Mandy Fountaine, owner of Bar Harbor Catering Company, is taking over Abel's Lobster. ISLANDER FILE PHOTO

Changes in store for Abel’s

BAR HARBOR—Chef Mandy Fountaine, a constant in the Downeast food industry for the last 20 years, is embarking on a new waterfront restaurant endeavor on Mount Desert Island, Abel’s Lobster.

Abel’s, located in the Henry R. Abel & Co. boatyard for the past 81 years, features traditional Maine seafood and, most notably, lots of lobster.

Fountaine is an eighth-generation Mainer who has worked in the food industry her entire adult life. In addition to Abel’s, Fountaine also owns and operates Bar Harbor Catering Company, which offers full-service event catering and bar service and is based out of a separate location on Route 3 in Bar Harbor.

“Abel’s is a well-known authentic Maine dining experience on MDI and we’re not planning to change that,” said Fountaine. “We’re going for a fun, informal type of experience.”

The lobster pound charm of Abel’s will remain, according to Fountaine, and the menu will showcase traditional offerings mixed with some more modern options that Bar Harbor Catering Company has become known for. Fountaine hopes to cater to the neighborhood as well as the hundreds of thousands of seasonal visitors with coastal Maine cooking. There will be a robust in-house seafood program that features seasonally driven classics that will evoke that “vacation in Maine” nostalgic feeling.

Bar Harbor Catering Company Executive Chef Matthew Leddy is helping Fountaine create a menu that will honor Abel’s history. Leddy was named one of the “Five U.S. Sous Chefs To Watch” by Forbes, and while working at Farmstead in Providence, RI, the restaurant was a finalist for James Beard Best Chef Northeast Award in 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014. During Leddy’s time at Townsman in Boston, the restaurant was named Food & Wine’s Restaurant of the Year in 2016, made Esquire’s list of Best New Restaurants in America 2015 and won USA Today’s Readers’ Choice Award 2015 for Best New Restaurant.

“We hope to synthesize the familiar and the unexpected — an interpretation of modern Maine that’s right for its time,” said Fountaine. “Our focus is on Maine flavors, ingredients and atmosphere – no matter how large your party is, we want your dining experience to conjure up the same familiarity and togetherness that Maine families have been doing in their backyards for generations.”

Abel’s sits on Somes Sound in Mount Desert. Under Fountaine’s management, the 100-seat restaurant will look mostly the same, but with a few cosmetic updates. For now, the restaurant will be open Tuesday to Sunday, 12-9 p.m., from late June through September, and is available to rent for private functions.

Bar Harbor Catering Company celebrated 10 years in business in 2009 and has been recognized with several accolades, including most recently 2019 Business of the Year, 2019 Top 3 Catering Companies in Maine, 2018 Top 3 finalist Catersource ACE award – Achievement in Catering Excellence, in both Catering and Events, and 2017 Rising Star Business of the Year.

“This new venture fits in so well with everything we strive for on the catering side of things,” Fountaine said. “We want to provide our guests with a remarkable dining experience each and every time, and we want to make sure they feel appreciated and taken care of. From the craft cocktails to the care with which we curate each dish, I want all of these little things to add up to a much grander picture that shows we truly care about everyone we interact with.”

Abel’s will open its doors Father’s Day weekend 2020.

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