MOUNT DESERT — “I’ve gotten more hugs and kisses in the last month than I’ve had in the last two years,” said Rob DeGennaro of townspeople’s response to the return of his Tan Turtle Tavern to Northeast Harbor.
Seven years after its original location on Main Street was destroyed by fire, the restaurant has opened adjacent to the Kimball Terrace Inn, overlooking the Village Green and marina. Open on a limited schedule since April 30, it will begin serving breakfast, lunch and dinner every day starting this weekend.
“We’ve gotten such a great response from all the locals, and we’ve had people coming from Camden and Bangor, making day trips down here and having lunch or dinner,” DeGennaro said.
He said he thinks the restaurant’s popularity, both in the original location and now that it has reopened, is due to a combination of the food and the friendly service.
“We treat people like family; everybody becomes our friend when they come in,” he said.
The menu is as extensive as before. For example, there are 16 different sandwiches, not including 10 varieties of paninis, eight Reubens and six kinds of burgers. The roughly 50 different entrees include everything from steaks and seafood to liver and onions and macaroni and cheese.
DeGennaro said it is all homemade.
“We bake our own breads and cut our own fish and beef. There’s nothing that we buy pre-fab or frozen. We prepare it all right here, and people realize that.”
DeGennaro, who has owned bed-and-breakfast inns, said breakfasts are proving to be popular at the Tan Turtle.
“We’re preparing your breakfast as if you were staying in one of our inns, so it’s a little bit special, but the price is the same as you would pay anywhere else,” he said.
The original Tan Turtle had seating for about 100. Now, the dining room can accommodate more than twice that many, with additional seating on the patio.