BY TOM DALTON
---- — SALEM — The downtown restaurant 43 Church closed over the weekend, leaving behind questions about the future of the historic site and the fate of wedding parties planned for that venue.
There has been speculation the business will be sold to a well-known seafood restaurant with North Shore ties, but nothing has been announced.
“We are currently negotiating a sale of the business,” 43 Church stated in a press release. “In the meantime, we regret that we have had to cancel all of our private events after June 1st, including 10 weddings, due to uncertainty created by permitting and licensing issues in the sale process.
“We are very sorry for the impact this has had on our customers and are working with the wedding parties to help find alternative venues.”
Nancy Sperling, a spokeswoman for the restaurant, said in the release that they will refund deposits and “reimburse relevant expenditures, such as already printed invitations, on a case-by-case basis.”
The Church Street steakhouse and wine bar was opened in 2011 by George Harrington and a partner. Harrington is the son of George F. Harrington, who opened the well-known Lyceum Bar & Grill at the same location in 1989. The Lyceum was a dining landmark in Salem for more than two decades.
The historic former Lyceum hall, which was rebuilt after a fire, has a plaque to mark the site where in 1877 Alexander Graham Bell gave the first public demonstration of the telephone. The building also has reputed ties to the city’s witch history.
The second floor was rented for weddings and other private affairs.
In its release, 43 Church said it closed due to the “current challenging economy.” The restaurant would have closed sooner, the release said, “if not for our loyal staff.”
Tom Dalton can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.