The Old Salt Returns

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Hampton Beach Eatery Owners Move Inland to Lamie's Tavern

By Nancy Rineman, Staff Writer

Atlantic News, For the week of March 1-7, 2001

[The following article is courtesy of Atlantic News]

HAMPTON -- Patrons of The Old Salt Eating & Drinking Place at Hampton Beach will soon be enjoying the restaurant's fine fare and warm atmosphere once again, this time in the heart of Hampton.

Plans to buy Lamie's Inn and Tavern finally came to fruition just last week, and the Wednesday closing marks the beginning of a new venture for the Higgins Family, owners of The Old Salt, possibly as soon as the end of March.

Following the loss of the landmark restaurant in the devastating fire at Hampton Beach on June 16, 1999, the Higgins family has struggled to rebuild its thirteen-year-old business. With the seasonal Whale's Tale Restaurant becoming their temporary quarters, Old Salt owners started plodding away at plans to rebuild at their original location. Extensive work with architects and restaurant designers resulted in costly estimates, coupled with increased costs in construction and materials, all of which was making downsizing remain the only solution. When the Higgins family learned of the availability of Lamie's, relocating to an existing property suddenly seemed the answer.

Liz Higgins said family members and staff alike are excited about reestablishing themselves in a beautiful eighteenth century restaurant and tavern.

"The dining rooms themselves are beautiful," Liz Higgins told the Atlantic News. "We're looking forward to recreating the atmosphere of The Old Salt, adding the special touches to make it feel like home."

Higgins said The Old Salt, renowned for fresh seafood and other specialties, will maintain its nautical theme amidst the large wooden booths and impressive working fireplace. Former customers who have stopped by for a visit have even eyed certain spots as ideal fish tank locations, she added. And beyond the dining room, there is an additional fireplaced function room for weddings and functions for up to 125 people, as well as additional meeting rooms.

Nancy Higgins, owner of The Old Salt, has announced that the business' Ocean Boulevard property at Hampton Beach is for sale. In the meantime, the family will continue to manage the Whale's Tale at the Hampton Beach Casino this summer, as well as greeting patrons at the new location of The Old Salt, where approval has already been granted to erect the restaurant's landmark clock, miraculously unscathed by the relentless fire of 1999.

Higgins added that the historic country inn, already open for business, boasts 32 Colonial rooms, several with romantic canopy beds. The Old Salt owner says tours of the building have revealed massive unused areas she eventually hopes to convert into rental space for small businesses, such as lawyers or accountants needing one or two rooms. Higgins will also be appealing to the public to assist her with researching the history of Lamie's Inn and Tavern.

And if all goes according to plan, the Hampton Beach Trolley may become an integral part of the Higgins family's good fortune, establishing a route between the Whale's Tale and The Old Salt, "... so our beach regulars will still feel connected to the beach," Liz Higgins explains.

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