REHOBOTH, Mass. (WPRI) — Just a few months after it opened, the Palmer River Clam Shack and Dairy on Route 6 in Rehoboth was gutted by fire. Now, renovations are almost finished, and they’re getting ready to reopen.
“I can’t wait to come back to work,” said head chef Albert Micheletti on Friday. “I can’t wait to see everybody again.”
The owners, the Benevides family, had seen their dream of owning a restaurant come true after years of preparation, in the buildings that backed onto the Palmer River. It became an institution immediately, “because there’s nothing around here like it,” Micheletti said back in August.
The fire was believed to have started in an attic storage space. Nobody was hurt, but everyone who worked there lost their jobs. “We were devastated, we worked so hard. Everyone was crying. But we’re all happy now,” said Micheletti on Friday.
The Benevideses vowed to reopen.
The renovations ended up taking all winter. Now, the restaurant is expected to open about three weeks from now; an exact date in May has yet to be announced, but the hope is before Memorial Day.
Among the work that had to be done, a lot of electrical wiring had to be replaced, said Ralco Electric’s Rene Lachapelle, who was working on installing new wires. The fire’s source was believed to be electrical, he said. “When you looked at the entire process, the wiring was in pretty bad shape, not so just from the fire, but the original installation weren’t meeting codes,” Lachapelle said. Now, of course, it’ll be up to code.
Regulars and neighbors who became familiar with the restaurant will notice some difference in its appearance once it does reopen, Micheletti said. Some new items will show up on the menu, too, he added.