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

Welcome back to the Camden area, Snow Birds 2021!

New restaurants and businesses that opened over the winter
Fri, 05/28/2021 - 10:45am

    CAMDEN—We had to skip our annual Snow Birds series last May due to all of the shutdowns during the pandemic, but during the winter-spring of 2020-2021, quite a few businesses have changed the downtown landscape.  It’s always interesting to see what's open, what's closed, what's new, and what's happening. Here is your rundown for the summer. 

    The Main Street Shuffle

    Downtown Camden saw an unprecedented number of business closures and closed restaurants over the winter. The Drouthy Bear, the Scottish pub restaurant, shuttered soon after the pandemic started and in its place, a couple of restaurateurs, Gabriela Acero and Derek Richard, moved in and made plans to open a new chophouse restaurant named wolfpeach. After more consideration, given the constraints of the state capacity mandates, the couple decided to temporarily switch up their restaurant model and initially offer a pop-up barbecue for takeout only called Dickie Steels’ BBQ.

    Zoot Coffee is currently in the process of doing a hop, skip, and a jump down to 5 Elm Street to the larger retail space formerly occupied by the boutique Josephine’s, which closed after the pandemic. Zoot plans to re-open in early May.

    BOWA (Best of What’s Around) moved into 31 Elm Street in February. Headed up by the owners of Long Grain restaurant, BOWA also adapted to the take-out model with healthy, seasonal meals. They are one of three new health-centered foodie spots that have opened. The other is Mixed Greens, a cafe/take-out at 15 Main Street, soon to open. On 25 Mechanic Street, a new energy tea and shake shop opened in late April called The Mill Nutrition.

    The Midcoast lost a vital resource when Sherman’s Books & Stationery was forced to close last March. In its place, Maine Seaside Treasures opened a year later at 14 Main Street. The sea-themed shop owned by Connie Sawyer is a sister shop to her Seagull Cottage boutique in Rockland. See our recent story.

    Cold Toes Tacos, which was the pandemic restaurant pivot of Boynton-McKay restaurant, has now expanded into a food truck, which can be found around the Midcoast this summer.

    Short Shots

    According to the Camden town office, here are more changes to downtown:

    Liberty Graphics, a long-standing T-shirt printing shop that has been around since the 1970s, moved to 13 Mechanic Street.

    Wooden Alchemy, a wood art store, moved from Rockland to 19 Elm in Camden.

    Oyster River Winegrowers, a small, farm winery in Warren, opened a retail and tasting room at 31 Elm Street.

    Edward Jones, the financial advisor firm, opened a second office at 87 Elm Street.

    Jessie Tobias Design, an interior design and staging firm, opened a send retail location at 24 Bayview Street.

    Creative Creations4U opened at 47 Bay View St in Camden opened in early May as a way to showcase handmade Maine crafts and art.

    Rockport Restaurants & Businesses

    Gathering Thyme, a farmhouse decor business, opened in February on West Street in Rockport. See our story On Saturday, May 22, they are having an outdoor craft fair and open house and food trucks.

    For taco and tequila lovers who will miss the Blue Sky Cantina that closed in Rockport, a new Mexican restaurant opened at 5 Country Inn Way called Taboo Taqueria on May 5.

    Last fall we covered a story on the new authentic Italian restaurant Ports of Italy that opened in the former Helm restaurant in Rockport. Sante Calandri, who operates the Ports of Italy restaurants, and business partner Jeffery Teel are working on opening Ports Pizzeria Rockport, the new restaurant at 139 Commercial St., adjacent to the existing Ports of Italy restaurant in Rockport.

    Midcoast Music Academy had to move this year (see our Rockland Snow Birds story) and is now located at 821 Commerical Street Rockport.

    New Construction

    The newly constructed Rockport library opened on December 17 to an enthusiastic public. See our story. And its amenities in another story here.

    A planned Rockport harbor hotel is still undergoing appeals on its permit approval. You can read all about the journey on our series of articles here

    If we’ve missed any business openings since September, 2020, shoot us an email with the subject line "Add to Camden Snow Birds story" and we'll give it a look.

    Kay Stephens can be reached at