Monday, 19 March 2018 17:14

Former Seafood Galley reopens as AJ's Family Restaurant Featured

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CARMEL - A Carmel restaurant is back open for business under a new name and new management.

The restaurant reopened as AJ's family Restaurant in February after the former Seafood Galley Restaurant closed in 2017.

Overheard at AJ's, you can hear it nicknamed the "Carmel Social Club."

It's located at the corner of Route 2 and Route 69 in town.

You can see cars cramming into parking spaces as people try to grab a spot at the homestyle diner almost any day of the week. 

"The first day it was crazy," says Denise Nye, owner of AJ's Family Restaurant, "they [the cars] were all the way down. It was awesome."

Nye was a former employee at the Seafood Galley Restaurant for two years before becoming the owner of AJ's.

She says what started as a joke between her neighbor and her former boss eventually became a dream come true. 

"My employees are my favorite part," says Nye, "that and looking around to see I finally did it, finally after two-and-a-half years."

"She pushed and pushed and pushed," says Steve Bell, Denise's fiancé. "She worked her butt off."

She also received help from a number of people.

New decorations were donated by town members and faithful patrons alike.

"I've had great support, people wanting it back open," says Nye. "A lot of people were very upset when it closed."

New interior was also put in by her fiancé and his brother, which adds a fresh look to long-time restaurant.

"We changed all the walls," says Bell, "fixed the floor, new paneling, lot of work in the kitchen."

The name of the restaurant also received an overhaul.

The initials in AJ serve in memory of two close family members Denise had lost in the past. 

"My daughter passed away five years ago and my mom passed away, it will be two years in April," she says. "It originally started for my daughter and then when my mom passed away it kind of went together."

Besides the new name and the new decor, restaurant patrons can expect a similar menu that has kept Carmel regulars happy in the past.

"I like it," says Keith Polo, a Carmel resident. "It's nice inside and they've made a lot of improvements."

The menu also keeps out-of-towners coming back for more.

"We like it because it's very homey," says Judy Pavlos, a Hermon resident. "Everybody gets to know each other and the food is delicious."

Everyone is treated like family at AJ's.

Denise says she hopes to one day pass the business down to her kids.

"My family is the most important thing to me," says Nye.

Blake Lipton

Morning Anchor/Reporter
[email protected]

Blake Lipton joined the ABC 7 and Fox 22 news team in January of 2016 and is excited to start his career in television as a morning anchor at our station!

He is a recent graduate of the University of South Carolina and has previously interned with the ESPNU/SEC Network, Comcast SportsNet Mid-Atlantic and the WOLO sports department in Columbia, South Carolina during his time in school.

Blake also worked with the Weather Channel to help cover the historic South Carolina floods in the fall of 2015.

While most of his experience is in sports, Blake is thrilled for the opportunity to host the morning show at Fox ABC Maine and become a more well-rounded journalist and storyteller.

When he is not anchoring or reporting, Blake enjoys hiking, reading and talking anything football. He is also a fan of coffee and hip-hop music.

Feel free to reach out to him with story ideas at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter at @Blake_Lipton for the latest updates on everything Maine!