ROCKPORT – The Blue Spoon Bistro, formerly of Portland, has relocated to 5 Country Inn Way in Rockport. The principals are Elizabeth Koenigsberg, co-owner of E. Wales Hospitality and front house manager of the Blue Spoon, and William Levay, co-owner and chef of the Blue Spoon and E. Wales Hospitality.
The E. in E. Wales is Elizabeth’s first name; the Wales is a family name, as well as her middle name. She is the voice of both the catering business and restaurant.
It seemed fitting after a long trial of names, said Levay.
“We said, ‘why don’t we just name it after you’, and it worked,” he said.
Koenigsberg grew up in Portland, left for a while and went back. Levay is from Indiana and spent time in the Carolinas, Denver and New York as a chef before moving to Portland.
According to Levay, the Blue Spoon was founded in Portland by a gentleman named David Lovino in 2000.
“We purchased the Blue Spoon in 2018 from him as an existing, small neighborhood bistro style restaurant, which is what we were looking to own for ourselves.” said Levay.
“Elizabeth was also catering,” said Levay. “The Blue Spoon restaurant also ended up being Blue Spoon Catering. We ran the restaurant and started doing weddings and that expanded.”
It was post-COVID when they decided to separate the two companies; hence, the Blue Spoon restaurant and E. Wales Hospitality.
The couple moved their family to the Midcoast in 2021. Over time, the space at 5 Country Inn Way became available and they saw it as a way to move the hospitality company to Rockport, to build a presence in the area.
For a year and a half that was their focus. The building, however, has an upstairs dining room and they wondered how to use the space.
“Ultimately it was decided we would shut down the Portland location in April of this past year, and so it was just fitting that we open that concept back up,” said Levay.
Koenigsberg said it was not their intention to move the restaurant to the Midcoast from Portland.
“We had envisioned keeping it there and letting it run itself with our oversight, and us running back and forth some,” said Koenigsberg.
Staffing issues, however, became hard to manage and they did not own the building, so they made the move.
While their Portland clientele was sad, Koenigsberg learned that a number of them owned houses in the Midcoast.
“We had not known that,” she said. “People wanted to know if we were going to open in the Midcoast because they had houses in Belfast, or Rockport, or Northport, and that started us thinking, ‘could we do it up here at some point?’”
They partnered with the Norumbega last summer, hosting a series of four dinners to see what the feedback might be; those dinners sold out and were successful.
“Once catering season wrapped up we figured the time was now,” she said.
Koenigsberg’s great, great grandmother was from the area and her family still owns property in Northport.
After COVID, the catering dynamic changed, said Koenigsberg. They began looking at places where they could have a catering company and possibly expand. They were looking for a slower, quieter pace for their family and for their kids.
“We had looked at the Youngtown Inn but unfortunately it went under contract the day we looked at it,” she said. “At that point, we had it in our heads that this was the move we were ready to make.”
At the current location, they can seat 50 people.
“We’re going to do a chef’s table downstairs,” she said. “It will seat eight people. It will be a little more private, but also honor requests from people in wheelchairs or who are not interested in climbing stairs.”
The Blue Spoon’s menu borders eclectic and has French influence.
Levay is a classically trained chef and Koenigsberg co-owned a French Bistro for seven years.
“We always said that if we ever open up a restaurant from the ground up it will be a French Bistro,” said Levay. “That’s the food we love and the traditional style of service.”
They want to provide outstanding hospitality and service.
“We have a full wine list,” Koenigsberg said. “We have some specialty cocktails, classically mixed cocktails; we don’t really do a lot of infusions. The wine list is classically Old World French, but there are some new world options, as well.”
And the plate portions are full, said Levay.
Pricing has to do with ingredients coming in the back door. Levay said he tries to use locally-sourced foods, but some are not available.
“I look forward to next summer when I can develop relationships with a lot of the local farmers,” he said.
Levay said they didn’t open the restaurant to feed off of the tourist wave.
“This is supposed to be a neighborhood style place,” he said. “We serve the people who are local. Hopefully we have enough staff where we can continue the concept through the summer, but if not, we’ll shut it down and reopen next winter and be an offseason restaurant.”
Koenigsberg said the catering side of the business is more than enough to sustain them during the summer.
Both Koenigsberg and Levay said they picked the right area, not just for the restaurant, but for the catering as well.
“More importantly we’ve picked the right area for our family and our kids,” he said. “The community has been supportive. The people in our neighborhood who are now friends have been supportive. Not just in our business, but as our friends.”
You can’t be more thankful then to have that, said Levay.
The Blue Spoon is open Thursday through Saturday from 5 p.m. to closing.
For reservations go here.