Beck's of Calabash nears reopening after fire

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CALABASH—Beck’s Restaurant is just about ready to reopen.

The historic Calabash eatery, destroyed in a fire last Oct. 22, has been rebuilt and will be ready to reopen as soon as new booths and tables and chairs are delivered.

Kurt Hardee, who co-owns the restaurant with his sisters Shaun Bellamy and Sara Frelich, said the dining room furniture is on back-order. He estimated the restaurant will be ready to reopen and launch into a new season within the next couple of weeks.

New landscaping, including palm trees and freshly planted shrubbery, line the new building painted a dark, deep-sea-fishing hue of blue.

The new building is smaller than the old one that dated back to 1940, but it’s also more efficient.

“It’s a little deeper and not as wide,” Bellamy said.

The siblings said they hired a designer who specializes in restaurants and knows how to make the most of the space.

“The old restaurant took up more space,” Hardee said.

The new building is shorter than its predecessor, which was built piecemeal over the years with assorted nooks and crannies.

“Restaurant people designed it to be more efficient,” Hardee said. “Though it’s smaller, it can seat more people.”

The new building will have capacity seating of 160, compared to 140 in the old one. The old carpeted flooring has been replaced by an up-to-date wood-look covering.

The new Beck’s has a bar that can be accessed from outside, so people can order drinks while they’re waiting for a table, Hardee said.

In keeping with the Calabash theme, the hostess stand in the new restaurant has been built to resemble the back of a boat.

The new building was built by Baldwin Construction of North Myrtle Beach, S.C., the same company that rebuilt Capt. Nance’s and Capt. John’s restaurants after they burned down, Hardee said.

“I think everybody is excited,” Hardee said of the new Beck’s building.

He said they took something heart-breaking and turned it into something he thinks will be really nice.

“We didn’t go all fancy,” Hardee said. “We were on a real tight budget.”

Construction company owner Jay Baldwin worked with them on it, he said.

The fire, believed to have been caused by an electrical problem in the attic, destroyed the old building when it broke out about an hour after the restaurant closed, around 10:10 p.m. on the night of Monday, Oct. 22. Two smaller buildings behind the restaurant, one housing an ice machine and the other used for storage, still stand.

The siblings’ family has owned the restaurant since August 2004. Beck’s had originally been owned by Vester and Ruth Beck, an aunt of Bellamy’s mom, Sheryl Hardee, a longtime Calabash restaurateur who passed away in 2007.

Beck’s employees have been working at another family-owned eatery, Ella’s, just down the road, while the new building was being built.

“We hope to have everyone back,” Hardee said, once the new Beck’s building is open.

Another bright spot is the original Beck’s Original Calabash sign survived the fire. It still stands in front of the new building to welcome back customers for the new season.


Laura Lewis is a staff writer at the Beacon. Reach her at 754-6890 or email llewis@brunswickbeacon.com.