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FRESH • FAST • LOCAL • ECONOMICAL • CONVENIENT • TASTY

PENQUIS DINING

Review Vol. 1 No. 6

O N U

Special Coverage

C I FF

FREE

L IA

FOOD REVIEW Piscataquis Chamber of Commerce


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2010 Piscataquis Chamber of Commerce Food

PENQUIS Review

A note For a taste of Maine you can’t get anywhere else, get to know the food providers who belong to the Piscataquis Chamber of Commerce. They include a caterer who brought supplies by ATV and boat to the remote lodges atop Borestone Mountain to feed hungry clients for three days; a pub owner who, in addi on to great food, serves up stories with a sober wit about friendly ghosts who inhabit an old hospital building; and a restauranteur who regards other restaurants as allies, not adversaries, with this simple observa on: customers do not eat at the same place all the me. When Sunbury Exchange, LLC volunteered to proPENQUIS Review vide content services to the Chamber, Execu ve DiP.O. Box 396 rector Deb Boyd thought it would be nice to devote Dover-Foxcro , ME 04426 info@sunburyexchange.com a page in the Chamber newsle er to what’s new (207) 949-2247 with member food providers. Abel Blood’s Pub was PENQUIS Review is a special issue planning its first Bistro Night, the hours had published by Sunbury Exchange, changed at Nor’easter Restaurant, and The Covered LLC. Copies are available to be viewed, downloaded and printed Bridge was now a restaurant again, in addi on to a at www.sunburyexchange.com. lounge and motel. Individual photographs and graphics contained within the PENQUIS Review interviewed nine entrepreneurs, document, however, are the usually for up to an hour. The results of that exproperty of Sunbury Exchange, LLC and may include material panded coverage is here. subject to copyright. Permission The palates of Piscataquis are sophis cated. There of the publisher must be obbefore reproducing any of is a lot of cooking being done from scratch, and cus- tained the material from this issue. tomers are liking it. Correc ons and sugges ons are Photographs were The quality of take-out is notable: homemade fish welcome. taken by Sunbury Exchange, LLC chowder at A.E. Robinson’s Country Café; all menu unless otherwise specified. items—even rib eye and baked stuffed haddock— PENQUIS (pen’kwis), adj., a blend of the Penobscot and available to go from Hobnobbers Pub. Piscataquis county names. Read, enjoy and, above all, eat locally. You will get a be er-tas ng, more economically priced, and likely fresher meal than anything served at the big-box restaurants in the major urban center, which requires an entrée’s worth of gasoline to get to and an hour-and-a-half of drive me that could have been be er spent. —Emily Adams

On the cover Front: Moose mount and dinner rolls fresh from the oven both from The Bear’s Den on North Street in Dover-Foxcro , Maine. Back: Part of a landscaped waterfall and pond adjacent to Wildwood’s Lodge, Russell Road, Brownville, Maine.


What’s new food review

Abel Blood’s Pub now offers Abel’s Bis- The homemade fish chowder is selling as tro, a by-reservation-only specialty dinner fast as they can make it at A.E. Robinson night devised by the owners and their chef Country Café at 1021 West Main Street in Amber Bloom who joined the Pub in Au- Dover-Foxcroft, one of nine such Cafés Chamber of Commerce Food Page 3 gust.2010 The Piscataquis Bistro nights will be held on operated inside A.E. Robinson convenTuesday nights, 6-9 p.m., periodically ience stores in the region. The chowder is throughout the year. It started Oct. 19. The ready by 10:30 a.m. Thursdays and Fridays next Abel’s Bistro will be on Nov. 30. The and usually sold out by noon. New items four-course menus will change with each added to the menu are a spicy Italian, new Bistro night and offer cuisine custom- chicken ranch sandwich and a steak-anders won’t find on the standard menu. cheese breakfast sandwich. Fresh salads Meanwhile, Abel’s is revising its regular are also available. Try the garden salad menu to include more items made from with apples, raisins, cranberries, blueberscratch, like the spinach-artichoke dip. ries, almonds and raspberry-pomegranite Items like the broth for steamed mussels sauce. The café’s six employees make up and house-made soups will change week- fresh food to order from 5 a.m. to 9 p.m. ly, while other items will use new ingredi- (10 p.m. weekends). At night, they reents, like brie, ciabatta, and sweet pota- stock the pre-made (hot and cold) foods for toes. abelbloodspub.com the 24-hour store. aerobinson.com

September 2010 marked the 15th anniversary of the opening of The Bear’s Den on North Street in Dover-Foxcroft. The restaurant’s hours (daily 5 a.m. to 9 p.m.) and atmosphere encourage customers to feel comfortable and stay awhile. Breakfast is served all day and breads come fresh out of the oven--rye bread, dinner rolls, cinnamon raisin bread, biscuits, regular white bread and desserts. There is a full seafood menu, full beer and alcohol, and daily specials: meatloaf; pork roast or pot roast; pasta; chicken pie or boiled dinner; baked, stuffed haddock, full belly clams and scallops; prime rib; and ham steak. The restaurant seats 40 and the adjacent tavern seats another 80. The menu is online. bearsdenmotel.com

The August re-opening of the The Covered Bridge lounge and motel expanded Oct. 1 to include its restaurant. Many of the old favorites are available on a shortened menu or as daily specials: homemade fish chowder, lasagna, biscuits from scratch and all-you-can-eat fish fry and spaghetti with meatballs. Private events for up to 80 people can be scheduled (with inhouse, or other catering) weekdays or weekends. A full bar, beer and wine are available (cash bar is an option). Hours are Thurs.-Sat. at 4 p.m. (the kitchen closes at 8 p.m., but the lounge closes when the last patron leaves) and Sunday 11-7. Expect live blues and soft rock during the hunting season. Located 50 yards from ITS 85. thecoveredbridgemaine.com

Fast and friendly service and quality products are the reasons people eat at Fox Brook Variety. They make their own egg, chicken, and tuna salad sandwich fillings rather than buy them pre-made. Popular items are steak and cheese, Italians and pizza, including chicken ranch pizza and alfredo pizza. New in 2010 was a salad bar that sold well on warm days. Customers who do not have time to wait for a hot or cold sandwich to be made will find a large selection of pre-made food when they arrive. The deli is open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. and until 8 p.m. on Fridays. Melissa Shapleigh or Tina Taylor are usually behind the counter to make something to order.. The store itself is open from 4 a.m. to 9 p.m. and 8 p.m. on Sundays.

The already extensive menu at The General Store & More in Brownville Junction is being revised to offer even more choices by November. Customer suggestions to offer silver dollar pancakes and pastrami sandwiches are being considered. The store already has an awesome reuben. Store owners Steve and Emilie Johnson are also proud of their pizza, which has been known to hit sales of 20 large-sized pizzas on a Wednesday. French fries come three ways: commercial-style crispy, homemade store-cut, and sweet potato. Specials include chicken soup, pasta, fish chowder, beans and franks and pot roast or chef’s choice. The restaurant seats 15 and has a strong local following. thegeneralstoreandmore.com

Eat-in or take-out food by a Le Cordon Bleu chef at reasonable prices, prime rib reminiscent of the Ade brothers, and a comfortable gathering spot. That, along with free Wi-Fi internet access, defines Hobnobbers Pub and Restaurant at 45 West Main Street in Milo. Diners enjoy for $4.99 a cup lobster bisque that sells for $12 in Ogunquit. Hobnobbers also features grilled rib eye, seafood, and fresh stuffed, or beer-battered and deep-fried, haddock, and angel-hair pasta with either seafood or shrimp pesto. There’s also a $1, mix-andmatch kids menu. The kitchen roasts three turkeys for sandwiches and pot pies. The salad greens are local and organic. The quiches, cheesecake and crème brûlée are made from scratch. Open Wed.-Sun., 11-8. hobnobberspub.com

March 10, 2010 marked the 12th anniversary of The Maine Ingredient catering business of Karylyn Lyman of Monson. She developed a conference menu this year to include not just breakfast and lunch but morning and afternoon snack. She served her largest crowd this summer—300—and serves groups as small as five. Her staff can swell to 20 if needed. She has catered a lot of weddings aboard the Greenvillebased Steamship Katahdin, and brings food in by ATV and boat to the lodges at Borestone Mountain. She helps couples keep costs down by renting linens and tableware at a fraction of the regular cost. She urges clients to shop locally and furnishes a list of local vendors and facilities. maineingredient.com

The Nor’easter Restaurant has cut back hours from seven days a week for the past five years to Wed.-Sat. 11-8 and Sun. 116:30. Having Mon.-Tues. off is a welldeserved break and creates time for training, recipe development and other needs. Business in 2009 was even with 2008 and 2010 has been about the same. Owner Seth Ostrosky credits the restaurant’s success to quality and consistency in familiar, American-style food. Soups (like the popular New England clam chowder) and sauces (marinara and alfredo) are homemade. Clams, shrimp, haddock and scallops are a big hit. Customers recognize the trademark Broaster Chicken. When the Nor’easter puts a special on the menu it is using fresh food. This January 1, 2011 will mark seven full years of operation.

Customers hungry for breakfast pizza (egg, cheese, bacon, sausage, ham) head to Shiretown Pizza at 9 a.m. Mon.-Sat. (11 a.m. on Sun.). They have 17 specialty pizzas and offer honey-wheat crust as well as plain (thick or thin crust in both) in 8, 10, 12 and 16 inches. Specialty pizzas include the Shiretown Mac (thousand island dressing, mozarella, onion, hamburger, pickles and—added at the end—lettuce). There are daily specials and, in the colder months, crockpot specials. Homemade items include croutons, lasagna, alfredo sauce and meatballs. Closing time is 8 p.m. (9 p.m. Fri.-Sat.). They will deliver (except weekdays 2-4 p.m.) over nine miles on orders $30 or over. They accept credit cards over the phone. The business originated in 1983 and is family owned.

Wildwoods Lodge fills a need for a restaurant in Brownville with evening hours. Its scenic location on Russell Road is a backdrop for group events and retreats as well as a destination for recreational vehicles using ITS 83. There were eight weddings there in 2009, four in 2010 and already, by Oct. 8, five weddings were booked for 2011. There are plans to build a pavilion by then to accommodate larger numbers. They provide homemade soups, stews, chicken wraps, steak bombs, fresh seafood, and one or two entrees each evening like chicken dinner, roast beef dinner, and spaghetti. As of August, pizza is now offered. They are open Thu.-Fri. 4-9 p.m., all day Saturday (8-9) and Sunday breakfast (8-11 a.m.). wildwoodsmaine.com

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2010 Piscataquis Chamber of Commerce Food

PENQUIS Review

Abel Blood’s Pub 100 East Main Street Dover-Foxcroft (207) 564-3177 abelbloodspub.com The classy yet comfortable Abel Blood’s Pub hosted its first by-reserva on-only Bistro Night on Oct. 19. The events will be held periodically on a Tuesday night from 6 to 9 p.m. with the next one set for Nov. 30. It was a concept devised by Abel's coowner, Erin Callaway, and new chef, Amber Bloom, who joined the pub in August. The point of the Bistro, which Abel's plans to hold periodically through the year, is to offer customers a slightly more upscale dining experience. Bistro diners will also get to indulge in items they won't find on the standard Abel's menu. The first Bistro Night, held on October 19TH, for example, featured “Nouveau American” cuisine: caramalized shallot and goat cheese tart, spinach salad with roasted grapes and vanilla vinaigre e, and beef tenderloin with cognac sauce. Dessert was beignets with dolce de leche sauce. The four-course menus are fixed at $40 per

Abel Blood was an early seƩler to the local area. A likeness of him changes with the seasons. Mardi Gras he wears beads, a sombrero for Cinco de Mayo, Santa hat at Christmas, a derby hat on St. Patrick’s Day.

person (price includes coffee and so drinks and complimentary cheese, crackers and fruit) and will change with each new Bistro Night. Chef Bloom, whose skills and crea vity make Abel's Bistro possible, trained at the New England Culinary Ins tute in Vermont. Her professional background includes seven years at Bangor's New Moon, where she served for four years as head chef. Bloom later helped New Moon transi on to its new, more casual persona—Luna Bar and Grill. Bloom connected with Abel Blood’s Pub through a mutual business acquaintance. At the me, Abel's happened to be looking for a new cook. Her ability to deliver pub-style food with high-end style was exactly what Abel's needed. “It’s a perfect match. She’s as good at making cheesy fries as duck confit,” says Callaway. “As [Amber] puts it: cooking is her passion, the kitchen is her home.”


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2010 Piscataquis Chamber of Commerce Food

Bartender Marcie Boyes serving a half pint of Guinness, which is always on tap With Bloom now at the helm in the kitchen, Abel's is also making several changes to the standard menu. Items like the spinachar choke-spinach dip will be made from scratch. Broths for mussels will change Weekly, and other items will be offered with new ingredients, like brie, ciaba a, and sweet potatoes. The pub is no longer open for lunch in

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order to focus on the dinners. Abel's total food op ons include Trailblazers” (appe zers), “pub grub”, pizzas, and full dinners. Some appe zers are typical like nachos, quesadillas and some not, like mussels in garlic-wine sauce served with bread. Pub grub consists of burgers and sandwiches. Full dinners include steaks, pastas, and weekly house specials. They do a gorgeous fish and chips, made with Abel's own house beer ba er, and recently began using a Mainemade beer pizza dough from Portland Pie. Abel's also provides several vegetarian choices, including pastas with basil pesto and olive tapenade, veggie burgers, and its new grilled vegetable sandwich with sun-dried tomato mayo on Italian bread. There is a full bar. Ten beers are on dra . Two of them (Bass and Guinness) do not change while the other eight rotate once a month or every two weeks. “We sell tons of Guinness,” according to Callaway. “People really like it. It’s a pub staple.” Another forty bo led beers are in the beer cooler. It includes some domes cs but a lot of imports and microbrew beers. Like a lot of tradi onal pubs, this pub does a mug club. For $25 a year, patrons can use their own mug (each has a number) for dra beers and receive 20 ounces compared to the typical 16-ounce pour. The four extra ounces in every mug is a great bargain that customers really enjoy. People compliment the pub on the fact that the bar has an actual iron bar that patrons can put their feet on. There are also hooks underneath the bar at each stool to hang purses. When the pub first opened in the Fall of 2003, it seated four. It now seats 14. The bar and the whole unit where all the taps are housed was done by local cra smen Bob Winters of Sebec and Steve Jackson of Sangerville. The bar top and all the tabletops are from pine trees that Callaway and her husband, Steve Grammont, got from a neigh(ConƟnued on page 26)


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2010 Piscataquis Chamber of Commerce Food

PENQUIS Review

A.E. Robinson Country Café 1021 West Main Street Dover-Foxcroft (207) 564-7136 aerobinson.com If you me it right, you can get homemade fish chowder at A.E. Robinson’s Country Café in Dover-Foxcro . Made with haddock, it is available Thursdays and Fridays about 10:30 a.m. By noon it is gone. And like all of its soups, it is freshly made. That goes for a variety of Italians and other sandwiches. To the menu they just added a spicy Italian and chicken ranch sandwich. Also new is a steak-andcheese breakfast sandwich on an onion bagel, which sells well. One of nine Country Cafés operated by A.E. Robinson, the Dover-Foxcro café poron of the store employs six people. Deli manager Salina Kain turns 19 in November and is a graduate of Tri-County Technical Center’s culinary arts program. “They’re very willing to do anything new and differ-

Jennifer Cleaves

Ella Weeks of Exeter makes a selecƟon from the food warmer. ent,” says store manager Jennifer Cleaves. “If I pick a sandwich out of a magazine and bring it in, our deli manager will whip up something and won’t stop un l its something we want.” The truckers usually grab a pre-made sandwich, and go. There is a cooler full of cold sandwiches. There are two pizza warmers: one for $1.50 pizza slices and the other with hamburgers, cheeseburgers, jalapeno poppers and other hot foods star ng at lunch me. There are steamed hot dogs, but customers can order a fried hot dog and fried onions, too. There are two kinds of French fries: regular and homemade from Cleaves Farms in Sangerville. A pizza can be assembled and cooked in a mere ten minutes and comes in three sizes. They have experimented with different dough, but always return to a plain crust. Not on the menu, nor pre-made in the cooler, are specialty salads made to order. One popular salad has been a garden salad


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café, but three tables are now at the Dover-Foxcro loca on. Different groups make it a gathering spot: seniors from a swimming program at the YMCA, interna onal students from nearby Foxcro Academy sampling American food, police officers, and linemen from Central Maine Power Company early in the morning. Customers can call ahead with their order. The store itself is open 24 hours. The café opens at 5 a.m. and there is usually someone there earlier, Above, pizza fresh from the oven only takes five minutes at 4:30. The café closes at 9 to assemble and five minutes to cook. Below, coolers are p.m. weekdays and weekends stocked even when the deli closes. Right, three tables are un l 10. When café personnel now at the Dover-FoxcroŌ store. leave, everything is fully with apples, raisins, cranberries, blueberries, stocked for truckers and other customers almonds and raspberry-pomegranite sauce. with a late-night hankering for ready-to-eat Take-out was the original concept for the food.


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2010 Piscataquis Chamber of Commerce Food

PENQUIS Review

The Bear’s Den Restaurant 74 North Street Dover-Foxcroft (207) 564-8733 bearsdenmotel.com The Fall of 2010 marks the 15th anniversary of the opening of The Bear’s Den on North Street in Dover-FoxcroŌ. The restaurant’s hours (daily 5 a.m. to 9 p.m.) and relaxed atmosphere make customers feel comfortable lingering at their tables long aŌer their meals are done. It is a place where breakfast is served all day, and breads come fresh out of the oven--rye bread, dinner rolls, cinnamon raisin bread, biscuits, regular white bread and desserts. Lynn KiƩridge has managed, and cooked at, the restaurant from day one, and actually even before, by suggesƟng to Brian Westman that he acquire the property in 1995. The full menu is posted online at bearsden motel.com. In addiƟon to a full seafood menu, there are daily specials. They include: Monday meatloaf; Tuesday pork roast or pot roast; Wednesday pasta;

Lucy Grant and freshly baked breads


PENQUIS Review

2010 Piscataquis Chamber of Commerce Food

Thursday chicken pie or boiled dinner; Friday baked, stuffed haddock, full belly clams and scallops; Saturday prime rib; and Sunday ham steak. “This is a very homey place,” explains Ki ridge. “You’re not rushed to leave.” To illustrate her point, a group of regulars calling themselves “the old crows” are such a fixture that a sign on the wall near their table marks their spot. Perched nearby, a crow

Greg Dyer

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carved by Bob Shapleigh adorns the corner. Charles Bradford, at 93, is the oldest crow. “They treat me like a kid.” The old crows will typically eat breakfast in the morning and, in the a ernoon, return for coffee. The restaurant seats 40 and the adjacent tavern seats another 80, has a full bar thanks to the adjacent lounge and is on ITS 85. Motel, entertainment and other informa on is on its website.

Norma Dyer, John Wiles

“Old crows”, leŌ to right, are Greg Dyer, Joe Brooks, Charles Bradford, Joan Brooks, Norma Dyer and John Wiles. Not pictured are Roger Mullins, Bob Shapleigh, and Col. Roland Holt, Ret., USAF. Hugo Cross is also an old crow and resides at Hibbard Nursing Home.


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The Covered Bridge Restaurant Route 15 Guilford (207) 564-2204 thecoveredbridgemaine.com The restaurant at The Covered Bridge has re-opened and now many of the favorites are once again available. The menu has been shortened. A lot of items are a daily special instead of being on the standard menu. You will see the restaurant’s famous fish chowder, homemade biscuits, and lasagna. The all-you-can-eat fish fry and spagheƫ and meatballs are also back. The enƟre business was dormant for a year and a half before it was opened as a lounge and motel in August. Half of the seaƟng was removed in order to install a dance floor. Wiring was installed to accommodate bands. AppeƟzers, hamburgers and hot dogs were served. And, of course, a full bar. But on October 1 the restaurant menu was introduced. Expect the popular tapioca and bread puddings, too, along with pies. Russell and Michelle Sylvia are also promoƟng private events at the facility, in addiƟon to their adjacent motel. Groups of up to 80 can be accommodated. Outside catering can be brought in, or in-house catering is an opƟon. Either way, the full bar, beer and wine are available (on a cash-bar basis, too). The Sylvias’ own wedding was held there in August, and they invite other groups and organizaƟons to rent the facility for birthdays, anniversaries or other gatherings. Many people generally schedule these events on weekends, but weekdays are also possible. Depending on the size of the gathering, it will oŌen take priority over opening to the public, so that gives organizers a lot of flexibility in scheduling their event. The Syl-

vias advise the public in advance that the regular business hours will be suspended by posƟng a noƟce in front of the business. The Sylvias and Russell’s mother, Linda Sylvia, hosted a group of 60 on a Sunday aŌernoon in October. Otherwise, the restaurant and lounge are open to the public Thurs.-Sat. at 4 p.m. (the kitchen closes at 8 p.m., but the lounge remains open unƟl all the patrons leave) and Sunday 11-7. There will be live blues and


PENQUIS Review

2010 Piscataquis Chamber of Commerce Food

so rock during hun ng season in November. Dejá Blues performed Oct. 29 and 30, Borderline Express Nov. 19 and 20, and Roy Hudson Band Nov. 26 with the possibility of the 27th. The crowd is typically forty and

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over. Because of the motel’s loca on fi y yards from ITS 85, it is not unusual to see fi y snowmobiles at The Covered Bridge on a Sunday in the winter me. ATV traffic was also that high both days of the weekend unl ATV access on a por on of the trail in Guilford was blocked in the wake of property damage. Local ATV clubs and the state have been working to a empt to resolve that situa on perhaps by 2011, either using the same trail with addi ons or an en rely new segment of the trail. ATV riders desiring to travel west of Dover-Foxcro currently have to haul their ATVs by trailer to either the Shell gas sta on in Guilford or the sandpits on Route 15 in Abbot. From the gas sta on, they can proceed along a marked path on the shoulder of Blaine Avenue to the trail that leads to ITS 85. ATVs can reach The Covered Bridge from Newport via Dover-Foxcro before turning around. Russell Sylvia’s parents, Richard and Linda Sylvia, bought The Covered Bridge on August 8, 1988. They came up to the area to look for a hun ng camp. Richard Sylvia had (ConƟnued on page 31)


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PENQUIS Review

Fox Brook Variety 251 East Main Street Dover-Foxcroft (207) 564-7130 (207) 564-2127

Why do people pick up something to eat at Fox Brook Variety? Steve Boyd, who co-owns the DoverFoxcroŌ convenience store with his sister, Karen Jankunas, says it is because of fast and friendly service more than anything else. But there is another reason. They use quality products when they make their foods. “We don’t go out and buy the cheapest ham we

can find,” explains Boyd. “We don’t buy the cheapest rolls we can find. We actually product-shop to make sure we get the product that we want.” Fox Brook Variety makes their own egg-, chicken- and tuna-salad sandwich fillings rather than buy them pre-made. They make hot foods and put them in the pizza warmer so customers don’t have to wait for hot Melissa Shapleigh and Tina Taylor make fresh food to order. The salad bar, below, was new in 2010. Opposite page, Steve Boyd with the cooler of cold foods. Pre-made hot foods are also ready when customers come in.

Melissa Shapleigh

Tina Taylor


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Teriyaki chicken breast sandwich foods to be prepared. Steak and cheese is really popular here. Their pizza, which is phenomenally popular, and the Italian sandwiches are the biggest items. They do chicken ranch pizza (ranch dressing instead of regular tomato sauce) and there is now an alfredo pizza with chicken and a choice of vegetables. New in 2010 was the addiĆ&#x;on of a salad bar, which proved to be popular on warm,

summer days. The deli, in parĆ&#x;cular, is open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. and unĆ&#x;l 8 p.m. on Fridays. Melissa Shapleigh or Tina Taylor are usually behind the counter to make something to order on the spot. And for customers on the run, there is a cooler stocked with pre-made cold food and a warmer of hot food. The store is open from 4 a.m. to 9 p.m. and 8 p.m. on Sundays.


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2010 Piscataquis Chamber of Commerce Food

PENQUIS Review

The General Store and More 1497 Main Road Brownville Junction (207) 965-8100 thegeneralstoreandmore.com

The already extensive menu at The General Store & More is being revised to offer even more choices by November. Customer sugges ons to offer silver dollar pancakes and pastrami sandwiches are being considered. The store already has an awesome reuben, which is difficult to get outside a metropolitan area. Store owners Steve and Emilie Johnson are also proud of their pizza which draws customers from as far away as Greenville and has been known to hit sales of 20 large-sized pizzas on a Wednesday.

French fries come three ways: commercialstyle crispy, homemade store-cut, and sweet potato. There are specials each day of the week and they are homemade. They include chicken soup, pasta, fish chowder, beans and franks, pot roast, and chef’s choice. The restaurant is licensed to seat 15. It has a very good following thanks to loyal customers. The store is located on Route 11, and accessible to the ITS 110 recrea onal trail. They also have a well stocked State Agency Liquor Store.


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The Johnsons bought the former JD’s Emporium in January 2006 thinking that the pink slip Emilie was handed by American Express was a done deal. The layoff never materialized, and she s ll telecommutes for AMEX weekdays and does back-office work for the store in her spare me. Steve went from being a truck driver to a store owner in a ma er of two weeks. He is on site from 6 a.m. to 4 p.m. and oversees a staff of ten employees.

Tammy McLaughlin, one of the cooks, and Tracy Halstead, one of the several regulars who gather at the store are pictured here. “She’s my part-Ɵme wife,” says Tracy of Tammy. “We kid the heck out of her. And we get it right back, too.”


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Hobnobbers Pub 45 West Main Street Milo (207) 943-5312 hobnobberspub.com Valerie Robertson is really proud of the food at Hobnobbers. Her restaurant does prime rib and freshly sliced, grilled rib eye steaks, seafood, and stuffed haddock. They make their own pesto (seafood or shrimp) with angel hair pasta that just flies out of the kitchen. They also have a really good kids’ menu that is a dollar an item, mix and match, including plain spaghe with bu er. They once did their own macaroni and cheese, but kids wanted Kra instead, so they serve that. Other kids’ choices include chicken tenders, a yogurt with fruit cup, and teeny burgers. Hobnobbers opened September 14, 2009, which was the first anniversary of a fire that destroyed the original Hobnobbers on Main Street in 2008. The year 2009 also marked the 100th anniversary of the construc on of the present loca on, the former Milo Community Hospital. The new Hobnobbers absorbed the hospital theme, affixing an examining light above the bar, lining the walls with pictures of local people born in the hospital, perching a copy of the Hippocra c oath on a hospital cabinet in the ladies’ bathroom. The fire-gu ed Hobnobbers had only been open for two weeks before the incident. Prior to that, there had been a restaurant called Valerie Jean’s (no rela on to Hobnobbers’ owner Valerie Jean Robertson; only a coincidence) run by Melissa E nger, an execu ve chef in Ogunquit at Clay Hill Farm. Robertson worked for E nger at Valerie Jean’s as dish washer and sous chef. From 1977 to 1992, Robertson owned Val’s Pizza, which was next to the present House of Piz-

Chef Jennie Bishop with prime rib za, offering take-out pizza, sandwiches, lasagna, and spaghe and meatballs. Hobnobbers is more of a fine-dining experience in a comfortable atmosphere where they make most items from scratch. They do not have any prepared sauces for any of the pastas. Everything is made in a pan. Valerie did all the design and crea ve aspect and does cook it all, but she has a 30-hour-week chef, Jennie Bishop. “She is amazing,” says Robertson. “Behind the stove, her skills are incredible at ming. She has actually taught us a lot about that aspect.” Bishop’s first job, as a 16 year old, was in Brownville at Nathaniel’s, formerly the River’s Edge. Bishop learned how to prepare


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2010 Piscataquis Chamber of Commerce Food

The first-floor bay windows are the only feature common to the front of the Milo Community Hospital and Hobnobbers Pub.

prime rib there because Bob and Harry Ade would come into the kitchen and give demonstraƟons. Bishop graduated from a 24 -month program at Le Cordon Bleu (New Hampshire) in 2002 then did an internship at Décor includes an examining lamp that came with the building, a wheelchair someone bought at an aucƟon, and baby photos of people born here when it was a hospital

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LuƩrellstown Castle, a 700-acre estate with country club and golf course near Dublin, Ireland. She returned to the U.S. in December 2002. UnƟl three winters ago she was kitchen manager in Florida at Jupiter Beach Resort, which is owned by Ocean ProperƟes, Ltd. Resorts (OPL). Richard Ade is an OPL execuƟve. For eight years she worked for OPL traveling seasonally between OPL-owned resorts. Menu tour New to the menu this summer was a salad menu that will remain year-round. Hobnobbers buys local, organic, mixed greens from Leaves & Blooms in Dover-FoxcroŌ. Customers who simply want ‘leƩuce’ (meaning iceberg) can get a plain romaine salad. The chicken salads come with freshly grilled chicken breast meat. Steak and beef salads are topped with a delicious rib eye sliced thinly and on the bias. A maple vinaigreƩe dressing is made in-house. The recipe came to Robertson via Eƫnger, and is a variaƟon of the Clay Hill Farm recipe. Hobnobbers makes their own caesar dressing with anchovies and fresh parmesan. They do a taco salad, southwest chicken salad, and nachos using tri-colored, fresh-frozen chips, deep fried. AppeƟzers include chicken wings with flavoring done in-house, calamari (popular as an entrée) with tartar and cocktail sauces, shrimp, purchased raw and grilled, and pota(ConƟnued on page 27)


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2010 Piscataquis Chamber of Commerce Food

PENQUIS Review

The Maine Ingredient P.O. Box 284 Monson (207) 692-2287 maineingredient.com Caterer to the North Woods, Karylyn Lyman of Monson, marked her 12th year in business on March 10, 2010 and had a lot of previous customers and plenty of new ones in 2010. Next year is star ng to look even be er, if the number of wedding bookings is an economic indicator “We’ve spent a lot of me cooking on the [Steamship] Katahdin doing a number of weddings over the summer and we’re ge ng ready to do a number of them next summer. Everybody seems to want to get married on the boat. So, they’re very excited about that.” Last year, 2009, was slow because, Lyman observes, “people were saving their money. They weren’t going outside their budget just because they absolutely had to get married last year or anything like that. They were just saving and pu ng things away and really doing it the right way. We’ve really enjoyed that, too, because they’re really just twice as excited to get married and we love to work

Karylyn Lyman

with people who have a budget. We don’t want to see people spending all that they’ve got on catering because there’s just no need.” Lyman also wants to make sure the food at a couple’s wedding is what they, not someone else, wants. “We want to make sure you’re going through that line and you’re seeing every single thing that you love. Don’t make it because grandma loves this recipe or mom loves this or that. Love every single thing so that when you go down that buffet line, you have got everything that you absolutely adore.” The Maine Ingredient does not offer taste tes ng to prospec ve wedding clients because Lyman gets twenty to thirty such requests each week. But she does provide references. She finds that word-of-mouth alone has kept her busy (or, more accurately, “word of stomach”). “We’ve go en where we are 13 years later because people love it and because we make sure that our service is

Photo from maineingredient.com


PENQUIS Review

2010 Piscataquis Chamber of Commerce Food

impeccable and that they have a fantas c me.” Lyman is so conscious of the overall expense of weddings that she passes on money -saving informa on to brides about where to get economical dresses. She also kept her prices in 2010 the same as 2009. Lyman keeps her overhead—and therefore her prices—low by doing her food prepara on at her North Guilford Road home before it is finished off at the client’s site. The Maine Ingredient also rents its own linens and dishes and silverware and wine

Photo from maineingredient.com glasses per event at $150. “I’ve checked the rental prices. Compared to serving 250 people and ge ng all the stuff that you need, it’s going to cost them probably eight mes more.” Lyman’s crew will o en set the tables at weddings. “We take care of everything. If your tables aren’t set, leave. Just go. We’ll handle it. We’ll take care of everything.” All Lyman needs from the bride is a picture or digital photo of how she wants the tables to look, or for the bride to set the very first table and Lyman’s staff will set the rest. “When we arrive, we’ll finish it off because there’s just no need for her to set sixty, seventy tables. That’s a big waste of their me,” says Lyman. “And its also nice because, when they come back in that room, it’s a big surprise because they can now visually see the en re room finished without having to have done it all.”

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Lyman likes to keep her wedding clients informed of available vendors, especially local ones. “We try to make sure that they have local vendors—especially if they are coming from far away—because we want them to shop as locally as possible. We also try to make sure that they know where the local bakeries are, the local florists, great places to have their rehearsal dinner. If they don’t want to have it catered and want to just sit around a table and eat, we’ll give them the names of local restaurants.” She offers a bartenders’ list also. MeeƟngs The Maine Ingredient also handles a lot of mee ngs; so many that Lyman has developed a conference menu. “I felt like just handing people breakfast and lunch was not enough so we came up with a conference menu to ensure that they’re ea ng not only breakfast and lunch but they also have a snack in the morning and a snack in the a ernoon. I have sat at conferences before, and s ll do, and I’m hungry. Or bored. And I need to eat to stay awake. So we’ve come up with that this year and it’s been a great change for us.” The conference menu is online at maineingredient.com. Groups can be as small as five and six or— as with this summer—up to 300. The staff can expand from six to twenty people, mostly friends and family, at any given me. It is a family-operated business. Lyman’s cousin, Kelly Morin, is her right hand and has been with Lyman for seven years. Morin takes care of a lot of the management part of things emailing customers and ge ng together with them if Lyman is with another client. Together with a third person, Lyman’s sister, Amanda Skillin, they do most of the events. They did an interes ng catering job at Borestone Mountain’s Maine Audubon Society rus c Adirondack lodges this summer. The clients stayed there for three days and Lyman‘s staff went out there for three days (ConƟnued on page 26)


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2010 Piscataquis Chamber of Commerce Food

PENQUIS Review

Nor’easter Restaurant 44 North Street Dover-Foxcroft (207) 564-2122 The Nor’easter is taking a much-needed breather from the seven-day-a-week schedule it has maintained for the past five years. It first opened nearly seven years ago on January 1, 2004. The new hours are Wed.-Sat. 11-8 and Sun. 11-6:30. The change has nothing to do with the economy. Business in 2009 was even with 2008 and 2010 has been about the same. It has more to do with taking Mondays off and remaining closed on Tuesdays to devote me to things like staff training, recipe development and organiza onal needs. Owner Seth Ostrosky cites quality and consistency for the success of the restaurant. The atmosphere is a cross between a diner and a nice restaurant. Its menu offers familiar, American-style food from burgers to baked haddock. Soups are homemade (the New England clam chowder is very popular) as are pasta sauces like marinara and alfredo. Fried clams, shrimp, haddock and scallops are a big hit. Customers recognize

the trademark Broaster Chicken, with its own marinade and breading and cooked in a special pressure fryer. One thing to remember about the Nor’easter’s specials is that they are made with fresh ingredients, not ones that are nearing the end of their shelf life. Though not every rib eye is immediately made a special as soon as it arrives, it is not unusual for that to happen. Ostrosky bought the building in the Fall of 2003 and extensively remodeled and expanded it that winter before opening New Year’s Day 2004. More was spent on upgrades than what the building had been purchased for. It has been a restaurant from the beginning when it was built on the site of the former North Street School. It was Co-


PENQUIS Review

2010 Piscataquis Chamber of Commerce Food

le e’s for years, then Hewey’s, Spencer’s and North Meets South. It was a solid structure, but needed a lot of work: siding, windows, roof, fence and later, the pavement. A wall in the dining area was removed, the bathrooms reconfigured and the kitchen expanded. The kitchen was once the size that the bar area is now. The hood was in the center and there was just a path around it without any storage or working space. A 1,000-gallon grease trap, new gas line, sewer reconnec on and curtain drain were installed. Today, it seats 49, including six at the bar. Ostrosky’s parents, Jerry and Barbara, have helped over the years. Barbara s ll arranges the seasonal flowers and decora ons in the window boxes. When the Nor’easter opened it filled a need for a restaurant. Ostrosky regards compe ng restaurants as allies rather than adversaries, sharing informa on and giving each other space. He doesn’t expect people to eat at the same place every me. Ostrosky learned the industry by working in many restaurants before running his own in Greenville. Following gradua on from Foxcro Academy in 1992 (nine of his K-12 years were in the Guilford-area SAD 4), he spent me in the St. Augus ne area of Florida where—in St. John’s County alone—there were 425 restaurants. He worked his way up from dish washer to prep work to line cook

Page 21

before returning to Maine. A er filling a temporary posi on cooking at Dexter Boarding Home for approximately 24 residents with special dietary needs, he operated Flatlander’s restaurant in Greenville (19972000) then leased it (2000-2003). The seasonal tourism business was unique and he speaks fondly of Greenville, but the roller coaster highs and lows posed some challenges that he does not miss. The summer restaurant traffic represented three to four very busy months followed by eight or nine months focused on making ends meet. Each summer, staff would have to be hired and trained then depart in August even though the season con nued to Columbus Day weekend. Business in Dover-Foxcro , by contrast, has been more consistent as the Nor’easter approaches the start of its eighth year of business in the New Year.

Seth Ostrosky


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2010 Piscataquis Chamber of Commerce Food

PENQUIS Review

Shiretown Pizza 83 Main Street Dover-Foxcroft (207) 564-3513 Fast service, generous porƟons and reasonable prices are some of the reasons Shiretown Pizza is the longest-running pizza business in Dover-FoxcroŌ. Consistency, hard work and loyal customers are some other reasons. Co-owner Pamela Ames credits the many dedicated and loyal customers, too. She and her husband, Melvin Ames, Jr., their son, Melvin Ames, III, daughter, Crystal Harmon, and cousin, Lori Dumont, comprise the long-Ɵme core of the family-owned business, along with other dedicated employees. In addiƟon to pizza, Shiretown Pizza’s four -page menu features sandwiches and wraps, salads, appeƟzers, pastas and desserts. There are specials every day. In the cold months, there are crockpot specials. Shiretown Pizza’s homemade items include croutons, lasagna, alfredo sauce and

meatballs. They also have a reputaƟon for deparƟng from the menu and making something by special request for a customer, provided they have the ingredients on hand. Pizzas come in four sizes—eight, ten, 12 and 16 inches—and in a choice of plain or honey wheat dough in either thick or thin crust. The breakfast pizza features egg, cheese, bacon, sausage and ham. The Shiretown Mac has thousand island

Melvin Ames, Jr., Phyllis Blasko and Pamela Ames

Melvin Ames, III


PENQUIS Review

2010 Piscataquis Chamber of Commerce Food

dressing, mozarella, onion, hamburger, pickles (and le uce a er it emerges from the oven). Other popular specialty pizzas are the bacon-le uce-tomato, buffalo ranch and taco pizzas. Delivery and payment are easy. Shiretown Pizza delivers every day, will deliver to locaons over nine miles away on orders of $30 or more, and will even deliver on their way home at night. Credit cards are accepted inhouse and over the phone even for deliveries. In response to the loyalty of the community, Shiretown Pizza supports Mayo Regional Hospital, the Foxcro Academy Sports Boosters, The Flying Dutchman and Center Theatre, along with others. Established in 1983 by Dick and Maxine Baston, Shiretown Pizza’s loca ons and ownership have changed, but the quality and consistency have not. Pamela Ames started working at Shiretown Pizza in 1983 when it was operated in the lobby of the Center Theatre building. It then moved to Fox Brook Variety and moved again to its present loca on at 83 Main Street. The Ames family bought the business in 2007 from Phyllis Blasko. The Pamela Ames points to the restaurant experience of Melvin Ames, III, as another Garlic Breads x

Specialty pizzas

Hawaiian Chicken

BBQ Chicken

Pesto

BLT

Ranch Chicken

Breast of Chicken

Shiretown Mac

Buffalo Chicken

Steak Bomb

Chicken Cordon Bleu

Taco

Dick’s Special

Veggie

Garlic Spinach

White Alfredo

Mexicalli

Page 23

Carmelita Simila of Dover-FoxcroŌ, pictured here with a steak sandwich, is a regular customer of Shiretown Pizza. She comes because the food is good. reason Shiretown Pizza is successful. He worked at The Restaurant in Milo from 2002 to 2007. He also worked for the Cracker Barrel in North Carolina. He started helping the family make pizzas when he was nine. Business hours are Monday through Thursday 9 a.m. to 8 p.m., Friday and Saturday 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Sunday 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. They will deliver every day except weekdays from 2 to 4 p.m.


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2010 Piscataquis Chamber of Commerce Food

PENQUIS Review

Wildwoods Lodge 125 Russell Road Brownville (207) 965-0000 Toll free (877) 420-6579 wildwoodsmaine.com When Wildwoods Lodge opened in February 2008, it filled a need for a restaurant in Brownville with evening hours. By vehicle, it is at the end of a scenic drive just half a mile from Schoodic Lake on Russell Road. It is a backdrop for group events and retreats as well as a desƟnaƟon for recreaƟonal vehicles using ITS 83. There were eight weddings there in 2009, four in 2010 and already, by Oct. 8, five weddings were booked for 2011, and there are plans to build a pavilion by then to accommodate larger numbers. Adjacent to the main lodge, there is a welllandscaped pond with a waterfall that is a

great backdrop for taking photographs. Besides wedding photos, guests have taken family photos and high school senior pictures here. Owners Paul and Cheri Szidat are noƟcing a growth in word-of-mouth and nice relaƟonships with local clientele. “It has taken the locals an awful long Ɵme wanƟng to know why I’m here,” observes Cheri. “But I’m now starƟng to see the same regulars who come in Thursday night at five, sit at the table, and order the same thing. I’m starƟng to develop really nice relaƟonships with some of my locals. They bring a friend, and the friend brings a friend, and they’re regulars, too. So it’s been really neat seeing it evolve, siƫng here seeing four people on a Thursday night and then you end up with 40 people on a Thursday night. It’s been a learning experience just watching it evolve

At leŌ, Cheri Szidat cooks up a steak sandwich. Picture above is the Wildwoods Nachos Grande.


PENQUIS Review

2010 Piscataquis Chamber of Commerce Food

into what its coming into.” They are also no cing their seasons stretching. Autumn is the quietest me of the year un l snow hits the ground. Last year, the fluctua on in business from summer to fall represented a drama c reality: 2,200 served in August compared to 300 in September, both in 2009. But this year, they were busy right up un l the Oct. 2-3 weekend, averaging 60-80 per night. They provide homemade soups, stews, chicken wraps, steak bombs, fresh seafood, and one or two entrees each evening like chicken dinner, roast beef dinner, or spaghe . As of August, pizza is now offered. When Wildwoods is closed to the public, they host private gatherings. They are open to the public Thursday and Friday evenings (4-9), all day Saturday (8-9) and Sundays for breakfast (8-11). In the summer, those hours include Wednesdays. When snowmobile season arrives, they are open daily (except Tuesdays) 11:30 to 9. They also have a beer and wine license. On dra are Bud, Bud Light, Miller Light and a fourth, seasonal beer. Wines include Merlot, White Zinfandel and Chardonnay. Low prices are a draw. Two people can eat for $25 without an appe zer and dessert. The highest-priced menu item is $12.99 for fried claims. Fish and chips are $9.99. A dra beer is $2.50. Appe zers range from $3.99 to the Wildwoods Nacho Grande ($6.99). The Szidats did not originally plan on opening a restaurant when they bought the property. Their inten on was to only use the lodge as a gathering place for their cabin guests. But they soon realized a need, locally, for a restaurant with evening hours. Cheri had been in the insurance business for twenty-five years and had never done a restaurant. She cooked as a hobby and catered in Massachuse s, but nothing on the scale she now cooks. Wildwoods can seat up to 40. Having the shorter hours spring through fall allows them to have private events like

Page 25

the garden club luncheon for thirty people in October. Szidat gives patrons food choices and, in the case of the garden club, 25 of the 30 chose baked haddock, which is saved for private func ons. The standard menu, which includes fried and broiled seafood, is on the wildwoodmaine.com website. Chowders are their forte. Guests in one of the three efficiency cabins have the op on of ea ng in the lodge or having the food brought to their cabin. For the hunters, Szidat will leave a crock-pot full of beef stew, or leave lasagna in the oven. The lodging is not incidental to the business, but an integral part of its success. “It’s definitely going to take the two businesses, because you can see that they have highs and lows at different mes,” says Cheri. Their out-of-the-way loca on accounts for their popularity as a retreat. Group events are a growing part of their business. Banks (ConƟnued on page 30)


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2010 Piscataquis Chamber of Commerce Food

(ConƟnued from page 5)

bor’s property. The trees were sawn locally and planed and sanded at the-then Moosehead Manufacturing. Grammont finished and assembled all the tables right in the restaurant. The owners are proud of Abel's "home grown" interior, which customers say they really enjoy. Abel's owners are the first to point out what makes the establishment a pub and not a bar. Pubs are community gathering places, explains Callaway, whose father is English. She recalls going to pubs with her family when they would go to England to visit rela ves. “Every village had a pub. That’s where people went to get together, to socialize, to do business, to hear the news.” Pubs even differ from restaurants, she says. In restaurants, “people just come in and sit down and eat and go. But here, people will come in, they’ll come to the bar, they’ll plan to sit down--and they’ll get there eventually--but they’ll

(ConƟnued from page 19)

straight and did breakfast, lunch and dinner. “They had an absolutely great me.” The clients would typically hike all day and return exhausted and red and ready for a good meal. The food was transported to the re-

PENQUIS Review

walk around to different tables… It’s a very social, community kind of atmosphere.” Callaway compliments Abel's waitstaff on their ability to keep up with their roving customers. “They do a great job of keeping track of who starts there and moves into the other room… Some mes it’s a li le crazy, but we love that. That’s what we want [our customers] to be doing--feeling like it's their place.” If the kids get antsy, they can feel at home in the kids’ corner which has a couch, coffee table, stuffed chairs and a stern-standing skiff bookshelf stocked with games like Ants in the Pants‚ Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robots, and Hungry, Hungry Hippos. The pub caters private, inhouse par es, especially during house when it is not open to the public. The food is primarily appe zer buffets and special food requests can be accommodated. The booths can slide against the wall to create more space for a buffet. As of Oct. 7, four par-

es were booked for November. There is an off-site bar service including the bar and glassware. It is primarily wine and beer, but they can do a full bar. The benefit to clients is that this comes with the pub’s liability insurance. They are on Facebook, use Twi er and email weekly specials. To sign up for the emails, send a message to abelbloodspub@gmail.com. Abel's website is www.abelbloodspub.com.

mote site by ATV and boat. There were snacks all day long, cookies and apples, and appe zers, dinners and desserts. “They ate a lot.” Lyman and her crew are also accustomed to improvising. Though the food is prepared ahead of me, it is cooked on-site whenever

possible. And the site’s kitchen equipment some mes fails. “We’ve had days when the oven died so we had to cook on top of the stove.” But they rise to challenges like that, even if they have to bake inside a barbecue.

The footrest under the bar at the pub


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2010 Piscataquis Chamber of Commerce Food

(ConƟnued from page 17)

kitchen now roasts three turkeys a week and makes its own gravy from the stock. The baked stuffed haddock is named in honor of a seafood-loving, former Milo den st in Milo, Dr. Monroe, who loved scallops in par cular. (There’s a picture of him on the wall.) There are steak sandwiches, hoagies, and ravioli. The Kansas-style pork ribs

to skins. Bishop makes her own French onion soup (with sherry). The broccoli soup and corn chowders are Robertson’s own recipes. E nger let Robertson also have her lobster bisque recipe, which, at Clay Hill Farms, sells for $12.00 a cup, compared to $4.99 at Hobnobbers. It uses Prime rib sandwich

a lobster base, vanilla and sugar. Hobnobbers does quiches to order (seafood or veggie). They buy haddock on ice, fresh from Portland, deep fried in homemade beer ba er (available whole or on sandwiches) and served with tarter sauce. They have a classic reuben. (Robertson tasted ten types of corned beef before she se led on which one to use.) It comes on marbled rye. Hobnobbers’ hot turkey sandwiches are one of their biggest sellers, even in the summer. They also make turkey pot pies to order. The

Page 27

prime rib and baked stuffed haddock to go. Robertson’s daughter and brother help, plus an employee who works both shi s for three days. For alcohol, only wine and beer are served. The house wine is Black Oak, which is a medium-price brand offered in chardonnay, white zinfandel, merlot, and cabernet. There are four beers on tap

Lasagna

are cooked eight to ten hours with a dry rub in the oven and finished on the grill with barbecue sauce. They also have beef ribs on the weekends from prime rib. Desserts vary. Robertson’s son-in-law makes amazing cheesecakes. They offer mousse-filed chocolate cream pie in graham cracker crust. Their crème brûlée is from scratch. Desserts include chocolate lava cake, sundaes, and mocha-filled cannoli. The en re menu is available for take-out. One person had company late one evening and ordered $90 worth of

(always Bud Light and Stella Artois; and two others that rotate, like Long Hammer and Long Trail). For bo les, they stock Boddingtons and seasonal beers (right now, Lobster Ale, Oktoberfest). They offer Coca-Cola and Pepsi products, coffee, tea, espresso, and iced cappucino. When the nearby Penquis Valley High School dismisses in the a ernoon, teenagers come over to the pub to use the free Wi-Fi and drink coffee. “That’s kind of cool in the a ernoons to have the tables full of kids and book bags on the floor during the


Page 28

2010 Piscataquis Chamber of Commerce Food

period when we are not doing much dining,” observes Robertson. In turn, because of that atmosphere, an older woman and her 50something daughter come in because they like to see the kids. In fact, that is why the pub is called Hobnobbers. Not only does it borrow from a local place name (Hobbstown Road), but represents mee ng together and hanging out. The decision to offer Wi-Fi was simple. One customerfriend who summered in Milo spent a lot of a ernoons at Hobnobbers because of the air condi oning and Wi-Fi. And it is not unusual for people to come in, order something to eat, and surf the internet while they wait. The cover of the menu has a photo of Robertson‘s husband, Kirby Robertson, and

his friend, Bobby Ellison. They and other Mainers were part of a Travel Channel broadcast of Anthony Bourdain: No Reserva ons, whose Emmy-award winning cinematographer, Zach Zamboni, is Robertson’s nephew. Zamboni guides Bourdain to Milo by way of chic, coastal restaurants with superb cuisine. But the best was saved for last: an assortment of wild game cooked at the family camp on the Sebec River and seasoned with wood chopping and lugging bubbling, clear spring water. Robertson occasionally pops the DVD into the big-screen TV at the pub. It cap vates viewers as they draw their chairs closer. Hobnobbers’ hours are Wed.-Sun., 11 to 8 (lunch, but mainly dinner). It is closed to the public Mondays and Tuesdays, because those are normally the days Valerie fills in at the Post Office. It is open for private func ons or mee ngs. Off-site catering is available. Spirits? Though Valerie Robertson is from Milo, grew up on the same hill as the hospital-

PENQUIS Review

turned-pub, and never heard boo about ghosts in the building, it was not un l she bought the building that she started hearing from other people about paranormal ac vity and experiencing some of it herself. Unbeknownst to Robertson, the building has been on the ghost circuit, as an unofficial stop on the paranormal tour of Maine, right up there with Colonel Buck’s grave in Bucksport. “I don’t even believe in any of that stuff—or didn’t,” says Robertson, who has no ced “tons of things. Bizarre things. Things that got stolen and missing and moving.” Then, in the Spring of 2010 she was working for the U.S. Census and the supervisor met with her and other Census workers at Hobnobbers for a mee ng. “She’s si ng here at one of these tables and I got up and went out to get her a drink and came back out and she said, ‘Do you have spirits?’ And I said, ‘Well, no. We just have wine and beer.’ And she said, ‘No. Do you have spirits?’ And I said, ‘Why do you ask?’ And she said ‘Because this flower vase just moved.’ And I said, ‘Well, the tables are kind of slippery.’ She said, ‘No. The flowers and the vase moved.’ And I said, ‘It’s funny you should ask...’ and proceeded to relate the other incidents. The woman happened to know paranormal inves ga-


PENQUIS Review

2010 Piscataquis Chamber of Commerce Food

tors. She men oned the building to them and they already knew about it. When it was a hospital, there had been reports. But a prior owner of the building had declined to give them access. So the inves gators arrived this summer and spent a night. They turned everything off and set up their audio and visual equipment and took pictures as a scien fic control. “They got noises on their machine. They went down to the cellar and a bucket had moved from over in a corner to dead center on a pallet, according to them. Now, we knew stuff like that happened all the me.” They spent another night in October as well. “I’ve heard voices, and stuff, they [the ghosts] are fine with us. I never believed in any of this stuff ever,” explains Robertson. Her sisterin-law, who runs Hospitality Hair and Nails in one end of the building, thought it was hooey un l the miniblind incident. The miniblinds are on the window on fixtures that require the miniblinds to be li ed up and out and over to get them off. “She came in one morning and the [miniblind] was si ng in the middle of the floor, perfectly compacted. Her curtains, on the bo om, are on springs. So, had it fallen down, it would have taken the curtain. She came out here and got my husband--my husband

has absolutely no belief in it at all--and said, ‘Kirby. Look at that.’ And he’s like, ‘Wow’. It’s just wild. Bizarre. We’ve lost whole stacks of menus. We lost a laminator. Somewhere there’s some really skinny, shiny ghosts, I guess, I don’t know. They wanted to laminate themselves.” Hearing voices Robertson came in at five o’clock one Wednesday morning before the Kiwanis mee ng and was in the bathroom. Her brother, Joel, has a key and some mes comes in at 6 a.m. to get ice out of the ice machine. But this was quarter a er five. And she heard a voice say, “Valerie.” She said she would be out in a minute. “I thought it was him and I said, ‘Are you going to work early?’ And I have this big conversa on. And he hadn’t come in. I had this big conversa on. And I heard him moving around out in here. Believe, me. There was no one else here. I do it [come in early] myself because I can’t get anybody else [to]. So that was bizarre that it said my name. And when we talk about it everyone says are you scared of it? And I said, well, I don’t like that it said my name.” Last summer there was an alumni mee ng in town. A woman (for this purpose, Woman A) who lived up the street all her life, but knew nothing about rumors of ghosts here but deals in that

Page 29

kind of thing, “she walked in and [did a doubletake] and said ‘Something just went past me’. I said, ‘What?’ And she said, ‘Honestly, I just felt something go by me and it thumped by me like a li le woman in a walker and then right behind her was something tall.’” A month later, another woman (Woman B) from across the street “comes over and says, ‘What are you guys doing there at night?’” She was referring to the cellar. Robertson said they were not doing anything. “She said, ‘Someone’s head was in that cellar.’ I said, ‘Well how did you see it?’ She said, ‘I don’t know.’ I said, ‘There’s no lights on.’ She said it was bizarre. ‘Did someone have a flashlight?’ None of that happened. Her father died 15 to 20 years ago and her mother—who is just like Aunt Bea on Mayberry, only smaller— called the minister and said, ‘You’ve go to do something. I’ve done something wrong because Elmer won’t leave.’ And the minister said ‘Well, some mes they don’t’. I mean, he didn’t even debunk it.” Eventually, Woman A, reached Robertson on Facebook and said she was having more feelings, indica ng that she thought the tall guy’s name was Alden or Alton. Robertson responded, maybe Elmer? Yes, said Woman A. And that, whoever it was,


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2010 Piscataquis Chamber of Commerce Food

PENQUIS Review

s ll alive and report that there were always the creepiest things going on. “But,” says the doubter in Robertson, “it was a three-story hospital with pa ents who might have been ge ng out of bed….”

died of something pulmonary related. Though Robertson had not men oned it to her, Robertson did hear, one morning, coughing for a long me. None of these incidents were things that Robertson ever men oned. They just all

came of their own accord. “It’s just bizarre. But it’s not scary. Isn’t that funny? It doesn’t scare me at all. And we keep telling them [the ghosts] we’re not going to mess with anything.” Some of the nurses who worked at the hospital are

(ConƟnued from page 25)

woods. The first season (2008 Schoodic Lake. New this sum-2009) was very quiet be- mer is a parking lot that peocause they just opened. But ple from the greater Bangor last year (2009-2010), they area can use to park and their saw a big increase in business recrea onal vehicles and take as a result of the new trail to the trails. and offering gasoline. But Another factor that made there also was not much Wildwoods a des na on, at snow. So they are hoping for least for the KI Riders, was that the club lost some of a good season this winter. Trail maintenance has been a collec ve effort between area clubs (Twin Lakearea Jo-Mary Riders, the Ebeemee Snowmobile Club, Milo-area Devils Sledders snowmobile club and the KI Riders ATV Club). There was a fundraiser at Wildwoods in September that drew four hundred people to raise money for a required insurance policy premiScoƩ Coyne and Stacy Jensen of the um for the rail- southern Maine town of Raymond were road crossing lothe Szidats’ first customers at Wildcated on the Wild- woods Lodge and have returned three woods Trail near or four Ɵmes every year since.

do mee ngs here and businesses come in for a luncheon or gi exchange. A mushing boot camp in September drew a hundred dogs and people from all over the Eastern seaboard. They loved it so much they will be back. Other than places like the alumni hall in Brownville Junc on and the event center in Sebec, there are few locaons for corpora ons or clubs to have a large gettogether for more than a couple of hours, especially in the event of rain. The loca on also makes it a des na on for local snowmobile and ATV riders, or individuals making longer tours between Millinocket and Greenville. The Lodge is three miles from ITS 83 via the Wildwoods and Beech Ridge club connector trails. During snowmobile season, they are flat-out busy. It is not unusual to have 300 sleds there on a Saturday. They have done major trail work this year and, last year, put in a new trail that leads to Wild-


PENQUIS Review

2010 Piscataquis Chamber of Commerce Food

their trails when Roxanne Quimby purchased land they once traversed. There is a big, mulƟ-use trail coming down from Millinocket (South Twin) through Ragged Lake and Endless Lake. It includes a huge sus-

pension bridge. It is in place, but not open to ATVs unƟl 2011. To get to Wildwoods by motor vehicle, take Route 11 in Brownville at A.E. Robinson’s convenience store and turn east onto Church Street

(ConƟnued from page 11)

been in the food business for thirty years as a cook then a purchasing agent for a chain of nursing homes. They noƟced The Covered Bridge was for sale. Russell was 25 and working fullƟme for Goodyear Tire in Dartmouth, MassachuseƩs at the Ɵme. He learned the restaurant trade from his father. “My father taught me everything.” Russell is the sole shareholder as of 2005 and Richard and Linda Sylvia got out of the business in 2009. But Linda sƟll helps out and Richard does the books. It keeps his mind acƟve. Over the years, the old house built in 1932 was torn down and replaced by a new house and garage.

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for five miles, then take Schoodic Lake Road for four miles, then a right onto Russell Road for another halfmile. The lodge is at the end of the road (formerly Knight’s Landing Road). It is a half mile from the lake.

Before reopening in August, a wall in the dining area was removed. Half of the room is now a dance floor. It also has a couch and easy chair where people can relax, read magazines or watch the “Amazing Earth” DVD on a big-screen television. Behind the TV are the signatures of members of bands that have performed there, including Chemical Dependence, which Russell Sylvia, a drummer, co-founded. During happy hour (7 -8 p.m.) $2.50 beers sell for $2. There are also drink specials.

Commissioned Coverage Hire updated text and photos to keep your website and printed materials fresh. You be the editor of publicaƟons we design for you that are inserted in newspapers or posted online and branded with your trademark, not ours. Have us submit press releases or features to media outlets that reach your audience. Commission documentary-style coverage of your fesƟval or event to preserve it. Include the logos of generous sponsors as a thank you to them.

(207) 949-2247 Sunbury Exchange, LLC, Dover-FoxcroŌ, Maine


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2010 Piscataquis Chamber of Commerce Food

PENQUIS Review

Penquis Review  

2010 Piscataquis Chamber of Commerce Food Review