CAMDEN – The long awaited and much anticipated Camden Island Chinese Restaurant at 87 Elm Street gave a sneak peek inside its doors on Thursday, June 14. Owner Jeff Chen said that while all the major work is completed, they have been working to finish all the fine details to be able to open their doors.
Mr. Chen is from Quincy, Massachusetts. Though originally from China he has been in the U.S. for roughly 30 years. He is married with two children.
He also has restaurants in Skowhegan and Pittsfield.
Why a restaurant in Camden?
"The people here in Camden are nice," he said. "Everybody is so very nice. That's we we came over here."
The restaurant will have a large dining room, a lounge and a function room for parties and meetings. Camden Island can accommodate up to 25 people in the function room.
The restaurant will seat 125 people in the dining area. The decor is plush and brightly colored to lend to a festive Chinese style.
Chen said they have put a lot of work into the details of the restaurant and the menu.
"When you step into the restaurant you will know it is Chinese," he said. "I like the Cantonese and Dim Sum dishes. Some of the recipes come from Chinatown and are more spicy. There is something for everyone on the menu."
Camden Island will feature a large appetizer list including everyone's favorite, the Pu Pu Platter and some Chinatown Dim Sum, as well as Cantonese and Szechaun dishes, Chow Meins and Chow Yokes, whole or half duck, and curries from Bombay, to name a few.
There will be a children's menu and some American dishes like a cheeseburger and a steak.
Chen is a Chinese chef, but will only work in the kitchen when his help is needed. He said he would prefer being out front greeting and speaking to customers.
His favorite dish is General Tso's Chicken. And just in case you're wondering how to pronounce it, the "T" is silent. You should really be saying General So's Chicken.
Camden Island is anxious to open. They first filed plans for the restaurant in September 2017. Chen promises a follow up article once the restaurant is open. We'll take pictures of some dishes and talk Chinese cooking with him.
Until then enjoy the pictures and look forward to a new Chinese connection in Camden.