Lobster Pot reopens after fire

One of Grand Cayman’s most venerable restaurants has returned to the George Town waterfront. 

Established in 1965, the Lobster Pot reopened 14 June, more than 1.5 years after being forced to close due to fire damage. The revived Lobster Pot has some new faces and a new look but retains some familiar personalities and dishes. 

Restaurant manager Gunter Gosch said, “It feels great. It is the end of a long renovation period. It is the beginning of the new Lobster Pot. Something has to come to an end to have a new beginning, and this is exactly where we are right now.” 

 

Building, staff changes 

Mr. Gosch said the roughly 50-year-old building on North Church Street has been upgraded “quite dramatically”, including changes to the interior layout, new decor and a new seaside balcony. According to planning records, the new second-storey balcony is about 1,100 square feet in area. 

Due to the extensive period of dormancy, significant staff turnover was unavoidable. The restaurant has about 15 employees. The customer-facing front of house staff are all new, but the core kitchen staff have been maintained, Mr. Gosch said. 

The Lobster Pot Dive Centre’s dive operations downstairs reopened in late 2012. 

 

Renovation pains 

The building caught fire the afternoon of 24 November, 2011. At the time, owner Marcus Cumber said he wanted the restaurant to be back and running as soon as possible. They were initially shooting for a re-opening date around Christmas. 

That estimate and subsequent projections were pushed back again and again as planning requirements for the needed roof replacement and elective renovation and expansion came into focus. The proprietors didn’t get the green light to begin actual construction on the building until January 2013, Mr. Gosch said. 

“It’s kind of unfortunate that nobody could tell how long it would take,” he said. 

“The renovation time for sure could have been cut back a little bit – or dramatically, actually – if we would have known right from the get-go, ‘OK this is what you need to be doing. If you want to do this, this is what has to happen’. And we could have taken those steps and gotten on with it,” he said. “It was more of a step-by-step process. After every step we thought, ‘OK this is it now’.” 

 

Official opening soon 

In order to allow for the new systems and staff to get in place and up to speed, the restaurant has been going through a ‘soft opening’ and has been taking only a certain number of guests at a time. Mr. Gosch said the official opening of the restaurant is imminent. He said they are eager to be able to serve their regular loyal 
customers again. 

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Lobster Pot restaurant reopened earlier this month, nearly 19 months after closing due to fire damage. The second-floor restaurant, one of Grand Cayman’s oldest, has a new roof, menu and balcony addition. The Lobster Pot Dive Centre’s dive operation downstairs reopened in late 2012. – Photos: Patrick Brendel

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Lobster Pot restaurant manager Gunter Gosch.
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