Kruger Brothers Ship Supply on Union St; becomes a seafood restaurant

NEW BEDFORD — After closing in 2019, the historic Kruger Brothers Ship Supply building will become a restaurant named after the iconic family.

“This really is the final piece of the puzzle for Lower Union Street,” said Jay P. Lanagan, co-owner of the new restaurant.

“The entire block will be developed for the first time in 100 years.”

Lanagan said they’ve owned the building for 10 years and discussed several options for the property, including demolishing the building and turning it into a parking lot. The historical commission later rejected this idea.

They also considered turning it into affordable housing, but the timing was not right, Lanagan said.

Now the plan is to convert the one-story, 2,800 square foot building into a bar and dining room, potentially an upscale fried seafood venue.

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Lanagan will work alongside partners Howie Mallowes, Pat Long and Al Peters, who have opened other restaurants in the area, including Rose Alley Ale House.

“It’s probably something that’s going to take us 12 to 18 months,” Mallowes said.

The entire building will be renovated to include high end finishes and design details. Mallows says they want to bring in plenty of natural light and build large windows so guests can view the whaling museum from their seats.

Kruger Brothers Supply Company

For 100 years, the Kruger Brothers Supply Company was a staple of the New Bedford community. Originally opened in 1919, on Pier Three, the store moved to North Second Street in the 1950s, then to Union Street in the 1970s.

The company was primarily a fishing boat outfitter. When the boats made long scallop trips, they ordered groceries such as steaks, cereal, utensils, and cigarettes from the Kruger brothers.

William “Billy” Kruger, took over the business from his brother and ran it with his sister Elfreida, for 74 years. “Billy was a legend on the waterfront, one of those guys everyone knew,” Lanagan said. Tom Krueger, Billy’s son, joined the company in 1983.

The old Kruger Bros. building.  Ship Supply on Union St. has been purchased for a potential new restaurant in downtown New Bedford.

“It was as nostalgic a fishing business as it gets,” Lanagan said, adding that her father grew up with Tom Kreuger.

Over the years, Lanagan said the shop has become a meeting place where people come to say hello, eat lunch and chat about what’s going on in the world. Tom Kruger used to sell seafood stew every day.

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“I’m glad I got to experience the authenticity that the Kruger Brothers maintained until they closed in 2019,” Lanagan said.

They plan to name the restaurant after the Kruger brothers.

“Tom gave us his blessings,” Lanagan said. “To be able to pay homage to the Kruger family and do something special with this building; it’s very nice for me personally.

“His family is deeply rooted in the community.”

Lanagan, who had offices at 29-35 Union St., said he also got to see the area’s transition from a predominantly fishing neighborhood to an entertainment/arts and cultural district.

“Consistent with what’s happening here, if you’re building a restaurant, it has to be high,” Lanagan said.

He’s excited for the challenge and hopes to open by the end of 2022. “To open a restaurant in New Bedford, it has to be high-end.

“The bar has been raised.”

Standard-Times editor Seth Chitwood can be reached at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter: @ChitwoodReports. Support local journalism by purchasing a digital or print subscription to The Standard-Times today.

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