John G’s restaurant, the landmark eatery torn down in the Lake Worth Casino reconstruction project, is only weeks away from its reopening in its new Manalapan locale.
Wendy Yarbrough, one of the original Giragos family owners, said they’re “really getting into it now. We had a couple of setbacks – we’re having to do a little more than we planned. This is an older building, so we found broken pipes and water in the walls – all that has to be repaired before we can get move forward,” she said.
“We’re projecting a mid-August opening – that’s our target, anyway,” she said.
The former Callaro’s in the Plaza del Mar is being refitted to serve “like we do instead of a steakhouse with more leisurely dining,” she said.
John G’s, famous for fish and chips, gazpacho, and hearty breakfasts like almond-crusted French toast turned over tables rapidly to accommodate those waiting in its legendary line. Never was dessert on their menu because of this, she said.
“Our customers are going to like it, I’m pretty sure,” she said. “We got rid of the orange upholstery – time for that to go! All that is gone, but I kept one of the big round tables and put it in a kind of alcove off the main dining room. It’s in honor of my dad. I left eight orange chairs only for that table. My brothers think I’m crazy, but I had to do something to honor Dad.”
Yarbrough said the new place will be brighter, but some décor has been brought over from the old beachside place. “It’ll be nice – a little of the old, some new.
“The menu’s the same, though – the same gazpacho, seafood chowder and of course the fish and chips.”
She’s in the process of calling all her former servers and staff; she thinks the customers want to see their familiar faces. “I’m hoping they’ll all come back, but we’ll see.”
While her brothers have talked about serving dinner at the new spot, Yarbrough said they’ll wait to see how breakfast and lunch goes first, then ease into it. “My dad thought it was important to close early enough to have time with the family. But we’re looking into it for a few nights a week, maybe.”
She’s looking forward to finally opening and satisfying all the customers she says call or come by in person to check the progress. “It’s really heartwarming the support we have in the community.”
She doesn’t want to let them down.
“I’m a little nervous – sure,” she said. “It was such a big tradition on the beach. We’re used to handling crowds – of course. But this is a new place, and we’ll have to settle in to get back to our pace, and I hope the customers understand that.”