• Jason Santos

Celebrity chef opening B&B Fish this summer in Marblehead

By Leigh Blander /

Celebrity and TV chef Jason Santos is opening his newest restaurant right here in Marblehead this summer at 195 Pleasant Street.

“It’s a fried fish and clam shack, as upscale and modern as you can get,” Santos told The Reporter. B&B Fish will be a “hardcore New England place with a lot of southern touches.”

He hopes to open by early August.

Santos currently stars in Paramount’s TV series “Bar Rescue” and shot 36 episodes as Gordan Ramsay’s sous chef on “Hell’s Kitchen,” which will air on Fox starting in October.

Santos, who lives in Woburn, owns three restaurants in Boston: Buttermilk & Bourbon, Abby Lane, and Citrus & Salt.

B&B Fish will serve mostly takeout and will have seating inside for 20 people and a patio that can seat another 30, Santos said.

Asked if he’s concerned about opening a restaurant during the pandemic, he answered, “I don’t think it’s a weird time, I think it’s genius. It’s the right time.

“That said, I’ve been home for two months and bored to tears,” he added, laughing. “My friends are saying, ‘Of course you took two months off and decided to open a new restaurant.’”

The B&B Fish menu will include items like beer-battered fish & chips, duck-fat fried whole belly clams, fried chicken, New England quahog chowder, biscuits, and street corn. And for dessert? Fresh fried beignets, soft serve cones, and sundaes.

The food will be moderately priced, Santos said, with each dish about $20.

“I had a $30 clam plate on Sunday and it was like eating rubber bands. I’d rather have quality over quantity,” he said. “We want to be a place where people can come a couple times a week.”

Controversial Location

The site at 195 Pleasant is a former gas station near Veterans Middle School. It has sat vacant for about 25 years and has been owned by developer Julius Sokol, of Marblehead, for three years. In 2017, Sokol received permitting for a restaurant there called Chickpeas, but dropped that project.

He says he’s gotten some negative feedback about the new plan.

“I wish people would stop sending me hate mail,” he said. “They’d rather have a building sit decrepit than renovate it and see a nice restaurant.”

Most complaints he’s received, via Facebook, have to do with limited parking in the area.

“We’ll have more parking than Three Cod Tavern, Maddie’s, and The Barrelman,” Sokol said, pointing out that B&B Fish will mostly serve takeout and that it has several parking spaces.

Sokol said B&B Fish will be a great addition to the Marblehead restaurant scene, especially since Santos is in charge.

“Yeah, he’s amazing,” Sokol said. “He’s as good a chef as we could wish here.”

Beth Ferris, Marblehead Chamber of Commerce executive director, is also excited for the new opening.

“It’s always great when a new restaurant opens in town,” Ferris said. “Anything that will bring people to town is good news.”

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