Turner knows he has been entrusted with a piece of local history.
“This place has such meaning,” he said, “and we really tried to respect that.”
There is an old Lyceum restaurant sign hanging inside, along with old Salem photos and a worn, wooden “Salem Seafood” sign from another era. There are also photos and artifacts from Turner’s history.
Turner said the restaurant tries to honor the past while reflecting the present.
The old mahogany bar is back, along with brass nameplates of faithful and departed customers. But the old women’s bathroom has been moved to make room for a 15-seat, marble oyster bar. There is a small fish market near the entrance, similar to the one in Melrose.
This is a traditional seafood restaurant, family members said, but with a twist.
“What makes us a little bit different is we purchase and process our own seafood,” said brother Joe Turner.
“Our goal is to provide a pure, authentic New England fish house,” said Jim Turner. “Nothing more and nothing less.”
The menu reflects that with starters such as clam chowder, lobster bisque and traditional oyster stew; appetizers like “Nana Turner’s cod cake” and oysters Rockefella; and entrees of Newfoundland finnan haddie, winter swordfish, New England baked scrod, English pub-style fish and chips, and Surf N Turf, with prices from $15.99 to about $30.
Jim Turner said he came to Salem, in part, because of the Church Street location. He thought it was the perfect home for chapter two of Turner’s Seafood.
“We fell in love with the building,” he said. “One thing we try to achieve (here) ... is an almost timeless authenticity, and the building defines that.”
Turner’s Seafood at Lyceum Hall opens tonight and for a few weeks will be open for dinner only. The owners expect to add lunch to the menu next month.
Tom Dalton can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.