News & Chews: The Rusticator

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Few resorts evoke that old-timey Maine spirit as The Oakland House, in Brooksville, facing Eggemoggin Reach. The property, comprising 15 cottages, an inn and a restaurant, sprawls on 50 oceanfront acres, with a half-mile of shoreline. Much of the land was a king’s grant to eighth-generationowner Jim Littlefield’s ancestors way back in 1765. The original Homestead, built in 1767, houses the resort’s restaurant.

While no news is the usually the big news here — and guests would have it no other way–this year there is big news. Littlefield, who operates the resort with his wife Sally, has hired Rich Hanson, of Ellsworth’s Cleonice Mediterranean Bistro as acting executive chef; renamed the restaurant The Rusticator, to honor the areas early settlers; and revamped the menu. Hansen’s nephew Jeremy, who’s worked in the Cleonice kitchen, will be chef de cuisine.

The Rusticator will not follow in Cleonice’s Mediterranean-inspired footsteps. Instead, it will draw on the property’s history to feature food “from the place and of the time.” What that means, Littlefield says, is “old fashioned favorites recreated for  contemporary palates.” Hansen will be sourcing ingredients from the inn’s gardens and local farmers and purveyors, such as Sunset Acres and Four Season Farm.

The goal, Littlefield says, is to make the restaurant a destination unto itself. Better make reservations now…