SEEKONK, Mass. (WPRI) — It’s been more than a year in progress: the rebuilding of The Old Grist Mill Tavern in Seekonk. Now, the owner hopes to open by the end of April — but he doesn’t want to make any promises.
The ‘new’ Old Grist Mill has a lot more meat on its bones these days: treated siding and new brickwork. But Thursday, blue tarps covered the restaurant’s entrance walkway. The stonework recently installed is not finished, says owner Greg Esmay. It’s not drying fast enough, because of the cold weather — another thing you can blame on this year’s harsh, harsh winter. There’s a heater inside to try and help speed things along.
The restaurant burned to the ground in June 2012, after a tractor trailer overturned and ruptured a nearby gas main, touching off an explosion. The building dated back to 1745, but it’s not clear when it opened for business as a restaurant.
- Photos: Old Grist Mill Fire
Esmay was hoping to be open by St. Patrick’s Day this year; now, he’s more hopeful about the end of April, but figures it could easily be later than that. “I’ve goofed it up too many times,” Esmay joked, as he’s pushed the date back before — but obstacles have kept cropping up. He doesn’t want to rush the process.
Interiors include a lot of the same wood that was in the previous incarnation; crews were able to plane it down and reuse it. The upper dining room has several walls up; the bar is being worked on now.
After builders turn the restaurant over to management, Esmay estimates it’ll take another four weeks to get up and running from that point, for hiring, training and preparation.