BELFAST, Maine — Downtown Belfast is getting a new restaurant courtesy of the couple behind a popular food truck in town.
Partners Seth Whited and Sarah Waldron of Belfast plan to open Neighborhood restaurant sometime in mid-December at the former home of La Vida restaurant on High Street. The pair ran the Good ‘n’ You food truck in a parking lot near Rollie’s Pub up until last summer when Whited and Waldron leased it to another operator. The success of the food truck pushed them to pursue a full-scale, year-round operation.
“We wouldn’t have ever been able to take this step without taking that one first,” Waldron said Tuesday, as she screwed newly refinished seats onto chairs inside the restaurant. “We’re going to elaborate on the theme we had at our food truck and push it further.”
Good ‘n’ You served up world cuisine, the most popular of which were tacos, but also pushed out burritos, falafels, gyros and other dishes.
Waldron said Neighborhood, with seats for about 60 patrons, would feature similar fare, taking inspiration from cuisines across the globe, but thanks to its larger kitchen space could offer more variety and more complex items on the menu.
As they did with the food truck, Waldron said she and White plan to continue to seek out as much locally-sourced food as possible. Some of those farmers have greenhouses that allow them to produce produce year round.
“We have a pretty incredible relationship with our farmers and plan to keep that up,” Waldron said.
Whited recently left his job as bar manager at Three Tides on the Belfast waterfront to focus on Neighborhood full time. Waldron also formerly worked there. They are now in the midst of renovations at the restaurant, where they’ll be installing a new bar, painting, and overhauling the tables and seating to give the space a new look.
La Vida, which sold Mexican cuisine, closed its doors in early November after selling its assets to Whited and Waldron, who took on the lease for the space and all the contents inside. La Vida’s owners said in a Facebook post that their business was in “hibernation” but likely would continue by hosting events and catering.
The High Street Market, which shared a building with La Vida also shuttered earlier this month, but the decision wasn’t related to the sale of the restaurant next door. The owner of the building is looking for another tenant to take over that space.
“We’re really looking forward to getting people through the door and making them feel comfortable here,” Waldron said.
Follow Nick McCrea on Twitter at @nmccrea213.