Scales & Shells. Photo provided by Scales & Shells

Debra & Andy Ackerman announced today that they’ve entered into an agreement to sell Scales & Shells Restaurant to Nautilus Restaurant LLC/Peregrine Group.

The terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

The Ackermans opened Scales & Shells in 1987, with the goal of bringing the delicious, yet unpretentious, cooking style they fell in love with while living in the Emilia Romagna region of Italy to Newport, R.I. One of the first restaurants to open on Lower Thames street, Scales & Shells offers customers from Newport and across the world seafood dishes in their purest form – simple, fresh and full of flavor. Over the years, Scales & Shells has received top accolades from national press and locals alike.

“Debra and I are proud of the business we’ve built over the last thirty-five years, but more important to us are the relationships and community we’ve nurtured. From our loyal customers to our high-quality vendors and purveyors to our amazing staff – many of whose children now work for us – those relationships are what make Scales & Shells the success it is today,” said Owner Andy Ackerman in a statement. “We’re especially thankful to our attorney and good friend, Greg Fater, for his hard work not only for making this deal happen but for supporting us and our business throughout the years. As we take this important next step in our lives and enjoy retirement, we feel fortunate to know Scales & Shells will be in such good hands and look forward to becoming customers ourselves.”

Nautilus Restaurant LLC, formed by Peregrine Group, plans to keep all of the Scales & Shells staff on board, including the management team and head chef.

“We are humbled by the opportunity to participate in such a special place in the great City of Newport. Our goal with the restaurant is to maintain and enhance the wonderful tradition and dining experience built by Debra and Andy Ackerman and their world-class hospitality team,” said Colin Kane, Founding Partner of Peregrine Group in a statement. “We are especially delighted that Debra and Andy’s daughter Amanda and her husband, Kevin McDonough, as well as Chef “Junior” Frizzera have agreed to stay on board to keep this world-class ship in the middle of the channel and steady as she goes. We also want to thank Libby Kirwin of Residential Properties for helping both the Ackermans and Peregrine make this opportunity happen.”

“I quite literally grew up at Scales & Shells, from doodling on cocktail napkins while chatting with regulars as a child to bussing and waiting tables in the summers as a teenager. The restaurant has always been a second home to me. More recently, my husband Kevin and I moved back to help manage and expand the restaurant alongside my parents, getting the opportunity to layer our experiences on top of what they had already built,” said Amanda McDonough, Vice President of Operations at Scales & Shells. “After admiring their work ethic, dedication and heart for so many years, Kevin and I are ecstatic to see my parents get to enjoy their much-deserved retirement. We plan to take all of their guidance and wisdom with us as we partner with Colin and team on this exciting next chapter of Scales & Shells.”