EVERETT — It’s been a busy summer for Jack Ng.
The restaurant owner opened two establishments at the Port of Everett in two months, the Muse Whiskey Bar & Coffee Shop in July and this week, Fisherman Jack’s.
“It’s not easy to open two restaurants,” Ng said.
Ng now operates four restaurants in Snohomish and Island counties, as well as the Muse, located in the Weyerhaeuser Building.
His biggest challenge?
Decorating, setting up the dining room, the kitchen and bar, “that’s easy, that’s fun,” Ng said.
But hiring enough people to staff the new restaurant — “that’s the hard part,” he said.
Fisherman Jack’s Asian-inspired cuisine includes seafood, rice bowls, dim sum and desserts. It features a full bar.
The 4,000 square-foot restaurant, with 2,500 square feet of outdoor patio space overlooking the boardwalk and the Everett Marina, was set to open to the public at 4 p.m. Thursday.
The hours are 4 to 11 p.m. But lunch is coming.
Ng, who has hired 30 people to staff the restaurant, will open earlier when he hires about 20 more, he said.
It was a happy crowd that attended Wednesday’s ribbon cutting.
About 50 people turned out for the invite-only event, to admire the new restaurant and claim free appetizers and drinks.
Fisherman Jack’s debut is another a milestone for the port, and the peopling of Waterfront Place, a 65-acre business and residential district that continues to expand.
Port and city officials, restaurant staff as well as Ng’s wife and business partner, Jin Ma, cut the gold ribbon.
Ng thanked the port’s commissioners and staff for supporting the project, which was “two years of hard work.”
“A big thank you to the Port of Everett,” Ng told the crowd. “They believed in me.”
“It took a little longer to complete than expected, but anything that’s excellent is worth the wait,” Lefeber said.
“Thank you Jack and Jin for being crazy enough to agree to two port investments at the same time,” she added.
In 10 months, they turned the Weyerhaeuser property, empty for 30 years, into the Muse, an elegant watering hole.
The port contributed $1 million to the project and Ng invested “several million,” he told The Daily Herald in July.
“Thank you for your incredible investment in our city and our waterfront,” Everett Mayor Cassie Franklin told Ng and Ma. “The port is booming!”
Ng runs China City restaurant in Mill Creek, as well as two more China City locations in Freeland and Oak Harbor on Whidbey Island. Ten years ago, he considered opening a restaurant at Everett’s waterfront, but concluded the time wasn’t right.
But then Hotel Indigo, Waterfront Place Apartments, the boardwalk and Pacific Rim Plaza opened — and Ng changed his mind.
More is on the way, Lefeber said.
Construction of 300 new residences is set to begin in May.
Two new buildings, located just south of Fisherman Jack’s, are on the drawing board. They’re expected to house Rustic Cork Wine Bar, Anisoptera Spa, Lazy Boy Brewing, a fresh fish market and “hopefully a hamburger shop,” Lefeber said.
The popularity of the wooden walkway grows daily. On a cloudy weekday afternoon, a steady parade of pedestrians and their dogs sauntered by.
Fisherman Jack’s next-door neighbor, South Fork Bakery Co., is scheduled to open Sept. 17, Lefeber said.