Thistle Inn Restaurant to open March 31

Mon, 03/13/2023 - 2:00pm

After closing 10 months ago, acquiring a new owner and four months of improvements, the Thistle Inn restaurant will open its doors on March 31, according to owner Jenny Chen who said diners will see the results of the efforts in the 162-year-old building on Oak Street, Boothbay Harbor.

Work started in December and, “By the time that it’s finished, it will have a substantial investment in improvements,” she recently told the Register. The work included cleaning, painting, new heating systems, gas line, sewer line, all new dishes and glassware, serving utensils and silverware and a brand new kitchen, from sandwich coolers to freezers to ice machines.

“The Dory Bar is still the Dory Bar,” she said, but freshly painted and with new lighting, new television, new speakers and new point-of-sale units. Chen’s husband Ian Ronan will be head chef and his brother Zachary will be sous chef. Cody Orne will be dining room manager.

She said the menu, which will have “a good variety of well-prepared food,” is still in the works, but Chen expects dining room entrees to range from $20 to $50 and items on the separate bar menu to start around $10. She added that diners will see a mix of familiar and new faces among the staff.

The Thistle has indoor seating for 60-65 and Chen plans to open the outdoor dining area this summer. 

The restaurant will be open at 4 p.m., Tuesdays through Saturdays until the end of May and then open seven days per week throughout the summer, with the kitchen closing at 9 p.m. and the restaurant closing at 10 p.m.

Chen received approval from the town’s health inspector; next steps are to apply for liquor and victualer licenses. Once the menu is set, Chen will launch the restaurant’s new Facebook page: Thistle Inn Restaurant. She is still looking for a full-time bartender and anyone interested in applying should contact her through the new Facebook page once it becomes active.