After 25 years in business, the Backfin seafood restaurant will close its doors Saturday for a make-over.
In mid-August, the restaurant will reopen as The Cove Tavern and Taqueria. Owner Waverly Brooks has sold the business to Curtis Lyons, owner of Roger Brown’s in Portsmouth and president of the Portsmouth Independent Restaurant Association. Brooks, a former football coach, said that after 25 years in the business, it was a good time to move on. “They’re good people, and they’re going to keep it a local type of place,” he said. “I didn’t want a chain group to take over.”
Lyons said he consulted with Brooks for more than two years about ways to update the business, but in the end, Brooks decided to sell. Owning a restaurant wasn’t always his goal. “It was kinda something to do, so I decided to give it a try,” he said. “It became a good local place, with a good local clientele.”
The updates will begin once the Backfin closes on Saturday. Lyons plans to update the building with hardwood floors, new booth seating, a fireplace in the dining room, plus two more on the patio and add more windows. The bar area, both inside and outside, will be updated, and the outside dining area will become an all-seasons patio suitable for use year-round.
Fans of Roger Brown’s will be happy to see some favorite menu items, such as the Asian Nachos, appear on The Cove’s menu, but the restaurant will not have the same sports theme, Lyons said. TVs around the bar will show Sunday football games, but the dining room will be TV-free.
While the menu will still focus on fresh seafood, it will have a new Latin influence. The Cove will offer fish and beef tacos, with fresh salsas and guacamoles, alongside the standard seafood and tavern fare. Lyons said most of the entrees will cost between $7 and $13. “It’s a neighborhood restaurant,” he said. “We’re going to be there for the locals, but will hopefully do some tourism and timeshare business, too.”
As for Brooks, he’s not sure what’s next, but it’ll still involve seafood. “I’ll probably go fishing,” he said with a laugh.