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

Welcome back to the Rockland area, Snow Birds 2021!

New restaurants and businesses that opened over the winter
Fri, 05/28/2021 - 11:15am

Story Location:
270 Pleasant Street,
Rockland, ME 04849
United States

    ROCKLAND—This is our annual “Welcome back” article to acquaint those who haven’t been around this winter as to what’s open, what’s closed, what's new, and what's happening. Here is your Rockland rundown for the summer.

    Downtown Flurry

    If Rockland resembled a ghost town this past winter, it’s now a boom town with new restaurants opening, more temporarily closed restaurants re-opening, and more plans to extend outside seating. Back in November after The Eclipse and its downstairs Speakeasy had to close, a new restaurant, The Grey Owl moved into 2 Park Street and opened just before the holidays. See our story here.

    In December, when Rotary Pizza left 10 Leland Street, a new take-out model in the form of Maine Kebab opened, designed to allow customers to pick and choose a multitude of Mediterranean and Turkish flavors and dishes. See our story here.

    Last fall, a number of businesses were informed they’d have to vacate the nearly 70-year-old commercial building at 279 Main Street when the owner proposed to tear the building down and pave the space for parking. The announcement was met with community resistance and in January, the building was spared when Maine Sport Outfitters announced that it was purchasing the building and installing its latest retail location there. Certain tenants, Park Street Grille, Midcoast Music Academy, and Jonathan Frost Gallery had to move while Frank’s Family Hair Care, and Breakwater Design and Build, Inc have remained at the business complex. Park Street Grille has now moved next door to a space that the Lighthouse Museum in Rockland once occupied and the plans are to open with a bigger footprint and an outdoor waterfront deck in mid-May. The Penobscot Bay Regional Chamber of Commerce and Regional Information Center has also moved from 1 Park Drive to 25 Park Drive, Rockland on the corner of Park Street and Union Street.

    The Home Kitchen Café, a from-scratch breakfast and lunch restaurant, has completed planning board approval for a new bakery located at 19 North Main Street, which is next door to their cafe with work expected to begin in the next few months.

    Down by the waterfront, there’s a bustle of activity with more restaurants planned. Larry Reed, the business owner of The Pearl seafood restaurant at the edge of the pier and the adjacent still-unnamed restaurant that once housed Conte’s Restaurant said the Conte’s building has undergone a complete renovation with 50 seats inside and an outside dining area that will seat another 50 people. Much work still needs to be done on the pier and beneath The Pearl building before it can re-open. This summer, Reed anticipates The Pearl’s food concept will be run out of the Conte’s building until all the renovations can be completed.

    Rockland Code Enforcement Officer Adam Ackor said The Time Out Pub was purchased by Thomas Shanos of Brewer. And although there are no official building permits or floor plans, the local understanding is that the lower level of the building will be renovated and turned into another restaurant.

    A year after closing its store in downtown Camden, Sherman’s Maine Coast Book Shops announced three new bookstores are opening this summer, including one in Rockland on Maverick Street between McDonald’s and Hannaford.

    Ollie & David’s, a curated vintage shop recently opened on the first floor of the Thorndike building at 385 Main Street. See our story here.

    Other Businesses and Restaurants Nearby

    In case you missed it, here’s your chance to have that iconic seven-napkin burger again. The Owls Head General Store re-opened under new ownership last fall and the community is thrilled. See our story.

    If you’re heading to the Owls Head airport, two new businesses have taken flight within. Bill’s Original Kitchen opened in December, a one-man operation with fresh, to-order breakfast and lunch and piled high lobster rolls. See our story here. Right down the corridor, a new gift shop opened in October called Beyond The Moon.

    Over in Union, a new shop opened for the summer, Uncommonly Goods, which sells specialty wines, coffees, pies, pastas, beers, meads and ciders.

    In December, a new retail shop opened in Watts Hall in Thomaston, designed to boost the livelihoods of crafters hampered by the pandemic. Jo Ann Hoppe is the owner of Blueberry Moose and we have that story here.

    A new healthy beverage spot opened in Warren in February designed for take-out. The concept is to help people get healthier and boost their immunity with Elev8 Energy & Nutrition. See our story here.

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

    Kay Stephens can be reached at