OWLS HEAD—Bill Clifford, a chef who once ran Bill’s Original Kitchen in Kittery, has revived his one-man operation and recently opened his new kitchen at Knox County Regional Airport.
Originally from Portsmouth, New Hampshire, Clifford has worked as a chef at multiple venues in Maine, including his last stint at Point Lookout in Lincolnville before it abruptly closed.
The plan was in place since mid-October to take over the space, once occupied by the Salty Owl Cafe. He decided to take the best elements from his former restaurant and open at the end of the terminal two weeks ago.
“I had the Original Kitchen in Kittery from 2015 to about 2017 and then had an opportunity to come up to the Midcoast where my children have been living for many years,” said Clifford. “When this space became available, I had the opportunity to take my idea for a lobster roll business into this location and expand it with some other popular items from the Kittery location.”
His breakfast fare is simple: homemade breakfast sandwiches and Carrabassett Coffee. Lunch offerings are, in his words, “hearty plates and quick sandwiches.”
Chief among them include his famous lobster roll, sourced locally and made to order with Hellman’s mayonnaise, a little seasoning, a seared off split-top New England style bun, and cracked pepper and salt.
“The lobster roll is not pre-made and that’s the difference in the flavor,” said Clifford. “Everything is freshly coordinated together. You can tell when a lobster salad has been pre-mixed. Here, that doesn’t happen and people always tell me, ‘This is the way it’s supposed to taste.’”
A pot roast burger is another hearty item on the menu made with slabs of hot pot roast on a bun with barbecue sauce.
“As the lobster roll business took off, many times, people would come in and not everyone wanted a lobster roll, so they usually chose this item,” he said. “After a lot of trial and error, it has become very popular.”
Another unusual item, made popular at his Kittery location, is a swordfish BLT served on a bun with homemade mayo.
“I served that many many times,” he said. “People fell in love with that sandwich.”
The K.C.A.P. is open-faced Italian made with provolone, salami, and ham with banana peppers, red onions, tomatoes, roasted garlic oil, a staple on his menu. Other rotating items will include homemade soups and salads.
Clifford is primarily serving airport customers coming through right now, but hopes the locals will visit to try some of his from-scratch fare.
Bill’s Original Kitchen hours are 7 to11 a.m. for breakfast sandwiches and 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. for lunch items. Specials can be found on his Facebook page.