For those coming back to Maine for the summer, here's what's new...

Welcome back to Belfast, Snow Bats 2016

Wed, 06/01/2016 - 9:00pm

    If you're wondering why Camden and Rockland get the Snow Birds moniker and Belfast gets the Snow Bats, it's because years ago, Belfast's champion, Mike Hurley, made up a bunch of bumper stickers celebrating the left-leaning citizens he affectionately called Moon Bats. So, if you've been away this winter, Penobscot Bay Pilot has an update on everything that opened, closed and changed while you were gone.

    Restaurant news

    Nautilus Seafood and Grill

    Over the winter, Nautilus Seafood and Grill, formerly in the location of 95 Searsport Ave. (over the bridge) in East Belfast, moved into the downtown waterfront Belfast location that was formerly the Weathervane Restaurant. They opened in January and thanks to the "location and loyalty" of their steadfast customers, they seem to be thriving. See our story here.

    Taco Bell

    In November, anyone going through the Wendy's fast food restaurant at 22 Belmont Ave. in Belfast found an empty window with dismantled signs. Right now, Taco Bell is in the process of renovating the space and they hope to be open by the fall.


    The Gothic Restaurant at 108 Main St. has been undergoing changes too, with chef Matthew Kenney announcing that The Gothic, which re-opened Memorial Day Weekend, will now be operating as Arata, a high end, plant-based cuisine concept of Kenney's, and executed by Chef Scott Winegard, director of culinary operations. In a press release, Kenney said that Arata will be a place "to test new ideas, experiment and continuously innovate within the category."

    Business news

    Kids Unplugged

    A new low-tech, high-energy play space owned and operated by Belfast parent and graphic designer Lee Parent, Kids Unplugged just opened in May. The 2,000-square-foot space in the Belfast Reny's Plaza has big plans for activating kids' imaginations. See our recent story here.


    Right next to Kids Unplugged, a frozen yogurt shop, sweetFrog, had a grand re-opening in March. The Belfast location is the fourth sweetFrog store operating in Maine.

    Read about what’s new in Rockland and in Camden

    • Welcome back to Rockland, Snow Birds 2016

    • Welcome back to the Camden-Rockport area, Snow Birds 2016

    Fiddlehead Artisan Supply, Chocolate Drop Candy Shop, Harbor Artisans, The Cool Spot

    Fiddlehead Artisan Supply, a sewing, quilting and crafts store that opened in May 2011 on High Street, also moved in March around the corner to 64 Main St., replacing the Chocolate Drop Candy Shop and Harbor Artisans. However, sweet tooths will rejoice when they learn that the Chocolate Drop Candy Shop didn't go away for good; it just reopened at 35 Main St. in the space vacated by The Cool Spot ice cream shop. As for the Belfast Harbor Artisans, they are still actively looking for storefront space.

    Bagel Café

    What goes out must come in and with Fiddlehead Artisan's former location at 159 High Street available, Camden's Bagel Café owners have decided to expand there. They are currently working on renovations for a new Bagel Café and plan to open this month, in June.

    Belfast Bicycles...Sidecountry Sports

    Speaking of switcheroos, after 12 years, Belfast Bicycles has closed its doors at 161 Main St., prompting Sidecountry Sports of Rockland to also expand its business and open a second location there. They just opened this month, offering seasonal ski and bicycle sales, rentals and service.

    United Farmers Market

    And finally, Paul Naron has purchased the former Mathews Brothers building at Miller, Spring and Cross streets and is in the process of establishing the United Farmers Market in the building. He is now making renovations, and it appears that his goal is to be open this fall.

    If we've missed any business updates, comings and goings, expansions and the like, shoot us an email with the subject line "Add to Moon Bat story" and we'll give it a look.

    Kay Stephens can be reached at