LePage’s seafood restaurant in Fall River has a new owner


FALL RIVER – Spring marks a season of new beginnings, and that’s especially true at one of Fall River’s well-known waterfront restaurants.

The tide is turning on the SouthCoast dining scene as LePage’s Seafood and Grille – a staple in town for more than three decades – changes hands.

But fear not, loyal patrons. New owner Jon Paul Van Regenmorter and his partner Kayla Botelho promise to stay true to the LePages that locals have come to know and love while mixing in “new and exciting” things.

It will bear the same name. The same beautiful setting. The same winning recipes. The same warm atmosphere. But with new faces at the helm bringing new ideas.

“I don’t want it to be anything else. … I want someone who’s been comfortable there for 20 years to come back another 20 years,” Van Regenmorter said.

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The couple’s vision for the future of the restaurant at 439 rue Martine does not stray far from its roots. And they’re paying homage to its SouthCoast setting — nestled among local fishing and farming communities — with LePage’s new tagline “A Farmcoast Affair.”

Van Regenmorter is a man whose passion for life and adventure has opened many doors for the self-proclaimed dreamer.

“I believe in potential, I believe in opportunities, I believe in people…I dream of all three and hope it never ends,” Van Regenmorter said.

The longtime Tiverton resident and dentist wears many hats. He has four dental practices – Dutchman Dental locations in Tiverton and Fall River, and general dental practices in Fall River and Wakefield, the last two he sells.

Van Regenmorter, who came to the South Coast from South Dakota, also owns an oyster farm in Tiverton, has a commercial fishing license and owns a business that makes snowmaking equipment for ski resorts.

A longtime LePage regular, Van Regenmorter had watched the location for years, seeing a tremendous opportunity, even amid the challenges presented by the pandemic.

“It’s a place I felt comfortable in, it’s a great location on the water and I always saw potential there,” he said.

Carol and Eric LePage have retired

When friends and former owners Carol and Eric LePage announced their intention to retire last month after 34 years, he didn’t hesitate to step in.

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“It was my honor and my privilege. It was very, very humbling,” he said. “Carol and Eric could have chosen anyone to take over and they chose me because they know I dream, and I believe, and I would do something good.”

He officially closed the sale of LePage’s on May 4.

Van Regenmorter called LePage his “last big adventure” for a while. He will mainly look after the restaurant, as well as his other businesses, putting all his faith and trust in the hands of Botelho, 32 – a long-term partner at LePage who will serve as general manager – and the team they built there.

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“I’m really excited and happy that something like this was offered to me because it’s definitely the job I needed to be in…I’m just excited to see what’s to come,” said Botelho, who will be the face of LePage and responsible for day-to-day operations.

The manager has worked in restaurants in the area

Botelho, a 15-year veteran in the restaurant business, has worked her way up the restaurant ladder in Greater Fall River “all her life” — from busing at the Liberal Club of Fall River, which is owned by her uncle, to serving as a as a waitress and bartender at Mesa 21 in Fall River. Most recently, she was General Manager of Westport’s popular restaurant and event venue, Bittersweet Farm.

Plans to partner up came about as most do – after a discussion about cleaning teeth in the dentist’s chair.

Van Regenmorter has been friends with Botelho for many years and has been a patient of his dental practice since she was a child.

Looking to get away from the restaurant industry, Botelho worked at Buzzards Bay Coalition for a few months before quickly realizing that “office life is not for me…I needed chaos”.

Botelho had just left Buzzards Bay and was returning to LaFrance Hospitality when Van Regenmorter offered to board him at LePage.

“It was just the right time,” she said.

Since joining LePage about a month ago, Botelho has worked with staff and past owners, who have helped show her the lay of the land, while helping her define a vision. for this new chapter of LePage.

“I’ve been here for a month and what I see is people are really enjoying the food and the atmosphere…people get this welcoming and friendly feeling when they walk in. They are greeted by great staff here and the food is always really good so we will definitely keep it,” Botelho said.

Popular LePage menu items will remain

LePage’s will continue to offer dishes for just about every taste, including pasta dishes, such as lobster macaroni and cheese, scampi with prawns and Mozambique chicken, as well as various seafood dishes and platters. cooked and fried classics.

Botelho said LePage’s menu will remain largely the same, with some tweaks that include the addition of daily specials and an emphasis on fresh local catches.

“We’re in such a good location right now, between all the farmers in the area, so we want to bring in a lot more fresh produce,” Botelho said.

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They aim to incorporate more fresh fish into the menu – some Van Regenmorter himself will help catch on his boat named Moxie, which he keeps moored at Sakonnet Point – as well as oysters from his farm. LePage also plans to partner with other local fishermen and farmers.

Local farmers and fishermen

“We want to emphasize that things are there for people to understand that we’re putting our money back into our community and that’s something I’ve always done,” Van Regenmorter said.

“We will have unique offers that not everyone will have,” he added.

The building is currently undergoing a refresh, with interior upgrades to give the space a more farmhouse/industrial feel.

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“I want people to notice that over time there won’t be anything drastic,” Van Regenmorter said.

Renovations and upgrades include painting, remodeling the dining room, adding a bar and a new point-of-sale system aimed at increasing efficiency – delivering ‘the same or better service faster’ “.

LePage – currently closed Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday – will keep the same days and hours of operation for the time being to give them the opportunity to make these updates.

They are open Sunday and Thursday, from 11:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m., and Friday and Saturday, from 11:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Once summer approaches, Botelho said they will likely extend those hours.

Botelho’s forte is event planning and in her new role she would like to promote more special events throughout the year such as paint nights, floristry classes and garden parties. ‘anniversary.

It’s a great option for the summer with the patio set up outside, she said, and they already have a few for June.

LePage’s clam boils will continue

LePage’s is well known for its clam boils and community events, which Botelho said they will also continue to host, while focusing on smaller-scale events to attract new faces.

Botelho said she is also working on revamping LePage’s bar selection, which will include a variety of craft beers. Their long-term plan is to add a rooftop bar overlooking Watuppa Pond, perhaps a year later.

Going forward, the pair’s goal for LePage is to see him get bigger and better. And they’re encouraged by the response they’ve received from LePage customers and the community.

“It’s nice to see people liking LePage for who he is now, but they’re excited to see the changes we’re going to make as well,” Botelho said.

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