Row 34 Portsmouth Opens This Weekend
On Sunday, May 24, the team behind Island Creek Oyster Bar and Row 34 Boston – chef Jeremy Sewall, Skip Bennett, Garrett Harker, and Shore Gregory – will open the second location of Row 34 at 5 Portwalk Place in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. Located a few blocks from the waterfront, Row 34’s new outlet will remain true to its roots: a neighborhood-focused oyster and beer bar that highlights New England’s great seafood traditions.
“At it’s core, it’s everything that Row 34 is in Boston,” Sewall says. “It’s what every oyster bar should be here in New England, that’s a great raw bar with ceviches, lobster rolls, fried clams, and fish and chips. From there it’s our take on local seafood and how we as a restaurant work with local fisherman and farmers. Maybe there’s nothing revolutionary about that anymore, but it’s something we’re really committed to. That’s really our core value.”
Led by Sewall, a southern Maine native, Row 34 Portsmouth will use the same market-driven approach as its predecessor. So, even though the new menu will feature some of Sewall’s signature items such as his fried chicken, warm buttered lobster roll, and fried oysters, Row 34 Portsmouth will deviate ever so slightly from the original. New items include a crab cake sandwich, roasted steelhead trout, fried whole belly clams, and lesser-known raw bar selections like petite oysters on the half-shell.
“We actually looked at opening a Portsmouth location of Row 34 close to five years ago,” Sewall says. “We came up here and looked at a couple spots, but nothing really panned out. Portsmouth doesn’t get the same kind of attention that Portland, Maine does, but it has it’s own great restaurant community. We recognized that it was growing and getting stronger, and we just felt like this would be a great opportunity to take Row and put it in a different setting. Portsmouth is going to be a real natural fit.”
Designed by New York-based firm, Bentel & Bentel (Eleven Madison Park, Gramercy Tavern), the loft-like, 88-seat restaurant pays homage the surrounding community while giving a nod to Row 34’s Boston location. Design touches include vintage subway tiles, galvanized steel, an open kitchen, walls of wire mesh, and large half-dome warehouse lights that mimic Skip Bennett’s oyster cages in Duxbury Bay. Above the 20-seat oyster bar is a marquee showcasing the restaurant’s daily tap list, something initially curated by standout Boston beer director Megan Parker-Gray.
After announcing this week that they’d be opening a second location of Island Creek Oyster Bar in Burlington, it’s beginning to feel like Harker and Sewall’s mini-empire of upscale seafood shacks might continue to sprout along the New England coastline. But the chef refuses to look beyond the immediate future and the realization of five-year dream.
“I honestly never thought we’d have more than Island Creek, and then Row happened, which has been so much fun to do,” Sewall says. “The great thing is that nobody knows who the hell Garrett Harker and Jeremy Sewall are in New Hampshire. It’ll be really nice to earn the trust and the privilege of serving Portsmouth.”
Row 34 will be open seven days a week with lunch offered from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30pm and dinner from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. The bar will be open until 11 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and until
midnight on Friday and Saturday.
Row 34 Menu
5 Portwalk Place, Portsmouth; 603-319-5011 or row34.com.