, Salem, MA

May 15, 2013

Turner’s may buy Salem eatery


---- — SALEM — Although 43 Church has not been sold, more details on the possible sale of the downtown restaurant are coming to light.

Jim Turner of Turner’s Seafood Grill & Market acknowledged yesterday that he has been in talks to buy 43 Church, located at the site of the former Lyceum, which had been a dining landmark for decades.

“We’re the prospective buyers,” he said, but “we haven’t signed anything.”

Turner’s Seafood owns and operates a restaurant and fish market in Melrose and a market and wholesale fish company in Gloucester.

Meanwhile, the owners of 43 Church continue to deal with upset customers whose wedding parties have been canceled. The restaurant, which closed Saturday, said it canceled private events after June 1, which includes 10 wedding rehearsal dinners and receptions.

Michelle Hogan of Belmont said she scheduled a Nov. 15 rehearsal dinner for her son and his fiancée, put down a $500 deposit and contacted the restaurant repeatedly in recent months to finalize plans, but didn’t hear back. She said she was told only last week that the dinner had to be canceled.

“This is just so wrong,” she said. “They led me on.”

Erin Golden of Baltimore, a former Swampscott resident, said she was told last week that the Sept. 7 wedding reception she scheduled more than a year ago had to be canceled.

“I was freaking out,” she said.

Although Golden has made other plans, she said she wishes 43 Church had responded sooner and offered more assistance in finding a new venue.

As for the printed invitations, she said she may put stickers inside with the location of the new reception site.

A restaurant official declined to respond to the individual complaints.

In a statement Monday, the restaurant apologized for the cancellations, which it said were “due to uncertainty created by permitting and licensing issues in the sale process.”

A spokeswoman said they are working with wedding parties to find alternate venues, and will refund deposits and reimburse other expenses “on a case-by-case basis.”

Tom Dalton can be reached at