SOUTHWEST HARBOR — For its 35th season, Café Drydock and Inn on Main Street is sporting a new look.
It has been 20 years since any major updates to the right-side dining room of the restaurant, according to owner Marty Williams. With a new, long farm table, four new high-top tables and stools, new colors and more seating, returning patrons may not recognize the place.
“It looks like a completely different room,” said Williams, describing the new gray and black theme as industrial. “I was in the early ‘90s, it was time to get out.”
Williams first came to Mount Desert Island from Vermont 40 years ago by way of Bar Harbor. She, like so many others who discover this area, worked at restaurants there and in Southwest Harbor. A few years later, she bought the building on Main Street.
“After awhile, this all grew on me, and now I never go to Bar Harbor,” Williams said about being on the quiet side of the island.
Café Drydock, named because of its location off the water, is among a unique group of longstanding restaurants on Mount Desert Island. In an industry where three years in business can be called success, the restaurant is going strong after three decades.
Williams highlights consistency and food made from scratch as part of the winning formula. Seafood comes in the back door, steaks are cut by hand, and lobsters are freshly picked two or three times per day, she said.
Williams employs nearly 30 people between the restaurant and inn. Several of her employees have worked through multiple seasons.
“I want people to like what they are doing when they are here,” she said, adding that employees are the ones who set the environment for a customer’s experience.
One of Williams’ favorite features is the long table built by Dan Norwood. It is great for accommodating large parties or multiple small parties.
“It can be a community table,” said Williams, in reflection of the small town where she has built her life. “I’ve always been happy here.”