BAR HARBOR — Business partners Matt Leddy and Mandy Fountaine have plans to convert Epi’s Pizza and Sub into a new seafood eatery called Merchant & Frye.
Leddy and Fountaine, who recently purchased the Cottage Street location, have an extensive background in the restaurant industry. Fountaine has spent more than 18 years in restaurant and food service. In 2014, Forbes Travel Guide named him in an article called “Five U.S. Sous Chefs to Watch” and his cooking has been recognized by Boston magazine.
In 2009, Fountaine established Bar Harbor Catering Company. Leddy joined the catering company’s team in 2018 and become executive chef the following year. The two have also operated Mount Desert’s Abel’s Lobster Pound, which spurred their decision to open Merchant & Frye. Their new venture will offer seasonal Maine-culture-inspired dishes from an open concept kitchen.
“Our goal is to highlight Maine oysters,” said Leddy. “We’re looking into having a raw bar and we’ve been really digging into Maine food history to reimagine and recreate some Maine dishes with a current flair.”
“We are currently doing some renovations to the building, but the tentative start date would be late April 2022,” Fountaine said. As a graduate of Mount Desert Island High School, Fountaine is conscious of the fact that Epi Pizza and Sub has been an iconic location for many years in Bar Harbor. She said she wants to retain the charm but add a few upgrades. The two also plan to have both year-round and short-term lodging upstairs.
It is yet to be determined whether the eatery will be year-round, but Fountaine said it will be open for at least nine months.
More details, when available, will be on their Instagram page (merchantandfrye). The restaurant’s website and Facebook page are currently under construction.