Seacoast's Beach Plum will open in Epping next spring
The planning board Thursday approved a new 5,000-square-foot free-standing restaurant for the Brickyard Square shopping plaza.
The restaurant will seat about 120 patrons inside and another 120 on an outdoor patio. Its menu includes seafood dinners, rolls and wraps, burgers and other sandwiches, soups and chili, and ice cream.
One of the Beach Plum's advantages is its quick service, according to Lee. The restaurant doesn't have a wait staff. Customers place their order at the counter and then take a seat. A bus person brings the food out in seven minutes, he said, and a tip jar is located on the counter if a customer wants to leave a tip.
Lee hoped to have some version of the sculpture placed inside a cupola atop the restaurant's roof, but planners said no signs are allowed above the roofline.
"We wanted to try to celebrate that and use it as an architectural element," Alther said.
The planning board also agreed to allow Lee to place a lobster sculpture on the patio, but they don't want it larger than 5 or 6 feet tall.
The Beach Plum has hit a few snags with the lobster at its other locations as well. The city of Portsmouth denied its request to stick the lobster sculpture in a prominent spot outside when it opened its restaurant there. The lobster ended up inside.
But Lee said the lobster is a big hit with younger customers and parents who enjoy taking photographs of their kids with the lobster.
The Beach Plum, which expects to break ground within the next month, is the latest restaurant planned for the shopping center at the junction of routes 125 and 101.
"We've been fortunate to have some high quality, local restaurants," said Doug Richardson, director of development for Waterstone Retail Development, the company that built the center.