New Look, Great Food At The Whale's Tale

By Kate Ouellette

Atlantic News/Beach News, Thursday, July 15, 2004

ALL ABOARD — Owner/Manager Doug Leighton (left) and the friendly crew at the Whale's Tale at Hampton Beach are ready to serve their customers delicious, fresh quality seafood in a comfortable and relaxed atmosphere. [Atlantic News Photo by Liz Premo]

HAMPTON BEACH — If you're looking for fresh seafood, comfortable dining, and a casual, laid-back atmosphere, then look no further than the Whale's Tale Restaurant and Pub, located on Ocean Boulevard at Hampton Beach.

Serving only the best quality seafood for almost 30 years, the Whale's Tale seats 285 people throughout their large, spacious, non-smoking dining room and relaxing bar and lounge area.

Managers Doug Leighton, Steven Hensel and Ed Tardif bought the restaurant this season from the previous owner and have completely refurbished the bar, putting more than 13 weeks of work into it this past winter. The theme of the room has turned from plain, said Leighton, to homelike.

"A lot of customers have said that when they sit at the bar and watch a game they feel like they are sitting in their very own living room," says Leighton. "I guess all of our work really has paid off."

The walls are covered with Boston Red Sox memorabilia, glasses hang overhead at the well-stocked bar and several televisions are tuned in to different stations for patrons' viewing enjoyment. Crowds will begin filtering into the bar on a more regular basis with the opening of Happy Hour this week, says Hensel.

Adding plenty of color to the refurbished decor is a mural of sea creatures and ship wreckage, spread over two walls of the restaurant and created by the people of Keepsake, a custom tattoo studio on Route 1. Adults and children are amazed by the vibrant seascape that helps hold the feel of relaxation and easiness among busy and crowded Hampton Beach.

Owner/Manager Doug Leighton of the Whale's Tale,
located in the north end of the Casino Complex.

[Atlantic News Photo by Liz Premo]

The dining room at the Whale's Tale is one of the biggest on the beach and offers some of the best seafood the Seacoast has to offer. Leighton says he takes pride in his seafood, going out everyday to pick it up fresh. Lobster, clams and scallops prepared in numerous ways are always on the menu, proving over and over again to be the favorites of both visitors and local customers. Of course, there's also steak tips, sandwiches and burgers, salads, soup and appetizers as well as dessert to round out the selection. Then there's the breakfast buffet that will be offered on Saturdays and Sundays from 8-11 a.m.

The Whale's Tale works closely with the Casino Ballroom, catering to their frequent guests who perform to sold-out crowds all summer long.

"It's really neat to be able to meet all these people and have them remember the food we fed them; it's really a unique situation we have here," says Leighton.

Not only does the restaurant cater to the performers, but they also cater to the crowds attending these events. According to Hensel, some of the largest crowds filter over from the Casino before and after concerts. Many come for dinner, go over to the Casino for the show and then go back to the Whale's Tale for a late night cocktail and maybe something off the pub menu to finish off the night.

Speaking of cocktails, several exotic drinks and promotional offers will be available throughout the summer. One of the best-selling frozen drinks is called the Blue Whale, which contains Captain Morgan's Rum, Parrott Bay Coconut Rum, Dekuyper Blue Curaco and pineapple juice. Happy Hour at the Whale's Tale is offered Monday through Friday from 3-5 p.m., with $2 drafts available to customers.

Still going strong for almost 30 years, the Whale's Tale remains one of Hampton Beach's most popular dining spots, and with the newly designed bar, it's even better than ever.

"We tried to give it a personal touch, and I think we succeeded in that," says Leighton.

Located at the north end of the Casino complex in the heart of Hampton Beach, the Whale's Tale Restaurant and Pub is open seven days a week. For more information, call 926-3920.