The Charlie Noble Restaurant on South Water Street is looking to expand its occupancy ahead of the summer season.
At a time when the island's restaurant industry is contracting - with at least five establishments not reopening for the season for a variety of reasons - The Charlie Noble is pushing in the opposite direction.
The family-style restaurant and bar, operated by Fred Bisaillon and Denise Corson, has filed a major commercial development special permit with the Planning Board that would allow it to expand its occupancy from 99 seats to 140 seats.
"However many seats we can get in restaurants on Nantucket, with the different challenges with labor and housing right now, it's good to have the opportunity to fill your restaurant whenever you can," Bisaillon said. "Over the years, you'd see our tables are so far apart. It's spacious in there because our occupancy can't go over 99."
The key change for the restaurant that could allow the increase in occupancy, Bisaillon said, is the addition of a new fire suppression system that was installed over the winter.
The building, which is owned by Nantucket Island Resorts, is the previous site of the longtime island favorite The Atlantic Cafe. In the years since "The AC" closed down, it had been the site of several different restaurants and bars - including Nix's and the Sea Dog Brew Pub - before being stabilized under Bisaillon and Corson as The Charlie Noble in 2017.
The application to increase the occupancy from 99 to 140 seats will be reviewed by the Planning Board on Monday. The 140 seats would include both indoor and outdoor occupancy, as The Charlie Noble has already received approval for outdoor seating on its rear patio facing Easy Street for the summer.