MOUNT DESERT — Abel’s Lobster Pound on Somes Sound will open next June under new management, according to the property manager for the Henry R. Abel & Co. Yacht Yard, where the restaurant is located.
Frank Gott told the Planning Board on Aug. 9 that he expects a lease to be signed with one of two interested parties in the next two or three weeks.
The Planning Board granted a request by the owner of the property, Henry R. Abel Co. LLC, for a one-year extension of the deadline for reopening the restaurant, which has been closed since early September last year.
Prior to this year, Abel’s had been open every summer since 1939. Under the town’s land use ordinance, restaurants are not permitted in the Shoreland Commercial zoning district, where Abel’s is located. But because the restaurant was there before the ordinance was adopted, it has been allowed to continue operating as a “nonconforming use.”
According to the ordinance, if a nonconforming use is discontinued for more than a year, it is not allowed to resume; but the Planning Board may grant a one-year extension.
Ted Stanley Sr., who started working at Abel’s in the 1940s, took over its operation in 1974. He was succeeded by his son, Ted. Jr., who announced in a Facebook post in June that he had decided to retire. He and his wife, Shae, now operate a food truck at the Northeast Harbor Marina.
Gott told the Planning Board, “We’ve been selective in the process of finding a new operator [for Abel’s].
“We didn’t get the right people lined up for this season, so we just held off,” he told the Islander. “We wanted to get just the right people who will carry on the traditions of the restaurant. We’re very close to signing a lease.”
He said both of the potential operators are area residents and have experience running restaurants.
Abel’s traditionally has been open for only about 10 weeks each summer, from late June to around Labor Day. Gott said he expects the season to be somewhat longer starting next year.
The owner of the Abel’s property, Henry R. Abel Co. LLC, is one of a group of companies established by William Stewart, a seasonal resident of Northeast Harbor. He is a founding partner of investment management firm W.P. Stewart & Co. and grandson of the founder of MetLife Insurance.