I made a little lunch stopover in Rockport Harbor, Maine last week. It was actually a tad out of the way but totally worth the drive: some really talented people I met a couple of years ago at Salt Water Farm’s cooking school have opened a cozy yet airy restaurant on the main street in town. Salt Water Farm at Union Hall is owned by Annemarie Ahearn who has worked for Saveur, Dan Barber at Blue Hill, Tom Colicchio, and Slow Food. When I met her in 2011 I was shooting a story for Afar about her nearby farm and cooking school. Annemarie has teamed up with manager Andrew Kesselring (Chez Panisse, Blue Hill at Stone Barns, Frankies Spuntino), events manager and host Alexandra Ruhland-Syquia (who has also worked at Blue Hill at Stone Barns and Frankies), and operations manager Irene Yadao (a former journalist and baker who heads up social media and has a hand in other goings-on at the farm).
Their new endeavor is located in a historic landmark building (1856) that’s been restored in a rustic-meets-clean aesthetic. The ceilings are high and the kitchen is open, which I always love. (I suppose I think I’ll learn a trick or two and really enjoy watching the dance that happens in a restaurant kitchen.) The menu is ever-changing, features all kinds of Maine products, and is well-curated. Everything is my kind of simple: fresh and clean, with seasonal flavors that are allowed to sing without pretense. Also on offer are local whole food items like maple syrup and eggs, wool blankets, food and lifestyle journals, and vintage French copperware. The only negative is that it’s hard to decide whether to sit in the inviting interior space or out on the back patio with it’s (above) view of Penobscot Bay. Good luck choosing!
Salt Water Farm at Union hall is open Wednesday through Saturday for breakfast, lunch, and dinner and Sunday for brunch.