By Molly Weeks Crumbley
A mainstay of Solomons Island dining since 2003, Kingfishers Seafood Bar and Grill has closed its doors to the public.
Originally founded as the first Stoney’s location by Phil and Jeannie Stone, Kingfishers was known for coastal seafood dishes and beautiful views. Eric Faughnan, who has owned the restaurant for the past 10 years, didn’t make the decision to close lightly.
The lease on the building was coming to a close, said Faughnan, but times have been hard on the business lately. “The last two years in the restaurant business have been extremely difficult. Unfortunately, banks are now extremely cautious to lend to the hospitality industry, and we have managed inconsistent sales and surging expenses since 2020 while also struggling to maintain adequate levels of staff.”
Faughnan began his career at Kingfishers in the spring of 2005, beginning as a bus boy and working his way up to general manager. Though his background is in architecture—a field that he will be focusing on in his next chapter—he was happy to be a part of the hospitality industry for the past decade. Faughnan looks back fondly on his time at Kingfishers, particularly the community events that the restaurant was a part of, like the dragon boat races, Taste of Solomons, Christmas Walk, High Heel Race, weddings, bar crawls, power boat races, Tiki Bar Opening, and Plein Air.
Many restaurants are facing similar struggles in the wake of the pandemic, and Faughnan says that it will be essential for them to pivot and adapt in order to remain viable businesses.
He offers his customers these parting thoughts, “Support all of your local businesses when you can, especially restaurants. Be honest and sincere when service and quality do not meet your expectations, but also be kind. The restaurant business is full of challenges, yet the last two years have seemed impossible at times. Nothing means more to a restaurant employee than a genuine thank you. I also want to thank everyone for all of the kind words on social media after we closed—it really meant the world to me. The truth is, we tried our hardest until our final day and will always be thankful for being able to serve Solomons for 10 years.”