Abel’s Lobster Pound on Somes Sound plans to reopen this summer. ISLANDER FILE PHOTO

Abel’s to reopen after last year off

MOUNT DESERT — After being closed all last season for the first time in 78 years, Abel’s Lobster Pound on Somes Sound is set to reopen under new management in mid-June.

Mount Desert residents Kelsea and Glenn Squires have leased the restaurant from Henry R. Abel Boat Yard.

“Abel’s will carry on the tradition of being very much a family run restaurant as it has been since first opening in 1939,” Kelsea Squires said. “We are excited to be the next Mount Desert Island family to continue offering exceptional service and the unique Abel’s experience on the shore of Somes Sound.”

Glenn Squires is executive director of MDI Community Sailing Center in Southwest Harbor. Kelsea Squires is the school nurse at Conners Emerson School in Bar Harbor.

She and her mother, Carmen Sanford, will manage Abel’s day-to-day operation. They have hired Dakota Hatton as general manager and executive chef.

Hatton and Sanford have worked together at August Moon Catering of Bar Harbor. Hatton also owns Maine Bake Lobster and Catering.

“The [Abel’s] menu will remain pretty much the same as it’s always been, but with a few additions that Chef Hatton has been working on,” Kelsea Squires said.

The restaurant will serve lunch and dinner seven days a week.

Abel’s has traditionally been open for about 10 weeks each summer, from late June to around Labor Day. Squires said the plan this year is to remain open “through the fall.”

She and her husband were offered the opportunity to lease the restaurant last spring, and they applied to the town for a liquor license in May. Approval of that application was on the agenda for the June 5 meeting of the Board of Selectmen, but the couple withdrew their application prior to the meeting.

They said in the press release this week that they realized there wasn’t enough time to prepare for opening Abel’s last summer, “so we stepped back and have been working hard all winter to be ready for the upcoming season.”

Prior to last season, Abel’s had been in the Stanley family for decades. Ted Stanley Sr. began working at the restaurant in the 1940s and took over its operation in 1974. He was succeeded by his son, Ted Jr., who announced last spring that he had decided to retire. He and his wife, Shae, operated a food truck at the Northeast Harbor Marina last summer.

For many people, including longtime summer residents of Mount Desert Island, Abel’s is a beloved institution.

According to the 2016 edition of the book “Lobster Shacks: A Road-Trip Guide to New England’s Best Lobster Joints,” Abel’s has “a fiercely loyal following of well-heeled customers, many of them from big-name families in America who insist the Stanleys keep things just like they are: simple understated, quiet and low key.”

The book described Abel’s as “about as elegant a lobster shack as you’ll find anywhere.”



Dick Broom

Dick Broom

Reporter at Mount Desert Islander
Dick Broom covers the towns of Mount Desert and Southwest Harbor, Mount Desert Island High School and the school system board and superintendent's office. He enjoys hiking with his golden retriever and finding new places for her to swim. [email protected]

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