Chef John Varanese is getting ready to open his new riverfront restaurant, River House Restaurant & Raw Bar, with a soft public opening, with media coverage, on Monday, Feb. 29. The full grand opening will be Monday, March 7.

The soft opening on Feb. 29 will begin at 5 p.m. Varanese said there will be the full media treatment, including opening declarations by the mayor, and other hoopla. The rest of the week will be a continuing shakedown to perfect service and other details.

The very large space in a former boat storage facility has taken six months to revamp, including installing 23 glass sliding windows, with screens, “to get nice summer and fall breezes,” according to Varanese. There will also be a fifteen-foot raw bar of white stone.

Among the menu items will be New Orleans-style herbed grilled oysters, Maker 46 barrel  plank  smoked salmon with ratatouille and potatoes and a dish Varanese made at a James Beard House dinner, bacon wrapped pork tenderloin with cherry bourbon sorghum glaze.