MOUNT DESERT — Two Mount Desert natives and friends since childhood plan to open The Nor’Easter, a lobster pound and market, in the restaurant space at the Kimball Terrace Inn in Northeast Harbor this spring.
Adam Fraley and Ronnie Musetti said in a written description of the restaurant that it will be open for lunch and dinner, “with lobster as the primary focus.”
The market, which will occupy a small section of the restaurant space, will be open in the mornings, serving coffee, smoothies, bagels and other light breakfast fare. The rest of the day, the market will sell live lobsters, fresh fish, oysters, clams and mussels, as well as meats, cheeses, locally made bread and pastries and meals to go.
The business partners are leasing the restaurant space from Steve and Penny Fernald, who own the Kimball Terrace Inn.
Musetti and Fraley discussed their plans for The Nor’Easter with the Mount Desert Planning Board last Wednesday, after which the board decided the pair did not need a special permit to operate the market within the restaurant.
The Tan Turtle Tavern operated at the Kimball Terrace Inn from early 2016 until last October, when owner Steven Foss abruptly closed it. For a few years before that, it was Emily Damon’s Watermark Restaurant & Lounge.
Jim Wilmerding, who lives near the restaurant, said at the Planning Board meeting, “I’m delighted there’s a new restaurant coming into town.”
But he expressed some concern about the potential for unpleasant smells coming from the kitchen and nearby dumpsters.
“You can imagine some of the difficulties we might have with odors,” he said. “It sounds like there will be a lot of fresh fish coming in and old fish going out.”
“The garbage is taken daily,” Musetti said. “So, there won’t be old fish or anything sitting around. Obviously, we want to keep our neighbors happy.”
Fraley added, “We’re going to be very aware of our smells and our noise. We don’t want to upset anyone. I don’t think you’ll see a significant increase in traffic or smell.”
Fraley and Musetti have known each other since their days at Mount Desert Elementary School. Musetti graduated from Mount Desert Island High School in 2014, the same year Fraley graduated from Tabor Academy, prep school in Massachusetts.
Fraley then earned a degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Maine. He has been working at an engineering firm in Washington, D.C., but will return to Northeast Harbor to be the day-to-day manager of The Nor’Easter.
Musetti, who has had his own lobster boat since he was 16, fishes out of Northeast Harbor.
“I’m going to keep lobstering, so I’ll supply the product [for The Nor’Easter],” he said.
The pair plan to open the restaurant and market May 15.
The Nor’Easter will overlook the Northeast Harbor Marina and the Joseph T. Musetti Jr. Veterans Memorial Park, which is named for Ronnie Musetti’s great uncle. Joseph Musetti was listed as missing in action after his patrol boat was sunk during the Vietnam War.