SALEM - The new owners of Big Dog Steak-Seafood & Ale at 377 S. Ellsworth Ave. are hoping for a St. Valentine's Day opening, according to co-owner Tim Szczypinski.
The former Hickory Rib was purchased by Szczypinski and his wife and partner, Dr. AnnMarie Bonetti, in December. They took over the building on New Year's Day.
The interior has been completely removed for a new "built-from-the ground-up" design that will attract a clientele wanting hand-cut steaks (never frozen) and seafood that is delivered fresh within 24 hours of being caught, and served up by an executive chef and head chef.
There will be prime rib every Friday and Saturday.
Szczypinski said the pasta will be made fresh from scratch at the restaurant on a daily basis.
Customers will find Big Dog's offering "a very cozy, elegant atmosphere" while serving up "very high-end cocktails" with an element of "molecular gastronomy" built by a certified mixologist at the new bar made from scratch.
The inside will seat 80 and Szczypinski said there will be an enclosed beach atmosphere with ponds and fire features in the back that will touch off a 54-foot long serpentine bar during summer.
Again, he alluded to "a kind of cozy warm environment inside and out" that will be highlighted by house music featuring blues, jazz and acoustical with an occasional live band.
Szczypinski said they want people to sit down, relax and enjoy an entertaining evening.
"We're shooting for St. Valentine's Day opening," he said, adding a website is in the works along with a Facebook page.
The restaurant will employ 20 full- and part-time people.
Hours are tentatively set at Tuesday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Friday and Saturday 11 a.m. until 2:30 a.m. and a Sunday brunch starting at 10 a.m. and running until 3 p.m. with an 8 p.m. closing time.
For more information, call 330-332-3330.