ROCKLAND—A fast-casual lunch and dinner spot opened this week called Maine Kebab, and owner Shane McGarvey and his executive chef, Ken Hynes, are already ahead of the curve in terms of issues that have plagued restaurants since the COVID-19 virus hit back in March.
The menu is very simple: Mediterranean and Turkish flavors. Main dishes include Tumeric rice bowls, flatbread sandwiches, falafel and hummus box, and a salad box all serve as the main ingredient dishes, to which a diner has the choice to add in protein: lamb kofta, beef brisket, grilled chicken, pork belly, Haloumi, and tofu.
There are also smaller sides, kid’s meals, fried chicken dishes, desserts, and drinks. But the real stars of the menu are Hynes’ six different sauces from scratch to go with each meal, such as the MK Green, a take on green goddess dressing, MK Yellow, a curry and honey sauce, and MK Orange, a white sauce with a habanero kick— to name a few.
“Everything is mix and match on the menu,” he said. “The basis of the menu stemmed from late nights in New York City after getting out of work at 2 a.m. and there’s nothing but halal carts and after not eating all day, that food saves your life.”
Hynes, born in New Jersey, went to culinary school and has traveled all around the country for the last 15 years, working in fine dining and exploring different culinary regions from Napa Valley to New York to Alaska.
“I grew up in a very small town and wanted to experience more of the world and the flavors in different areas,” he said. He and his wife moved to Maine to be closer to her family once they had a baby. Most recently he was a chef at 40 Paper, before joining forces with McGarvey.
McGarvey is also a chef. He owns Applecroft Catering on the side. The Rockland branch is the latest franchise to open. McGarvey opened a restaurant of the same name in Waldoboro back in July.
“With COVID, we switched gears to try and feed the public the safest way we can and as affordable to the public as possible,” said Hynes. “Shane designed this menu completely with the limitations of COVID in mind and to be fast, easy, simple, and franchisable.”
Unlike a traditional takeout shop, Maine Kebab only allows online ordering on a website that hosts both locations. No cash is exchanged. Once the order is completed, a diner can simply pick up the boxed food at the window with minimal contact.
If and when the world goes back to normal, the open space in the restaurant, may, someday, be open to indoor dining. The outdoor seating is still available once the weather gets warmer.
To see the menu and order go to Maine Kebab’s website and choose either Rockland or Waldoboro. The restaurant is open from 12 to 9 p.m every day except Tuesday.
Kay Stephens can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org