CAMDEN—Many have wondered what would become of the old Atlantica building on the Bayview Landing area in Camden. Starting Labor Day weekend, the public had a chance to find out. Maine restaurateur Matt Haskell is unveiling three businesses in one location with a stunning renovation. Hoxbill (named after a sea turtle) opened first, a casual fine dining restaurant with floor to ceiling glass windows overlooking the harbor.
Blaze Brewery will open along with it. The brewery is not Haskell’s first brewing foray, but it will be the first physical incarnation of a Blaze-branded microbrewery with four to five American style brews planned for this year.
“Our inaugural beer will be a double IPA, and then we”ll roll out a Pilsner and a fantastic wheat,” he said. ‘From the start, we will offer growlers and then we’ll branch out from there. Eventually we’ll be able to do some barrel-aging and bring in more lines.”
Haskell said for now, Blaze Brewing will only serve his two Camden restaurants, but he plans to expand the brewery at his other restaurants later.
And in approximately a month, the same location will also see the opening of Kurafuto on the first floor. Styled after a counter-service izakaya, or pub, Kurafuto, which means “craft” in Japanese, will offer Japanese small plates, noodles, sushi, and sashimi that will pair well with Blaze’s American-style beers with “beer garden” seating outside and upstairs.
“We’ll have electric heaters outside, so people can sit out and enjoy the harbor well into late fall and even early winter,” said Haskell.
Both Hoxbill and Kurafuto are positioned as two separate restaurants joined in the center by the dramatic glass-enclosed Blaze microbrewery on the second floor with four stainless steel fermentation tanks visible from the “garage door” which leads inside.
Owner of Blaze, a wood-fired gastropub and Giacomo’s, a cafe and deli in Bangor, as well as Finback Alehouse in Bar Harbor, this will be Haskell’s fifth and sixth restaurant opening, respectively.
“I bought my first restaurant when I was 22,” he said. “Before that, I was a chef in Bar Harbor. My first job as a teen was at the Ground Round probably making $4.25 an hour.”
Tim Maslow, a Boston chef, is moving up to Maine to oversee both restaurants. “
Tim was Food & Wine’s New Best Chef in 2015 and he’s been nominated for a number of James Beard awards,” said Haskell. “I’ve been actively recruiting him for seven months and joining him will be a fantastic team of sous chefs. I really want to bring Hoxbill to a another level and Tim has the ability to do that.
“I think the Midcoast has an excellent culinary scene going on,” he said of his expansion to Camden. “We’re looking forward to offering our clientele a level of food, service and atmosphere that the Midcoast has come to expect from a number of high end restaurants in recent years and I’m going to do my darndest to make sure we meet that expectation.”
After an entire summer of renovations, Hoxbill will be have a soft opening first for friends and family on Labor Day Weekend before opening to the public on Friday, September 8, for dinner. Both restaurants plan to be open year-round, with the exception of a winter break.
Video courtesy Terry Boivin
Kay Stephens can be reached at email@example.com