What shifted around last winter, since you’ve been gone

Welcome back to Camden-Rockport, Snowbirds 2018

Tue, 05/08/2018 - 8:45am

    Once the snow is gone, the Birds come back—and they always want to know what happened over the fall and winter. Here’s what's open, what's closed, what's new in Camden-Rockport..and points beyond.

    Restaurant News

    What Has Closed

    Francine Bistro

    There’s been a seismic shuffle of restaurant news this winter, starting with the abrupt announcement in November that Francine Bistro on Chestnut Street in Camden was closing and would re-open in May. With news traveling second hand all winter that a re-opening was not imminent, chef Brian Hill confirmed in January that the restaurant was permanently closed.  An in-depth piece on March 29 by Penobscot Bay Pilot’s Jenna Lookner examined why certain restaurants were successful year after year and why others weren’

    Walker’s Restaurant

    After only being open for four months, Walker’s Restaurant in Rockport on Route 1 closed in September, amid  controversy with a lawsuit filed against the former operating manager of the restaurant. See that story here. Whitewater LLC purchased the building in January, which plans to re-open as an oral surgery center.

    Pig + Poet

    In 2014, the Whitehall Inn in Camden changed ownership to Lark Hotels, in which they opened a new restaurant for the public called Pig + Poet. See our original story here. However, by February, it was announced that the restaurant was going to switch course and turn into private event space.

    Horsefeather Grille

    In October, Horsefeather Grille celebrated its grand opening in the former Elm St. Grille, in the Cedar Crest Motel. But by April, they made the announcement on Facebook: “We regret to inform everyone that we have permanently closed. We opened in the fall and did our best to make it through the winter. The original makeover and brining the restaurant up to code was just to much for us to overcome. We have enjoyed meeting so many new people and have enjoyed serving you all.” See the original story by Penobscot Bay Pilot’s Chris Wolf.

    Hatchet Mountain Publick House

    On the last day of April, the Hope Pub announced on Facebook: “It is with very mixed emotions we share with you that the Hatchet Mountain Publick House has closed it doors for the last time after nearly 11 years serving the community.”



    What Has Opened

    47 West

    Right before New Year’s Eve a new Rockport espresso-wine-beer-bakery opened at busy town corner of 47 West, with its eponymous name. A family run intergenerational business helmed by David and Theola Gelerman, took over the former Cellardoor Winery tasting room on Route 90 opposite from Market Basket with the aim of offering a casual atmosphere with paninis and baked goods that will pair well with both coffee and wine and beer, as well as carrot cake, scones, biscotti and cookies. Additionally, their 11-year-old daughter, offers an extensive collection of manga and anime books she has personally picked out for sale of the second floor. See that Penobscot Bay Pilot story here


    In early March, Jacob and Madrona Wienges, opened a new coffee shop on 22 central Ave. in Rockport Village called SeaFolk. With an under-the radar opening and no sign initially, that didn’t stop curious locals from coming in to try their array of coffee, sandwiches, fresh bread and bagels. Open breakfast and lunch, here is the full story by Chris Wolf.

    El Ancla

    Camden’s newest restaurant venture, El Ancla, opened on May 5, Cinco de Mayo at the Camden Public Landing. The restaurant was the former home of Fireside Pizza. El Ancla features authentic wood-fired Mexican food. See the full story by Chris Wolf.



    What has moved

    Global Packing Systems

    The entire Elm Street plaza played musical chairs this winter.  Global Packing and Shipping, formerly on Washington Street, moved to 87 Elm Street, during the holidays. The move has now opened up much more space for packing up materials.

    Nature’s Choice becomes The New Natural

    Nature's Choice, formally at 87 Elm Street, has moved to 25 Mechanic Street (formerly Karol and Manny’s) and has renamed the business The New Natural. See both of those stories by Chris Wolf here.

    Watershed School

    The alternative school, which occupied the corner space on 32 Washington Street, moved this winter just one block over on One Free Street. Now with more than 7,500 square feet, the move more than doubled the size of their current space. Serendipity Fine Consignment then moved into that space.



    Soon to Open

    Camden Island

    Back in September, Jeff Chen, of Skowhegan, filed architectural plans for a 100-plus seat restaurant at 87 Elm Street (formerly the HAVII video store and Harbor Audio Video retail space) with the intent to open January. As of April 1, permits had been approved, but the restaurant was still not open.

    Liberty Head Arts and Found

    A new An eclectic art gallery/antique store of American Folk-Art & Antiques is set to open any day now at 56 Main Street in Liberty, Maine.

    If we've missed any new businesses that would be interesting to folks coming back to Maine, shoot us an email with the subject line"Add to Rockland story" and we'll add it into the list! Kay Stephens can be reached at news@penbaypilot.com