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Shrimp restaurant ready for a jumbo expansion

(ran East, South editions)

Fourth Street Shrimp Store's owners hope that by year's end the day's menu won't be the only fresh thing about their restaurant.

Co-owner Vicki Loges said the restaurant's planned expansion _ adding more than 50 new seats and four employees _ has been in the works for more than a year. She said the $225,000 makeover should begin by September and be completed within three months.

"We have reached the point where we can't do business anymore with the storage area we have," Loges said.

Two chest freezers and an 8- by 8-foot walk-in freezer now hold the seafood served each day at the restaurant. In addition to more storage room, Loges said, the expansion will update the kitchen and add a computer system.

The restaurant at 1006 Fourth St. N has been in business for 10 years. Loges said keeping the building's historic feel is important to its presence on Fourth Street.

"What we are hoping to do is to keep an old-Florida feel," she said. "We are hoping to do a gabled roof and standing seam metal . . . like a beach restaurant in the middle of downtown."

In addition to the exterior improvements _ including, she hopes, a small lighthouse tower _ Loges said they have acquired some artifacts from Sunken Gardens, also on Fourth Street.

She said old rowboats and the Errol Flynn boat anchor from the Hurricane Elena sinking top the list of things that will add to the restaurant's new-look atmosphere.

Expanding the kitchen, she said, will make it easier to enter the restaurant. The door will be moved to the front of the parking lot, she said, and additional freezer space will hold several menu items, including steamed clams and lobster.

Operations manager Shannyn Loges, Vicki's daughter, said the changes will better allow the family-owned-and-operated establishment to meet customer needs.

"We have outgrown our space," Shannyn Loges said. "We need bigger space and better space to work in. In the spring we are just really busy and need to better meet the needs of the consumers."

Vicki Loges said that despite the size of the renovation, the restaurant is expected to be closed for only two days.

"We are going to try to stay open during the process," Vicki Loges said _ even if that means crews will work at night. "It's very exciting. It's living through the process that is painful."