ITEM PHOTO BY OWEN O’ROURKE
Line cook Uri Nathan sets up the kitchen area at Mission on the Bay in Swampscott.
BY GAYLA CAWLEY
SWAMPSCOTT — Mission on the Bay, a waterfront restaurant, finally opened last weekend.
Co-owner Martin Bloom said two-thirds of its menu is devoted to seafood, with steaks taking up the rest.
“If you’re on the ocean, you have somewhat of an obligation to make seafood the center of the plate,” Bloom said.
For $34, diners can try linguine with fresh lobster meat, capers, fresh baby spinach, white burgundy, butter and lemon. For a starter, Bloom said a good option is the short-rib empanada, an “Argentinian classic” braised Nebraska beef boneless short rib with aji amarillo and salsa criolla for $15.
Swampscott Associates LLC, managed by Bloom and his partner Robert Hoffman, bought the former Red Rock Bistro property in 2013 for $940,000. They operated the restaurant briefly until they closed in 2014 to tear down and rebuild the 8,557-square-foot eatery. The project took more than two years. The initial projection for opening Mission was early 2015, but Bloom said construction and a delay from the Historical Commission held it up. He declined to provide details.
“It was a relief for us to get it open,” Bloom said.
Mission faces competition from a number of established restaurants in town including G Bar & Kitchen, Anthony’s Pier 4 Cafe and Hawthorne by the Sea Tavern, Thia Thani and Paradiso Ristorante.
The weekend opening featured a limited menu, with more options offered on Monday. As the restaurant hires more people, the menu will continue to expand. Bloom said Mission employs about 60 people, but he plans to hire 80 more, including servers, cooks, management and bartenders.
Mission has three bars, including one on the roof deck, which should be open by the month’s end. Furniture has started to arrive this week for the deck. To get there, patrons take an elevator. Bloom said the roof deck was designed first and the owners attached a restaurant to it.
The deck sits about 190 people and the inside of the restaurant seats 230. Down the road, Bloom said they hope to cover the deck to keep it open during winter.
Bloom said the cocktail scene at Mission is modeled after Boston nightlife. To come up with their wine menu, Bloom said owners tasted more than 750 different wines.
“It’s the essence of what the cool, hot spots in the city are doing,” he said.
Gayla Cawley can be reached at gcawl[email protected]. Follow her on Twitter @GaylaCawley.