A New York City restaurateur looks to maintain the local vibe at two favorite seaside schools in old Maine

A couple of major beachfront restaurants in Hancock County are getting a new but familiar look from a New York City eatery.

Max Katzenberg, who has worked at a Michelin-starred restaurant and owns two highly acclaimed restaurants in Brooklyn, recently acquired Harbor Cafe in downtown Stonington and plans to reopen Dennett Wharf on the waterfront in Kasten next month.

While Katzenberg, who previously spent summers in Maine and moved to Deer Island during the pandemic, brings big-city credentials and acclaimed chefs to the two projects, he and his team have promised to focus on upgrading what have already made two great local favorites.

For Café Harbor, a homey spot for locals and tourists alike, this largely meant a new coat of paint and a new recipe book that brought in more local ingredients but kept the classics.

“It’s always going to be that greasy spoon, the diner environment,” Katzenberg said of Harbor Cafe. “We just wanted to raise it in the right ways.”

Katzenberg cuts his teeth in the restaurant industry at Blue Hill at Stone Barns, a Michelin-starred restaurant north of New York City. There he learned about Stonington and Deer Isle’s famous seafood, and went on to source the island’s catch for his restaurant Olmsted, a 2017 James Beard finalist.

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