Newly renovated Portside Bar and Grill to reopen in Port Jeff following water damage last year


After 16 months, the two brothers behind Portside Bar and Grill will welcome hungry and thirsty villagers through their doors once again.

Starting on Thursday, the renovated joint at 242 Traders Cove — behind Toast on E. Main Street — will once again attract seafood lovers and sport bar fans alike, as it had from 2010 until Feb. 2, 2021, when water damage devastated the establishment.

“Everything was just dripping wet,” Dominick Freck, one of the owners, said, recalling tge moment when he unlocked the doors at Portside that morning following a snowstorm. “Ceiling tiles were down, bottles were broken behind the bar, the floor was all buckled up. It was a mess.”

“We’re not sure where the water came from, but it came from above, ruined everything,” Tom Freck, the other Portside brother, said. “Basically we gutted the place to the studs so everything’s brand new.

“It’s been too long,” he added. “It’s great to finally be opening.”

Once fans of the bar and restaurant return, they will notice a slightly different setup. The wall in front of the bar back has been removed, and the step across the restaurant has been levelled.

The decades-old “The Back Yard” bar top survived the damage. The rest of the bar has been repaired and lined with Portside’s old silver ceiling tiles, a cost-saving and legacy-preserving measure.

The outside deck will also open Thursday and boasts some new picnic tables awaiting guests.

Just ‘six weeks’ then back to normal

On Tuesday, the brothers and their friends helping them continued to stock their inventory and decorate. One new sign has already been hung on the wall: a mahogany board inscribed with the phrase “Six Weeks.”

“This is a joke from our contractor,” Dominick said. “He told me and Tommy ‘I have a funny gift for you to put up at the bar.’ We’d ask him ‘Dude, how much longer do you think it’s going to be — he’d say ‘six weeks.’ That was a year and four months ago.”

Other than the interior renovations, Portside remains true to form after the nearly year-and-a-half closure. Seafood fans can expect buckets of shrimp, snow crab legs or lobster served with clams and muscles, lobster rolls, lobster mac and cheese and spicy “angry” clams. Land-bound diners can order up the bomb burger topped with cheddar, bacon, fried pickles, onion rings and ranch, the Cajun chicken sandwich and disco fries.

“It’s going right back to Portside,” Tom said. “Great music, great drinks, great food and specials. Same thing, right back to business.”