Belle Isle Seafood has moved just about the length of a football field from its previous spot at 1267 Saratoga Street to its new location at One Main Street in Winthrop.
While owner and chef Jim Costin is serving the outstanding seafood dishes that have made the restaurant a must-dine for seafood lovers for years, the new site is much larger, more spacious and has a stunning view of the Boston skyline, Logan Airport, the Zakim Bridge, and Bunker Hill Monument.
“We were 883 square feet over there,” said Costin, pointing toward Belle Isle’s original home. “We’re 5,000 square feet now and have plenty of seating, indoor and outdoor. We have booths, stools, and picnic tables and regular tables and chairs.”
Come this spring, customers will be able eat lunch or dinner on two outdoor patios and enjoy what is already being called The View.
Mirak Chevrolet used to be housed in the building at one time and there have been other commercial uses. The seating area of the restaurant is where Mirak used to perform its detailing jobs on automobiles.
Costin lowered the ceiling, installed a new heating, air conditioning, and plumbing system, and put in all new windows and doors.
But it’s the food that is first and foremost at Belle Isle.
“We just consistently put out fresh seafood,” said Costin in explaining Belle Isle’s popularity. “I go over to the Boston Fish Pier every single day, that’s the key. I pick it up myself.”
If there’s one item that has put Belle Isle on the map, it’s the lobster roll.
Actress Mila Kunis told Jay Leno on his show two months ago that you can’t top the lobster rolls at Belle Isle Seafood, mentioning the restaurant by name on national television. Kunis was in the area filming a movie and when asked, she said that Belle Isle Seafood had the best lobster rolls in the city.
“Our baked haddock is the second most popular item,” said Costin. “We fry, we bake, we grill seafood. And our clams are excellent – they are all specially selected to be small and perfect.”
While the previous location was mostly a takeout restaurant, the new Belle Isle has been packing them in daily.
“We’ve been busy – every seat has been taken at night,” said Costin proudly.
Costin graduated from Winthrop High in 1984, having begun working two years earlier at Belle Isle at the age of 15. He worked at Belle Isle through his college days at Suffolk and in graduate school and purchased the business from the owner in 1996.
“I started doing dishes here when I was 15,” recalled Costin, whose mother Domenica resides in Winthrop. “But from the day I walked in here, I knew I wanted to own it. I love to cook. Since I could reach the stove as a little kid, I always cooked.”
A lifelong Winthrop resident, Costin has been a member of the Winthrop Chamber of Commerce for many years. He and his wife, Stephanie [Curran] have two children, Bryce, 12, and Brooke, 9.
Stephanie Costin is proud of the family’s restaurant, saying that her husband has worked hard to achieve the success he has.
“I know the restaurant will be fantastic because he works really hard every day to take care of his family and provide a good product to his customers,” said Costin. “I’m so excited, especially for him.”