One of Eastport's premiere seafood destinations, The Rockfish, will close its doors this week, its owner said.
A gathering on Saturday will be the last hurrah for The Rockfish, said owner Greg Casten.
"That's the day our fans are invited to come and say goodbye," Casten said.
Casten sold the Eastport restaurant to new owners, who he said will open the space under a new name, with a less expensive menu and a more down-to-earth atmosphere.
"The Rockfish is gone forever," he said. "I offered the new owners the name, but they elected not to take it. I think the new restaurant will be even more successful, because I believe they're going to focus more on the bar and having fun."
The new owners, who Casten declined to name, will also benefit from permits Casten recently secured to build an outdoor patio and a new parking lot.
Throughout the back-and-forth between the state and city to secure those permits, Casten said he got burnt out. After more roadblocks presented themselves in October, Casten began reconsidering the restaurant's future.
"I lost the drive, and that's an unfortunate fact," he said. "I think there's no better location in Eastport than right there. What it was missing was one or two people on-site—the adults on deck, so to speak."
Casten owns Profish Ltd., a seafood company. He was one of two owners when The Rockfish first opened in 2004. His partner, Charlie Bauer, died in 2008 of terminal brain cancer. After his death, Casten said the restaurant never found the right general manager.
Casten works from Bethesda, and owns several other restaurants in the region. Traveling regularly to Annapolis to oversee The Rockfish was simply not possible, he said.
"To do business in Annapolis—good business—you need to live there and do business there everyday," Casten said. "And after we lost Charlie, it was an unfortunate downward spiral. I just couldn't find the right person, and if anything, that's my fault."
On top of that, the restaurant faced fierce competition in Eastport. Within a half-mile of The Rockfish are Charthouse, Ruth's Chris Steakhouse, Boatyard Bar & Grill, and O'Leary's Seafood Restaurant.
Casten projected The Rockfish to close this week and remain closed for between 60 to 90 days before the restaurant reopened under a new name and new ownership.
What will you miss about The Rockfish?