Salem's A&B Burgers moving to Bell Market building

File photoThe former Bell Market was a downtown landmark on Cabot Street in Beverly that closed in 2007.

BEVERLY — A&B Burgers is getting out of jail and moving to downtown Beverly.

A popular Salem burger destination, A&B has announced that it is leaving its home at the former Salem Jail building and moving to the former home of Bell Market in downtown Beverly.

A&B owners Amy Butler and Thomas Holland couldn’t be reached to comment. Andrew Goldberg, a partner of Bell Market owner Goldberg Properties, confirmed a deal is in the works but declined to discuss the possible tenant “until there is a finalized agreement.”

In a Facebook post, the restaurant announced its move alongside a Kickstarter crowd-funding campaign to help pay for the move.

“We love our restaurant and we love Salem, but our current location has its challenges,” the restaurant’s post reads, identifying parking as the No. 1 issue.

The restaurant says it also adapted its concept “from quick serve to full service with a bar,” but that the bar and dining room aren’t a sufficient size to allow guests to dine on busy nights.

A&B opened in 2013, after the departure of Great Escape, the first restaurant to open in the renovated jailhouse.

“With a heavy, yet excited, heart we have realized that to fully see A&B to its potential, a new location would be needed,” the post reads. “We found this perfect spot just over the bridge at the old Bell Market on Cabot Street.”

Bell Market opened in 1965 at 206 Cabot St. and served as a downtown grocery store for 42 years until it closed in 2007. It then ran under new owners as Beverly Market before closing in 2009. It has been empty ever since.

“That space has been empty for so long,” said Gin Wallace, director of Beverly Main Streets. “Not only does it fill the space, it’s a great family-oriented restaurant. It’s not a bar that also serves food.”

Skatepark still planned

In December, a group of local skateboarders announced plans to set up a pop-up skatepark in the same location called The Market Indoor Skatepark.

The group locked in a short-term, three-month lease with Goldberg in the last week of January, skateboarder Jake Cassevoy said.

He doesn’t believe the three-month lease should be affected by the restaurant moving in if a final deal is struck.

But because the skatepark’s vision was that it would open short-term at the Bell Market building and then relocate to a permanent home, the lease is written to see that commitment through if necessary, according to Cassevoy.

The lease “would take us to the end of April,” he said. “Our lease does say if somebody wants to come in and take it over, they have the ability to.”

Cassevoy expects the site will be open a few weeks from now.

Bistro-style seating

The Facebook post from A&B Burgers says they’ll be moving this summer.

“There will be a 20-seat bar, booths and high tops along the walls and tables up along Cabot Street,” the post reads. “We are so excited about this, and we would like to invite you to help us realize this beautiful upgrade for our restaurant.”

The restaurant’s Kickstarter campaign page adds that they will install “two gorgeous, 16-foot garage-style doors that will open from floor to ceiling creating the only indoor-outdoor bistro-style seating on Cabot Street.”

Wallace said that makes the news even more exciting.

“Being able to do the outdoor dining on the sidewalk is going to be great,” she said. “We don’t have that anywhere on Cabot Street.”

The Kickstarter campaign seeks to raise $60,000 by Sunday, March 15. Rewards to backers range from a hand-written thank you note and an  A&B sticker for a $20 donation, up to “a burger named after you, four tickets to the A&B launch party and a private party for up to 50 guests with passed apps, sliders and beverages” for those who donate $10,000 or more.

For Beverly news and story inquiries, email dluca@salemnews.com, call 978-338-2523 or message @DustinLucaSN on Twitter.