Though she had worked in restaurants for most of her adult life, around this time last year, Wesley Osterhout, the owner of Bantam Cafe in Winterport, was ready to throw in the towel on the kitchen life. She was almost done with massage therapy school. Perhaps, she thought, it was time to move on.
Until, on a whim, she and her former boss at the Whale’s Tooth Pub in Lincolnville went to check out a newly available restaurant space in downtown Winterport — 111 Main St., to be exact, a tiny spot formerly home to first iteration of the now-defunct Bacon Tree, and the short-lived Mexican taqueria Amigos.
Osterhout, 28, an Orono native, changed her mind. Not long after, she bought the small, run-down building, and she and her dad embarked on a six-month renovation effort.
“I was actually looking for a massage studio, but this place just spoke to me as a restaurant,” she said. “I began to actually think, ‘What if I could do this?’ and then soon enough, we just took the plunge.”
The Bantam Cafe, which opened in May of this year, is a breakfast, brunch and lunch spot focused on a mixture of healthy, wholesome menu items and more decadent brunch classics, as well as an array of baked goods. In the six months since it opened, Osterhout says it has garnered rave reviews from locals and from tourists alike.
“It’s been pretty amazing, to feel welcome here in Winterport so quickly,” she said. “The response has been incredible. Return customers are the best thing.”
Emily Burnham is a Maine native and proud Bangorian, covering business, the arts, restaurants and the culture and history of the Bangor region.
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