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4th Street Shrimp is almost open

The Fourth Street Shrimp Store will reopen in a few days.

Over the past seven weeks, construction crews have been expanding the restaurant. Tuesday it will start serving food again.

Some customers, however, have had a difficult time waiting for the final nail to be hammered and the last daub of paint to dry. The sight and sound of construction crews have not kept them away.

"They have been showing up anyway. They have been calling anyway," said Vicki Loges, who co-owns the restaurant with her husband, Andrew Gartlan.

"Yesterday we had three people walk in and sit down on freshly painted chairs," she said Friday.

Work will continue, even as the restaurant reopens, she added.

"We will have 75 seats ready, and we will be open for carry-out," Loges said, explaining that when the renovation is complete, the store will be able to seat 160 customers. That will double its previous capacity.

The $225,000 make-over also will include a larger kitchen, a new entrance and new restrooms.

Loges and her husband have owned the Fourth Street Shrimp Store, at 1006 Fourth St. N, for almost 11 years. The building in which it is located once was a garage for Model T Fords. In fact, Loges said, construction workers discovered evidence of the building's past incarnation.

"We came across an old gas tank buried in the ground," she said.

Keeping with the character of the landmark structure, the owners have acquired antiques, some from Sunken Gardens, for decoration.

The restaurant, with business that is primarily eat-in, also is adding modern touches. It now will accept credit cards. Additionally, it will offer a full bar. Previously only wine and beer were served.

With the renovations will come an expanded menu, though that change will not be made immediately, said Loges. Steaks, burgers, chicken wings, salad and seafood, including shrimp, are currently offered.

Shrimp is the top seller.

"We sell about 40,000 pounds of shrimp a year," the restaurant's owner said.

The expanded facility will require an increase in staff, said Loges, who said at least 10 more people will be added to the 20-person crew.

The Fourth Street Shrimp Store is open seven days a week, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., except on Fridays and Saturdays, when it remains open until 10 p.m.