you won’t find a cooler spot on a hot day,” he said.
Harpoon Hanna’s is open daily from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. for dining, with the bar open until 1 a.m. The restaurant opens at 10 a.m. on Sundays for brunch.
During the summer, the kitchen will stay open until 11 p.m. for dinner.
Visit www.harpoonhannasrestaurant.com for more information, or follow Harpoon Hanna’s on Facebook or at the Twitter and Instagram handle @HarpoonHannas.