Raven’s Nest, a new restaurant run by prominent Maine chef Rich Hanson, has opened in Winter Harbor. The full-scale restaurant is housed in the Schoodic Peninsula Visitors Center in the heart of this seaside town.
Hanson, owner of the former Cleonice Mediterranean Bistro, offered farm-to-table cuisine in Ellsworth for 12 years — well ahead of what has become ubiquitous in Maine.
And over the years he was twice nominated for a James Beard Award for Best Chef Northeast.
But the menu at Raven’s Nest will be all about rustic Italian along with flavors of the rocky coast of Maine.
“The flavors will be working class, gutsy flavors,” Hanson said. “This is a new chapter.”
The interior of the rambling, Victorian-style modern structure, which stands at the corner of Newman Street (Route 186) and Main Street, has been reconfigured to include a raw bar with clams, oysters, ceviche and crudo (a Mediterranean take on sashimi).
Hanson said the night he was closing the doors on Cleonice New Year’s Eve, Roxanne Quimby was among those who came to dine and say farewell.
Quimby, the founder of Burt’s Bees and owner of Raven’s Nest, slipped Hanson a card asking him to speak to her before making any plans for the future. Their shared vision sprang from those conversations.
In addition to a wide range of Italian dishes, seafood and other entrees, Hanson will offer three different pasta dishes each day as well as a wider selection of vegetarian main dishes.
He also will have a bit of fun with dishes that could be found at a church supper, but with a gourmet twist: baked beans, fish cakes and chowder.
The weekend brunch menu will range from Pullman loaf French toast and lobster Monte Cristo to scallops and grits.
“People are going to be familiar with a lot of the offerings, but surprised at how we present them,” Hanson said.