FREEPORT, Maine — Tom Hincks, chef and co-owner of Jameson Tavern, said Sunday that he and his business partner may purchase the historic building housing the restaurant when it’s auctioned early next month.
Hincks and Christian Erdmann opened the new eatery of the same name in July after renovating it, stripping the 200-year-old pumpkin pine floors and crafting a new menu that includes specials such as smoked duck spinach salad and mahogany clams in red chiles, herbs and white wine. He said diners have flowed steadily through ever since.
But he heard last week that Bath Savings Institution would auction the building on March 6.
“It’s been fantastic until last week, and then here come the phone calls again,” he said of a media barrage that erroneously reported the restaurant was in trouble.
Nearly a year ago, Jack Stiles, who owned the building and operated the restaurant for 30 years, abruptly closed the doors of the Main Street eatery. Erdmann and Hincks, an experienced restaurateur who previously operated Fisherman’s Grill in Portland, signed a five-year lease and started a new venture under the old name.
Hincks said he knew Stiles was “in too deep” with the expensive, 7,782-square-foot building and property assessed at $1.26 million.
“I kind of figured it was going to happen,” he said of the foreclosure. But the partners are prepared for new landlords, and they may just buy the 1779 building themselves.
“I’d rather just take it over,” he said.
Hincks said the “hustle and bustle” of the auction shouldn’t affect the restaurant. In fact, he already has plans to revamp the menu this spring.