In 1986 two siblings along with their spouses decided to take what capital they had to open a small take-out restaurant. With over 40 years of combined experience in the restaurant industry and a love of Olde Towne, Portsmouth, there was never a question of where the restaurant would be located nor what the menu would consist of in substance. In this town, the key ingredient would be fresh seafood done simply. Two locations were found and during the interview for leasing one of the properties the agent(Portsmouth Redevelopment and Housing Authority) suggested that with the extensive experience in fine dining that it might be better to combine the two available spaces into one and and open a full service seafood restaurant. A meeting took place with the four partners and with only limited funds it was decided to add another partner-another sibling. It was still felt that the food should remain the same with an addition of some signature dishes but what segment of the market should become the target was still not clear; should it be high end with an emphasis on service or should it be a high volume restaurant like the chowder houses in New England? The decision was to use the best from both of the concepts and create a fine seafood restaurant in a casual eloquent atmosphere.
The design for the restaurant and the renovation of the leased spaces began and was carried out by the partners using skills learned over the years in contracting work and renovating work in various properties throughout Portsmouth. The design was simple-create a casual, cozy, and quiet atmosphere that highlighted the character of Portsmouth; hence the watercolor paintings(created by a local artist from old newspaper prints borrowed from the library) and the columns taken from renovation projects in Portsmouth.
The restaurant name was another matter. The original name for the take out restaurant(The Seafood Shanty) didn't fit with the new plans for the business. A Thesaurus was the answer to finding a suitable name that would invoke the image desired. This being a seafood-rich area so much nautical terminology that would be suitable for the name had been used in one way or the other for other establishments, and the name needed to be unique. Lobscouser was a unique and interesting word discovered deep in the search.
Lobscouse (lob' skaus): Nautical and dialect. Also lobscourse, lobskous, lap's course. [Of obscure origin: cf. LOBLOLLY. (SCOUSE is now used in the same sense.)] A sailor's dish consisting of meat stewed with vegetables and ship's biscuit or the like(a soup made with the catch of the day and crackers)
Lobscouser (lob' skauser), derived from lobscouse. Nickname for a chef on a sea vessel.