Julie Berberian's seasonal ramen and dumpling restaurant, Town Hill Take-Out, is open from December to March. PHOTO BY TAYLOR BIGLER

Homemade dumplings, buns served at Town Hill Take-Out



BAR HARBOR — The taxman thinks Julie Berberian is crazy.

After she filed tax information for her seasonal ramen and dumpling joint, Town Hill Take-Out, she got a call from a woman at the revenue service who wanted to make certain the form was filled out correctly.

Town Hill Take-out on Route 102 in Bar Harbor is open Tuesday-Friday. PHOTO BY TAYLOR BIGLER

Town Hill Take-out on Route 102 in Bar Harbor is open Tuesday-Friday.
PHOTO BY TAYLOR BIGLER

A restaurant in coastal Maine that is only open from December to March? Was she sure?

Fortunately for the Mount Desert Island winter community, Berberian is not, in fact, crazy.

But she does the exact opposite of what most island restaurants do as soon as the last Florida resident heads south for the off-season, and opens the doors to her eatery only in the dead of winter.

“I was playing around with ideas and sort of fantasizing about what kind of place I’d want to open,” said Berberian, who also co-owns and runs Café This Way from May to October. “I thought, ‘You know what I would love in this town? Exactly this kind of place.’”

She first opened Town Hill Take-Out last winter for three short months. She opened for this season at the beginning of December and will be open through March.

The Bar Harbor resident said that whenever she heads to a big city, she looks for the ramen and dumpling restaurants and thought the cuisine would be a perfect winter option on the island.

In the winter, she said, “people are searching for comfort in food,” and the ramen noodles, dumplings and steamed buns she serves up are soul-warming on cold, dark days.

From Tuesday to Friday, Berberian is in the kitchen making wild mushroom and pork ramen noodles, pork and vegetable steamed buns, dumplings and grilled banana leaves from scratch.

She cooks everything to order by herself, which can make for a (well worth it) wait.

To make the wait a little more entertaining, customers are invited to pop in a movie from her VHS collection or play games on the Atari gaming system she keeps in the corner.

Handmade noodles and dumplings are on the menu at Town Hill Take-Out. PHOTO BY TAYLOR BIGLER

Handmade noodles and steamed buns are on the menu at Town Hill Take-Out.
PHOTO BY TAYLOR BIGLER

Anyone who has been to breakfast at Café This Way in August knows just how busy it can get. As Berberian approaches her 20th season there, she appreciates that the winter season offers a different rhythm.

“I like cooking for the winter community. It’s not so much of a manic pace,” she said. “They understand that winter is a time for calm and are willing to wait a little while for their food.”

Even though Town Hill Take-Out has a short season, Berberian already has dedicated regulars.

“There is such a big winter community here,” she said. “Everyone who has come in has been thanking me, but I don’t know why they are thanking me, because without them, I wouldn’t be here.”

But no matter how hard locals may wish for Berberian to serve up her Asian dishes year-round, don’t expect Town Hill Take-Out to become another restaurant in the summer shuffle.

Said Berberian, “Something would be lost if it were open in the summer.”

 

Town Hill Take-Out, 1317 Rt. 102, Bar Harbor. Hours: Tuesday-Friday, 11 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Cash or local checks only. Julie recommends that if you are in a rush to call ahead to place your order at 801-9042. For an online menu, visit www.townhilltakeout.yolasite.com.

Taylor Bigler Mace

Taylor Bigler Mace

Reporter at Mount Desert Islander
Taylor covers sports and maritimes for the Islander. As a native of Texas, she is an unapologetic Dallas Cowboys fan. [email protected]
Taylor Bigler Mace

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