September 15, 2019
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Facing eviction, Bar Harbor cafe owned by town councilor gets 8-month reprieve

Bill Trotter | BDN
Bill Trotter | BDN
Bar Harbor Town Councilor Matthew Hochman sits at a July 2018 council meeting in this file photo. After being served last month with an eviction notice, a cafe owned by Hochman and his wife has been granted an 8-month lease extension by the Criterion Theater, which owns the cafe space on Cottage Street.

After being served with an eviction notice last month, a Bar Harbor cafe co-owned by a local town councilor has had its lease extended to the end of the year.

Trailhead Cafe, owned by Town Councilor Matt Hochman and his wife, Angel Hochman, rents space from the Criterion Theater, the main entrance of which is next to the cafe. In March, the nonprofit theater’s board sent a notice to the Hochmans saying that the cafe had to vacate the premises by mid-April.

Matthew Hochman responded publicly, saying that the cafe at times has had difficulty paying its rent on time but that it was currently up to date and that they wanted to stay at the Cottage Street location.

This week, Hochman said the cafe’s lease had been extended through the end of December.

“We are continuing to evaluate all our options,” Hochman said. “We are looking for other locations [and] would prefer to stay where we are, but that ball is firmly in the Criterion’s court.”

He thanked the theater’s board of directors for being willing to extend the lease for another eight months.

Theater officials have declined to comment on the cafe’s lease. The theater’s executive director, Amy Roeder, on Thursday directed inquiries on the matter to Richard Cleary, president of the Criterion’s board of directors.

Attempts Thursday afternoon to contact Cleary were unsuccessful.

Hochman has said that he and his wife make a point of staying open year-round because they want local residents to have options for eating out, even in the dead of winter when tourists are few and many local businesses are boarded up. Moving the cafe to a new location — which might not already be set up for a restaurant — in downtown Bar Harbor could be cost prohibitive for their business, he added.

Despite his financial situation, Hochman has said he plans to run for re-election to the council when his current term expires in June.

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