BAR HARBOR — Rosalie’s Pizza, a well-known pizza parlor that has been around for the last 40 years, has been closed for the season for health reasons but its owners plan to reopen in the spring of 2022.
Rich and Brenda Crowe started Rosalie’s Pizza in 1981. At the time, it was takeout only and most of the building consisted of apartments. Over the years, the restaurant slowly expanded and apartments were converted into restaurant space. The Crowes added an upstairs dining room in 1998.
Their son, Rick Crowe, who grew up working in the restaurant, eventually took over the business. “As a child, I helped out wherever I could. I believe my first official job was washing dishes and folding pizza boxes. Still, my brother and I had plenty of free time to bike around town, to fill up on penny candy and to explore Acadia,” said he said. Every summer he would return to the restaurant during college to work full time and often recruited friends to work with him.
After college, Rick worked in banking for several years. “Even still, I worked at the restaurant whenever I could, often giving my parents time off each week,” he said. In 2005, he left his banking job to pursue the restaurant business full time. He said that his wife Whitney worked her first season at Rosalie’s in 1998 while the two were still dating. For several years after, she continued to help out part time until she joined full time in 2010.
Rick’s parents retired several years ago, and Rick and Whitney have been in charge of all operations. “Of all my responsibilities, I like making pizza the most,” Rick said. He gets to do his favorite task every day the restaurant is open.
Locals and visitors alike remark on how Rosalie’s Pizza has stayed the same while so much in Bar Harbor has changed over the past four decades. “Some people say it’s the dough, which is made in-house daily. Others say it’s the sauce that is also made in-house daily. Or the cheese. They may all be right,” said Rick. The one thing he said is for sure is that he and his wife strive to maintain the integrity of what his parents built. “We hear people describe us as ‘old school’ and we’re OK with that,” he said.
As it was for everyone, 2020 was a challenging season for Rosalie’s. Rick said that they were very lucky that the business could transition to takeout-only so readily. “It was ironic that after 40 years we were back to just doing takeout again. Despite the challenges, we were so encouraged by how the town rallied together to provide a safe environment for locals and visitors alike.”
The couple was looking forward not only to reopening but also to returning to dine-in services in 2021. That was until this past spring when Rick was diagnosed with a congenital heart issue. “It needed to be addressed immediately. I had heart surgery in June and I am still actively recovering at this time,” he said.
Prior to the surgery, the Crowes had high hopes that Rosalie’s would be able to open in some capacity this fall. However, they recently concluded that this will not be possible. Making the decision not to open was very difficult, but they said they feel very blessed to have been able to take this time to focus on health and recovery. The couple will redirect their focus to reopening in the spring of 2022.
“We’d like to thank all of our family, friend and loyal customers for all their help and well wishes, and we really have been so moved and encouraged by everyone’s care and concern,” said Rick.