As summer season arrives on the seacoast, Kennebunkport becomes a buzz of activity. This 2015 season ushers in some exciting new things in KennebunkPort’s Dock Square and Harbor Village, or Lower Village to some.
There is a new kid on the block, on the dock actually. Have you seen the Spirit of Massachusetts docked in Kennebunk River harbor? This 125-foot schooner, Spirit of Massachusetts, arrived at her new homeport this winter, pulled from Portland by the whale watch boat Nick’s Chance. Dwight Raymond and his family, of the Pilot House, First Chance Whale Watch and Lobster Cruises, and Performance Marine, are restoring her to be a floating restaurant and bar – sister establishment to the Pilot House, located on the docks across the Kennebunk River from the popular David’s KPT.
The Spirit of Massachusetts (now in Maine) was the last ship built at Charleston Naval Shipyard in 1984, part of the tall ship parade in Boston Harbor, she has sailed from Canada to the Caribbean and Africa, before she moved to Boothbay Harbor as an Ocean Classroom teaching vessel. Now the Spirit of Massachusetts will be the scenic spot for drinks on board the floating restaurant, a reminder of Kennebunk’s rich maritime and shipbuilding history. The Raymond family operate the restored tall ship as a bar and restaurant that opened summer 2016, prior to the Kennebunkport Festival .
Ports of Italy is another new restaurant located by the Lanigan Bridge and Clam Shack on your way to Dock Square. A complete rebuild of the old Bartley’s brings “Ports Of Italy” to Kennebunk’s restaurant scene. New owners Sante Calandri and German Lucarelli, who run the original Ports of Italy in Boothbay Harbor, bought the property in January and offer classic Italian dining for lunch and dinner, with valet parking.
Roma is a relatively new Pizzeria in Kport, opened in October 2014, serving classic Roman style pizza in Kennebunkport and their other location in Old Orchard Beach. Proprietor Luca is passionate about his authentic pizza. Sit down and takeout pizza, sandwiches and salads are Luca and Mauro’s specialty, next door next door by Ben & Jerry’s, serving traditional Roman cuisine, BYOB, in Kport. Bellisimo. Also in Union Square, Salt & Honey now has a full liquor license to accompany their creative breakfast, lunch and dinner menu.
Old Vines Wine Bar has re-opened with new owners Jon Ellms and Rick Taranto setting a high bar. You will find some cool tweaks to this cozy wine bar, including an upstairs events space, a slightly more expansive menu and a few less-expensive wines, while keeping key players like Chef Joel Souza, formerly of Davids’ KPT, and bartenders James, Janai and Charley. This is the upscale Cheers of Kennebunk, with a big welcoming bar, wood tables, and outdoor seating by the fire.
Toroso is a stylish new Spanish tapas restaurant in lower Village Kennebunk, formerly Kennebooks. Chef Shannon Beaver has opened this chic open concept Spanish culinary hot spot.
Pearl and Spat Oyster Bar open in the former Abbondante and Table space, Chef Rebecca Charles of NYC Pearl fame will offer fresh seafood and a raw bar downstairs.
Boulangerie is open in downtown Kennebunk, behind the Waterhouse Center in the big red barn by Kennebunk Pharmacy. This “Proper Bakery” offers artisanal bread to the Kennebunks, fresh baked Croissants, Baguettes, Sourdough, Foccacia, Pastries, Irish Soda Brea, all made in house. They also serve coffee, tea, beer and wine. This could be the perfect place to stop for breakfast during Saturday’s Farmers Market, or lunch of Chacuterie or Cheese plate, or pop in anytime to pick up fresh baked bread like the Parisiens do.
New owner at Fresh Start consignment shop Margaret revilatizes this downtown women’s shop, and River’s Edge Spa and Salon has changed hands – best wishes to Danielle in her clever endeavors.
Happy Summer, get out and enjoy these new Kennebunk and Kennebunkport businesses, and your old favorites like Mabels Lobster Claw, Alissons ,Stripers, David’s KPT, Nonantum Resort and Bandaloop!
PS: Have you noticed that DanceWorks in Kennebunk, the Zumba studio formerly PuraVida of Alexis fame, is now Phoenix Health & Fitness, rising up again with a new name. That’s all the scoop for today… stay tuned for more Kennebunkport events.