June 24, 2019
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Deer Isle and Stonington are this summer’s surprising culinary hotspots

Courtesy of Anthony Tahlier
Courtesy of Anthony Tahlier
Chef James McCaskey, seen here working at his restaurant in Chicago, is among a handful of entrepreneurs opening restaurants on Deer Isle this summer.

A two-star Michelin chef and owner of a Maine-inspired restaurant in Chicago is among a handful of entrepreneurs opening or relocating four eateries in Stonington and Deer Isle this summer.

Acadia House Provisions, a sister restaurant to the Windy City’s Acadia, plans to offer casual fare from chef Ryan McCaskey on Main Street in Stonington every summer starting in late June. Acadia is one of 414 restaurants worldwide to have earned a two-star rating from the Michelin Guide, an elite restaurant review published annually for more than a century by the French tire company.

Stonington’s economic development director, Henry Teverow, said the permit applications for the restaurants started coming in over the last two months. He said he hasn’t seen this much restaurant activity at one time in Deer Isle and Stonington in a while.

“We have the literal ingredients for it, as in our seafood and our farms, and some of the metaphorical ones as well,” Teverow said. “They produce high-quality food and have national recognition.”

All the restaurants plan to open sometime this summer. No dates have been set, Teverow said.

As is evident from its name, McCaskey’s ties to Maine were the inspiration for his Chicago restaurant, said his spokesman, Brian Chan. The 45-year-old has a home in Stonington and has visited Maine since he was a child.

“He has always had the dream of opening something along the water there,” Chan said. “The building became available and he is in his eighth year in his [Chicago] restaurant and he wanted to do something different, showcasing his more casual side.”

McCaskey plans to have “elevated takes on the classic fare of the area,” he said in a statement. That includes salad made from local produce — beets, chevre, pinenuts and blueberry-maple vinaigrette — and lobster provided by local fishermen stuffed into lobster rolls.

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Three of the restaurants that are part of this summer’s shuffle are changing locations. Acadia House Provisions will move into the space vacated by Aragosta. Aragosta has moved to Goose Cove in the town of Deer Isle and been renamed Aragosta at Goose Cove, chef and owner Devin Finigan said.

Aragosta’s new space was occupied by The Cockatoo Portuguese Restaurant, which is moving back to its original location from years ago, 24 Carters Lane in Stonington, Teverow said.

A new restaurant, Stonington Provisions Co., will open in Stonington at 25 Seabreeze Ave., near Staple Point. Its chef, Andrew Chappell, has previously worked in Texas, Teverow said.

A food truck will also start to visit Stonington a few days a week, serving Vietnamese sandwiches, Teverow said.

Watch: Deer Isle crabmeat picker talks about her daily work routine



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