Wait until you see the pictures below of the new National Club Mexican restaurant in New Bedford.

We've watched for years as preparations have been made to renovate the space that used to be the gritty National Club at the corner of Union Street and Route 18 downtown.  The old fisherman's bar shut its doors a while back and the property was sold to Lafrance Hospitality, owners of White's of Westport, Bittersweet Farm and other local staples.

We had heard for some time that the street-level space was likely to be occupied by a Lafrance restaurant.

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That didn't happen.

Instead, Lafrance leased the space to Steve Silverstein, who was looking to open up his 41st restaurant. Thirty of those restaurants were Not Your Average Joe's locations. Now, Silverstein's New Bedford-based crown jewels are The Black Whale and Cisco.

For as many restaurants as Silverstein has opened, surprisingly, he has never opened a Mexican restaurant. That will change this fall when he opens The National Club. Yes, while everything else other than the address will change, the name will also remain the same.

"I've always had this idea to do a Mexican restaurant, but when I say Mexican, people picture tacos and enchiladas," Silverstein said. "However, it's really more of a younger, hipper, kind of a city experience type of restaurant. It's going to be upscale. It will blow your mind."

Silverstein released the plans for the new restaurant to Fun 107 so that the public could get a sneak peek. Get ready for a bright, colorful, cheery addition to downtown New Bedford.

What immediately stands out is how much the restaurant's presence spills outdoors to the sidewalk and the waterfront-facing area. The outdoor seating will be abundant and is going to beautify this well-traveled corner of the city.

Here's your first look at the new National Club:

Check Out New Bedford's New National Club Mexican Restaurant

Steve Silverstein, owner of The Black Whale and Cisco in New Bedford, is at it again, creating another first-class restaurant this time in the city's downtown. Here is an artist's rendering of the new National Club Mexican restaurant on Union Street.

Gallery Credit: Micheal Rock

One Last Look at The National Club In Its Bar Days

Whether you spent time inside New Bedford's The National Club or always wondered what it looked like, here's one fond last look back.

Gallery Credit: Michael Rock

SouthCoast Restaurants Offering Fireside Dining

When the weather gets cold, nothing sounds better than warming yourself by a fire. Unless, of course, you also get to have dinner and drinks by that fire. Luckily, there are plenty of restaurants on the SouthCoast and beyond where you can ease your hunger while sitting hearthside.

Gallery Credit: Nancy Hall

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