August 23, 2019
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Where to find a slew of new restaurants in a quiet coastal Maine town

Nick Sambides Jr. | BDN
Nick Sambides Jr. | BDN
Siam Sky of Blue Hill offers Thai food made by a former Boston couple who came to Blue Hill to enjoy a more relaxed lifestyle. The restaurant is one of several new eateries to open in town.

BLUE HILL, Maine — Steven Mishkind says that Blue Hill needs more restaurants.

“There is very little ethnic food in the area,” said Mishkind, a former Floridian who works as an emergency room physician at Blue Hill Memorial Hospital. “If you really want it, you have to go elsewhere.”

That’s why Mishkind was happy to see Siam Sky open at 8 Mill St. on June 1. The Thai restaurant is among five new or returning restaurants to open in Blue Hill this month.

The eateries represent a new crop of investors in Blue Hill except for Anneliese Riggall. She’s the manager and former owner of The Boatyard Grill at 13 East Blue Hill Road, which is reopening for the first time since the seasonal venue closed at the end of summer 2016.

“We missed it. I am a restaurant person through and through so I really missed connecting to the community on the Peninsula here,” Riggall said Friday. “I wasn’t sure we were going to reopen. It is great to be among company right now.”

The Blue Hill restaurant scene “went from almost nothing to bursting at the seams,” she added. “When we decided to reopen, I had no idea that so many other restaurants would be opening. Everybody is pretty unique, which is very nice.”

Several of the properties have been renovated, said John Warren, who owns the buildings that house The Thurston Co. and Siam Sky.

Nick Sambides Jr. | BDN
Nick Sambides Jr. | BDN
Matthew Thurston and his fiancee, Catherine Wentworth, are renovating the former 66 Steak & Seafood and plan to open their new restaurant, The Thurston Co., later this month. It is among five eateries opening in Blue Hill in June.

Overlooking the bay in the heart of downtown, Thurston Co. is at 66 Main St., the former home of a bar and steak restaurant that was once a blacksmith shop. It’s a few doors down from another new Blue Hill venue, Sandy’s Blue Hill Cafe, which is at 40 Main St.

Thurston features plenty of wrought iron, wide plank floors and a great view of Mill Stream running into the Blue Hill Narrows, said co-owner Matthew Thurston, who hopes to open the restaurant in mid-June.

“I came here as a customer and I fell in love with the space and the history behind it,” Thurston said. “It’s in a great location and it’s really beautiful.”

Siam resides at the former Pie in the Sky ― a well-known Italian restaurant that closed a few years ago, Warren said.

Warren thought he had a better name for the Thai restaurant.

“We teased them and said that it really ought to be called Thai in the Sky. That didn’t go over well,” Warren said.

Nick Sambides Jr. | BDN
Nick Sambides Jr. | BDN
Vee Napapornpipat [left] is one of the owners of Siam Sky of Blue Hill, one of five restaurants or bakeries opening in Blue Hill this month.

Located at 142 Main St., Bay View Bakery and Tea Room was a residence that owners George and Loren Palermo have worked to keep in historical character.

“We have worked on historical buildings in the past,” Loren Palermo said. “This was an opportunity waiting to happen.”

Bay View, Loren Palermo said, arose from a dream ― sugar-free cinnamon rolls. “Both my husband and I are diabetic, so some of our products will be sugar-free,” she said.

The eateries are owned by restaurant veterans. Matthew Thurston has a culinary arts degree from Johnson & Wales University of Denver. He was a pantry cook and sous chef in Vail and Denver.

Natives of Bangkok, Charlie and Vee Napapornpipat ran her family’s Boston Thai restaurant for years before moving to Blue Hill. They wanted to be in a friendlier area, Vee said.

“If you go to Boston, they don’t like to talk to you. They are always in rush hour,” Vee Napapornpipat said. “Here people like to talk to you.”

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