OWLS HEAD — In an era where we have an “Ultimate Airport Dining Survival Guide” for flyers who want more than just “airport food,” Owls Head just got a pleasant addition to the Knox County Regional Airport, when recent Arizona transplants Casey Dominguez and his fiancée, Erin Armbruster, opened the The Salty Owl, a new chic and casual breakfast and lunch café right in the annex of the airport.
Armbruster, 27, and and Dominguez, 30, have both worked in the restaurant industry for years. They were looking for an opportunity to open their own restaurant when Armbruster’s mother, who lives in South Thomaston, invited them to live in Maine.
With views over a small Cape Air plane outside the large windows, The Salty Owl has a nice retro vibe. A stack of vintage records sits next to a turntable, which was playing The Who the day I walked in. The light blue repainted walls offset the refinished tables that were either built or salvaged by the couple, who also installed re-upholstered royal blue church pews to line the walls of the cafe.
Behind the counter, a collection of mismatched blue Delftware sat neatly stacked on shelves.
The couple has only been in Maine for four months, but managed to get all of the renovations, painting and organization of the new cafe done in two months.
“It’s always been a a café or concession stand here, but we wanted to bring some character to this space, especially being in New England,” said Dominguez. “We wanted to have that rustic feel.”
The Salty Owl offers breakfast and lunch, specializing in Cornish pasty-style hand pies with comfort food fillings such as the Animal, (ground beef, American cheese, caramelized onions, sweet pickles and 1000 Island Dressing).
In the first week they’ve been open, a big hit with the crowds have been the Breakfast hand pie for $5 (local sausage, scrambled eggs, white cheddar and potatoes) and the Haddock Reuben hand pie (fresh haddock, Morses’ sauerkraut, Swiss cheese, German mustard and 1000 Island Dressing). They also offer vegetarian and gluten-free options.
Armbruster serves as the back of the house and baker, while Dominguez takes care of the customers, behind a counter filled with homemade pastries and cookies.
“It’s more than just a place for people to get food between flights; we’re really looking to attract the locals,” said Armbruster. “We’ve actually been overwhelmed by the positive response.”
They plan to be open 6 a.m to 5 p.m. on weekdays (closed Wednesday) and on weekends, open 7 a.m to 3 p.m.
For more information visit their Facebook page.
Kay Stephens can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org