By Ethan Forman
---- — The owner of` Palmers Restaurant and Tavern in downtown Andover has expanded its reach with the opening of a second restaurant in Marblehead.
John Palmer Ingalls has set up his latest kitchen within Marblehead’s new 37,000-square-foot Warwick Place complex, which features a cinema with two theaters, cafe, offices and retail shops in addition to the new Palmers restaurant.
The new complex — built on the site of the old Warwick cinema that stood on Pleasant Street in Marblehead from 1919 to 1999 — is part of what is called a dine-in theater concept.
Soon moviegoers will be able to sip a beer and eat crab cakes and other tavern-type food while watching first-run films from the comfort of a lounge-style rocker seats.
Ingalls said last week that he and his staff, including head chef Lee Fannon, sous chef Kirk Vanacore and pastry chef Melissa Selvon-Cornelisse, have been putting in long hours to get the restaurant and cafe going.
Fannon has relocated from the Palmers in Andover to lead the new restaurant. Travis Brown is now the head chef in Andover, Ingalls said.
The new restaurant has more than 100 seats, including an outdoor patio and bar. It features modern furniture, crystal chandeliers; a large, square bar and a spacious dining area. “It’s going very well,” Ingalls said. “We are opening in stages. It’s such a big project, plus I have Palmers in Andover, so I want to keep up the reputation and good food that I have had for 25 years.”
Ingalls first established Palmers in 1988 in Swampscott as a waterfront eatery across from the harbor. In 1995, he moved Palmers to 18 Elm St. in Andover near the center of the downtown, where it has remained ever since.