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Finally: Customers dock at remodeled Boat Shed

One hour after the Boat Shed opened its doors Friday every table and every bar stool was filled to capacity. A line of cars stretched down the block. Such is the popularity of the longtime waterfront eatery, closed in February after a kitchen fire soiled nearly every plank of wood.

Owner Beverly Hayfield is all smiles these days, compared to the pained expression she held in her office following the fire.

“It looks so beautiful,” she said Tuesday, with a turn of her head towards the newly finished floor and freshly painted white walls. The windows of the Boat Shed still afford luxurious views of Puget Sound and an occasional boat passing by, its driver waving hello to customers out on the deck. To further attest to the popularity of the 25-year-old business, all but two of the 60 summer employees at the Boat Shed have returned. In all, Hayfield estimates more than $500,000 has been spent on new floors, walls, windows and ceilings. At least $200,000 of that has been dedicated to code improvements, from making the bathrooms ADA accessible, as well as putting in sprinklers inside and out, thermal-paned windows and new grease interceptors. Insurance should cover a good portion of the remodel.

“Everything won’t get paid off until the end of the summer,” Hayfield said.

During the winter months, the staff shrinks to 35, but during the summer it can jump up to 70.

While the restaurant was closed, Hayfield’s Insurance company covered employee wages in the kitchen section of the business. Many of the staff have been employed for years, including manager ToniCutting, who has worked at the Boat Shed for nine years.

“It’s a fabulous environment,” she said. “We all care about each other. Summers are just so intense. The core crew that sticks around becomes like a family. We just don’t have a lot of turnover.”

So far, most of the customers say they are just happy to see the Boat Shed doesn’t look much different from the old version. All the main pillars of the building remain, but much of the upper ceiling is painted white.

The floor planks are from train trusses in Montana. The bar tops remain, with a new coat of lacquer on top.

“We have been waiting for it to be open again,” said Cindy Mitchell. She usually makes it to the Boat Shed every week.“The locations is one of the things and its just a nice place to meet people,” said longtime customer Lanny Dowell. Hayfield has co-owned or owned the business since 1979.

Over the years, she built on more rooms, and now has outdoor seating for dozens. Before it was turned into a restaurant, the Boat Shed was a tavern. Hayfield said the first week since the Boat Shed has been open is as good or equal in terms of revenue from the previous year at the same time.

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