Schoodic Region: Chews News

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(NOTE: Wish I could provide links on these, but for all there either aren’t any or they weren’t active.)

In Winter Harbor, Gerrish’s Store has been a landmark for generations. Once a true country store with marble-countered ice cream fountain and true penny candy, it was purchased a while back by a local wealthy person who tore the heart and soul out of the place, turning it into a swanky deli. (Same person tore down a home that had been in a family for five generations replacing it with the New York-style monstrosity that housed Mama’s Boy, which now sits derelict…but I digress, grrrr).

Anyhoo, this spring the new owner, a Bar Harbor restaurateur, planned to turn it into a restaurant, but he pulled out when he was unable to get a license to serve alcohol outside. Enter Kathryn Baltef, a local woman with previous experience operating a bakery down south, and her daughter Alyssa Rider. The duo opened Two Sisters, a bakery cafe serving breakfast and lunch, Gifford’s ice cream, coffee, tea and sweets. It’s comfortable, welcoming and has free Wifi.

Fisherman’s Inn is still going strong. Once when I was dining there, I asked the waitress how fresh the fish was. She laughed, directed me to the guy sitting in the booth behind us and said: Ask him, he caught it. Portions are generous here and accompanied by a sampling of chef-owner Carl Johnson’s smoked seafoods (he’s also the owner of Grindstone Neck of Maine) and foccacia bread accompanied by an addictive house dipping sauce made from olive oil, parsley, garlic and red pepper.

And yes, Chase’s is still the best choice for local grub and gossip, with good service, huge portions, low prices and better-than-decent fare. Hint: the small order of fish and chips is more than enough for most appetites.

Locals tell me a lobster joint is expected to open at the former Barnicle. Stay tuned for news on that one.

Locals worried that Bunkers Wharf, in Birch Harbor, wouldn’t reopen this spring, but it’s back and going strong. Although pricey by local standards, it has the best views and a super location at the end of the park’s Schoodic Loop; perfect for lunch or dinner. It overlooks a working wharf and lobster boat-filled cove–yeah, way quaint, precious and all those other adjectives used to describe Maine the way it’s depicted in postcards. By the way, Bunker’s is planning to open in Bangor, too, in the old EPI Pizza spot.

Downeast Deli, in Prospect Harbor, is doing well under its new ownership. It now has a dining area adjacent to the deli shop. Pizzas, hot and cold hoagies, sandwiches, etc., but the biggest seller is the homemade ice cream sandwich.

7 COMMENTS

  1. QUOTING: “In Winter Harbor, Gerrish’s Store has been a landmark for generations. Once a true country store with marble-countered ice cream fountain and true penny candy, it was purchased a while back by a local wealthy person who tore the heart and soul out of the place, turning it into a swanky deli. (Same person tore down a home that had been in a family for five generations replacing it with the New York-style monstrosity that housed Mama’s Boy, which now sits derelict…but I digress, grrrr).”

    Why the negative tone and words about an effort to add to adn complement, without erasing, the eclectic culture of Winter Harbor (fishing culture blended with the wealth of Grindstone Neck)? The Mama’s Boy building is an impressive and beautiful structure, designed very well to blend in with the existing architecture of Winter Harbor. The building it replaced was for sale, it was purchased – it was not grabbed from the hands of 5 generations of owners.

    Gerrish’s renovation a couple of years ago – I’m sure necessary for obtaining long overdue – and it was preserved while enhancing the original setting, still warm and folksy with a new edge. Ice cream is still scooped out but penny candy went the way of 30 cents per gallon gasoline.

    Winter Harbor is one of the jewels of the coast of Maine but it won’t survive economically if it were allowed to crumble and deteriorate.

  2. I forgot to say that it’s curious to read your positive tone in the (well deserved) comments about Bunker’s Wharf restaurant while you “knock” the beautiful, gabled architecture of Mama’s Boy, and the renovation of Gerrish’s? Is there something personal coloring your reivews?

  3. Brian, we each entitled to our opinions. I’ve talked with a lot of folks in the area. Some, like you, like the changes; others do not. I find the Mama’s Boy building a bit of overkill for area.

    I didn’t say it was “grabbed from the hands” of its previous owners. I was told by the previous owner that she was assured the home wouldn’t be torn down.It wasn’t a fancy structure by any means, nor was it likely appropriate for a restaurant. Obviously something had to give. Perhaps the original owner misunderstood. There’s a lot open to interpretation, just like the current building–you like it; I don’t.

    I loved the old Gerrish’s, and I wish it could have been updated without losing the old soda fountain–that was such a treasure. Perhaps I’m just too nostalgic. I do like Two Sisters, and I hope it succeeds. And I truly hope something goes into the old Mama’s Boy–signs of life in the property could go a long way to improving it’s abandoned look–at least, that’s the way it looked when I was there last week.

  4. I do take issue with someone entrusted to provide objective reviews but writes:
    “it was purchased a while back by a local wealthy person who tore the heart and soul out of the place, turning it into a swanky deli. (Same person tore down a home that had been in a family for five generations replacing it with the New York-style monstrosity that housed Mama’s Boy, which now sits derelict…but I digress, grrrr)

    “Swanky deli”? Gerish’s was not styled like a swanky deli, not that that would be a bad thing, right? Some of the food offerings might have been considered swanky I suppose, meaning of high and somewhat sophisticated quality, to be enjoyed with assorted options for coffees and [gasp] espresso… but I digress.

    Back to the beautiful building originally known as Mama’s Boy:
    “New-York-style monstrosity”? I think your eye is jaundiced…

    I’ll try to post a link to a photo of the Mama’s Boy building as seen from the waterfront and let readers judge for themselves. Be sure to go down to the Winter Harbor pier on Harbor Road and look back at at the two beautiful, gabled, VINTAGE homes there – the inspiration for the gabled “Mama’s Boy” building that graces the center of Winter Harbor village. Empty, yes, but sdeserving of the label “derelict,” not in my opinion nor those of many people who come to town expressing admiration for the beauty of the building and the way it honors the area architecture. Not a color photo, but this shows the structure of the Mama’s Boy building: http://web.mac.com/stevesoper/iWeb/Maine/Apartment_files/P1140087.jpg

    Some of us miss the Navy base, but that’s we don’t disparage the good people who took what could have been a deteriorating dinosaur and made it function as SERC for 21st century needs with a brand new, ATTRACTIVE auditorium hosting captivating events.

    Just my opinions.

  5. I think what SERC is doing is fantastic? What makes you think that I think otherwise? Really, I think you’re reading too much into my comments. And this is blog, it’s not meant to be objective but to voice my opinions. Just as you’re free to voice yours. It’s good that you like Mama’s Boy’s architecture; again, the overall design is fine, I just think the size is overkill. You know the old saying: Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

  6. Brian,
    I grew up in Winter Harbor and with Gerrish’s. The heart and soul of gerrish’s was ripped apart and it was turned into a swanky deli. I loved 2 sister’s! As for Mama’s Boy that is overkill and it should never have been allowed in the area at all. It’s a beautiful building but it has no reason to in the town I grew up in and love.

  7. As for Serc. Don’t even get me started. I don’t believe they are taking care of the former base and all and have destroyed many of my childhood memories.

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