Hey Islesboro! Been to The Whale’s Tooth Pub Lately?

Hey Islesboro! Been to The Whale’s Tooth Pub Lately?

For those of you who have been around for a while, the Whale’s Tooth Pub has been a staple of Midcoast Maine for nearly three decades. The heart of the property boasts a hearth that has kept patrons warm for nearly 250 years.

Your hosts and new owners of the restaurant, Martha and Chris Nickerson acquired the property over a year ago. Martha grew up in the restaurant business in New York and brings diverse culinary and baking experience to the restaurant. Chris brings 30 years of business experience, including as chief human resources officer at TriMark, the country’s largest restaurant design-build company.

Their journey to Maine started as a vacation destination and over the years, the call of this beautiful land, views and fresh air encouraged them to make Maine their permanent home.

Martha and Chris both enjoy great tasting food and boating so when the Whale’s Tooth Pub that comes with boat moorings came up for sale, it seemed too good to be true.

After completing several months of research and business soul searching, the couple introduced what they believed was a thoughtful and locally compelling six-part strategy to position the property to become one of the best gastro pubs in Maine, offering:

  1. Experienced, locally sourced scratch cooking focused on elevated pub fair.
  2. Contemporary wine and professional mixology.
  3. Friendly hospitality offered by experienced servers.
  4. Fine dining level discipline spanning front of house and back of house operations.
  5. Warm English style pub ambiance, combined with 400 feet of ocean front views.
  6. And the most important element – an exceptional, devoted and fun-loving team, sourced from Maine, Connecticut, Texas and California, forming a strong foundation and winning culture.

Their strategy is hitting the mark, both with locals excited about tasting agile and refined coastal pub fair, and many new customers from near and far. If you want further confirmation, look at Open Table – the ubiquitous dining reservation platform. Open Table has recently awarded their highest exceptional rating to the restaurant, tabulated from customer reviews spanning food, service, ambiance and value.

The joint culinary and service team at the Whale’s Tooth stays energized by offering a more boutique experience throughout the winter, and traditional Maine coastal fair during the busy summer season.

Like many restaurants and small businesses, the Whale’s Tooth initially found it difficult to attract enough local team members to support their growing customer base, due in large part to a shortage of available and affordable housing.

To be proactive, the owners recently purchased and renovated the Belfast Breeze Inn & Lodge. Now called The Northport Inn & Lodge www.thenorthport.com, the property has 19 housing units that are occupied by some of the Whale’s Tooth staff, several devoted traveling nurses, and other area restaurant staff and local tradespeople. The property has beautiful Pen Bay views and a brand new, fully-equipped shared kitchen to help guests feel at home. The owners keep rates affordable all year round – a welcomed offering for the area community.

For those of you who have not been to the Whale’s Tooth in a while, check it out. For more information, including reservations, menu, takeout and private events, visit www.whalestoothpub.com or call 207-789-5200. Meet you at the Whale’s Tooth Pub!

Chris and Martha Nickerson
Chris and Martha Nickerson

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