SOUTHWEST HARBOR — On a fine early May day, Aaron Bernstein, operations manager at Beal’s Lobster Pier, directed employees on deployment of the additional docks needed to gear up for another busy summer.

Inside the processing plant, long-time staffer Erica Harper picked lobster. In the restaurant, which serves seafood coming over those docks, a new but highly experienced executive chef, John Wight, was setting up the kitchen and connecting with area farms for other locally sourced ingredients.

A central waterfront fixture, Beal’s works year-round with commercial fishermen. In the summer, diners on the restaurant’s deck have a wonderful view of iconic harbor scenes.

Under new ownership as of January, the longstanding, family-run institution is looking forward to a bright future.

“I think it’s going to be a very busy summer,” said Bernstein. “We were able to purchase equipment that will help us be more efficient. We’re shipping lobsters to additional places. We’re really excited about our new chef. We have a new website, and social media, so we’ll reach more people out of town. We’ve got a new computer system. We’re getting things spiffed up—new paint, new equipment.”

The Beal’s legacy goes back to 1930, when Harvard Beal established the fish wharf, which then went to his son, Elmer “Buzzy” Beal Sr. In 1977, Harvard’s grandson Sam joined the business, after graduating summa cum laude in mechanical engineering, then working at the Naval Ship Research and Development Center in Bethesda, Md., for five years.

For 34 years, Sam was a familiar presence to the fishing community as manager and then owner, known for his kindness, charity, energy and innovative spirit. Eventually, he sought a purchaser to carry on the business, so he could focus on his engineering designs. Unfortunately, in 2011, he passed away before that could happen.

Bernstein considered Beal a mentor—a soft-spoken, knowledgeable person with “a warm-glow kind of smile.”

Sam’s wife Mary made sure the operation ran smoothly, with the help of Bernstein and Rob Bauer, the general manager hired in 2012. Now, new owner Russell Bernard, a Connecticut man with links to MDI, along with business partner Stu Snyder, is committed to maintaining the legacy.

“We’ll keep up the tradition and support for the industry and community,” Bernard said. “We’ll continue to stay an institution, although we’ll modernize it more. We’re hiring people, we have wholesale and restaurant operations, we have employees on the payroll year-round and they have more hours, and there are more fishermen coming to Beal’s because of the quality of service the team provides.”

Bernstein said this year, they expect to have 20-25 fishermen, a number close to the peak of a decade or so ago. Lobster is a primary product, of course.

“Last year, lobstering was fantastic in these parts,” Bernstein said. “I hope it will be another really good year that way. We hope to be strong in price. I think the more lobsters that we can send to different markets, the better we are able to stay up on price. Ideally, we make money and they make money.”

The team boosted scallop sales this year when it bought two to three times more than usual. Like dealers and fishermen everywhere in the Northeast, Bernstein was disappointed when fishery regulators forestalled the season’s shrimp fishery.

“It’s a good product for us,” Bernstein said. “We peel, bag, and freeze it here. I know exactly what goes into it, and when we sell it, I feel really good about it. Same with scallops. We buy them off the boat, grade them here, and know exactly what’s in that bag, and that make you feel good about selling it.”

They’ll also have their usual clams, mussels, haddock and a bit of halibut.

“And we’re adding farm-raised oysters, out of Blue Hill Bay, to what we carry,” Bernstein said. “We’re excited about that. The local thing sells, and it’s nice to deal with local people. We’ve been buying mussels from the same guy we’re getting oysters from, so we already have a good relationship, and he has a very high-quality product. That’s the key. The goal is to carry on the Beal’s quality.”