Guy and Jane Cote stand on the incomplete upper balcony at the Frog and Turtle in Westbrook. Patrons soon will be able to take in views of Saccarappa Falls while they dine. Chance Viles/American Journal

WESTBROOK — The owners of the Frog and Turtle Pub are excited to announce they have reopened, but they’re hoping patrons will be patient as renovations to their new second floor continue.

The restaurant at 3 Vallee Square closed June 23 and remained closed until work was completed on the first floor, which now has new booths, a stage for bands and an overall nicer atmosphere. Work on another bar, room and outdoor deck on the second floor is expected to be finished next month.

Sam Creenan does some cleaning and prep work in the new kitchen. Chance Viles/American Journal

“For me, it’s a dream come true,” said James Tranchemontagne, chef and co-owner.

“I still walk in shocked every day like ‘wow this is our restaurant,'” he said. “Or, if I’m on the bridge and look over I can see it in the skyline now. It’s cool to think that it was almost strip mall looking, now it’s a part of the Westbrook skyline.”

With changes to the overall appearance also comes a brand new kitchen.

“It’s so good. I spent my whole life working on broken and used equipment and never, ever in my 30 plus years in the kitchen had everything brand new and efficient,” he said. “On top of that, it’s laid out how we want it, it’s cool. We are smiling and laughing in there.”

An official pizza oven means more consistent and timely pies, he said, and a new prep room allows for work on things like full pigs, for example, without posing sanitation issues for the rest of the kitchen.

“We now have a designated beer cooler so we can keep beers at the correct temperature,” Tranchemontagne said. “Before it was in the same walk-in that the food was in, so we were having front of house and kitchen going in and out of it.”

Upstairs, the restaurant will have another bar, another prep room, a balcony overlooking downtown and the waterfalls and extra indoor seating.

“A regular of ours built all the booths for us. … We used all local contractors and workers,” co-owner Guy Cote said.

Guests on the second floor will be able to enjoy the live entertainment on the floor below.  “We are going to have a camera system to project the bands up to the second floor on a large screen TV,” Cote said.

The second floor, which Cote hopes will be over the next month or so, has already been getting a lot of questions and interest from the patrons.

“It’s been busy since we’ve opened with regulars and new people who are just curious to see what’s going on with the construction,” co-owner Jane Cote said. “Kudos to our staff, who is a big help in getting us reopened, with the cleaning, painting, they came through for us. We put in some sweat equity.”

The booths were made by Tim Hill of Gorham. Chance Viles/American Journal

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