BAR HARBOR — There may still be snow on the ground, but new businesses are sprouting this spring in Bar Harbor. Two spots downtown — a local cuisine restaurant called Salt & Steel and home-made take-out lunch place called Take A Hike — are opening next week. They will be joining a take-out pizza shop, Island Star Take Away, which opened in Town Hill in January.
Emily Damon is the owner and operator of Island Star Take Away, which is currently open three days per week. She works at Mount Desert Elementary school by day, making lunches in the cafeteria. After school Thursday and Friday from 4-7 p.m. and Saturday afternoons from 1-5 p.m. she sells unique pizzas from her shop on Route 102.
“I’ve been cooking pies since 2001,” she explained while preparing three of them to go in the oven on a recent Friday afternoon. She said she enjoys the creative aspect of pizza making. “These pizza ideas come to me between two and four in the morning.”
Some pies call for unusual ingredients like cheddar, pears, fried sage, lemon zest, and burrata — a rich mozzarella with added cream. Standard cheese and pepperoni can also be ordered.
Damon said she plans to expand her hours this summer. Times are yet to be determined.
At 140 Cottage Street, on the corner with Eden Street, Darraha Johnson and Ernie Geiger are opening Take A Hike, a take-out shop for lunch.
Geiger ran Two Cats restaurant for 17 years, and plans to include some breakfast items as well. “We are hoping to be open by the end of next week,” Johnson said. “We are pretty excited for our new venture!”
Breakfast items will include muffins and coffee, fresh juices and smoothies. The couple will be making their own Greek yogurt for the smoothies and their own homemade granola.
Offerings for lunch will include soups, salads and sandwiches on homemade bread. “We’ll be smoking our own meats for sandwiches,” said Johnson. “Duck, and probably brisket.”
Vegan and vegetarian meals will be offered as well. While primarily take-out, the shop will have some dine-in seating.
On Lower Main Street in the former Mache Bistro, Chef Bobby Will and General Manager Kimberly Kraus are getting ready to open Salt & Steel. Will described the restaurant as “hyper-local cuisine inspired by the farmers, fisherman and foragers” of Maine.
“The name Salt & Steel was derived from the most basic tools required to prepare food,” said Will. “Salt for flavor, and steel for preparation.”
The menu will offer dishes such as poached Maine lobster served with curry butter, confit of squid, roasted Maine cod and fermented new potatoes. The goal of the restaurant, Will said, is to “source and gather the most local, seasonal product available, and use it to provide our guests with the beautiful flavors of Maine.”