James Bros. start new NL enterprise: a harborside eatery
New London — The James brothers are back.
Longtime city residents may remember the James Bros. grocery store that once graced the area, or a series of restaurants owned by the family.
Now, there is James Bros. Claw & Rib on Pequot Avenue between Fred’s Shanty and Thamesport Marine, which was opened last month by a new generation.
“Every generation we’ve had a restaurant in the family,” said Chris James, co-owner of the eatery with brothers Ben and Teddy. “Now it’s our turn.”
The restaurant features hot and cold lobster rolls, barbecued ribs, pulled pork sandwiches and gyros. Breakfast is available all day — a particular attraction for fishermen who operate out of the area’s marinas.
“Just about no one else around here does breakfast,” James said. “The fishermen are loving us.”
Claw & Rib opened with a vendor’s license on Sailfest weekend, selling cash-only items outside of the tiny building under a tent at 262 Pequot. The restaurant will close today with plans to reopen next week as the Jameses attempt to settle all the last-minute issues that have led to delays in an official opening of the building, with a kick-off celebration planned sometime later this month.
“We’ve been doing really good,” James said. “The ribs are going like crazy. ... We slow smoke all the meats, and the smoker wasn’t keeping up.”
James figures to have about five tables inside the building and about twice the seating capacity outside. The menu has been a work in progress, but he plans to add pancakes, waffles and French toast once the inside area is complete. The early menu already includes omelettes ($8.50), breakfast burritos ($6.50) and egg sandwiches ($3.50), among other items.
Gifford’s ice cream will be sold at the store, as is local Ashlawn Farm coffee, and James said he hopes to offer beer and wine. The restaurant will soon be outfitted with equipment allowing for the sale of french fries as well as clam and lobster fritters, among other items.
Once the restaurant reopens next week, it will begin accepting credit cards.
James was a manager at The Shack, learning the restaurant business from the ground up for seven years, and has done catering on the side. Claw & Rib is a family affair, with his mother doing much of the baking and his father helping out wherever he can, James said.
James said the neighborhood and workers at nearby Electric Boat, where his father works, have been supportive of the new business, and he is hopeful that Claw & Rib will continue on beyond the summer. The brothers all live together at a nearby residence with friends who also help out with the business.
“It’s all or nothing,” James said. “We’ve put our all into this.”
James Bros. Claw & Rib
262 Pequot Ave., New London
Owners: Chris, Ben and Teddy James
Hours: 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. seven days a week