March 16,2023 AT 06:31:15 am
By Admin

Ann’s Book Bistro in Damariscotta is shifting to a more personalized, event- and catering-focused approach for the upcoming holiday season, while continuing to churn out mouthwatering dinners from chef and owner/operator Chris Padil.

Padil runs the upper Main Street restaurant along with Edgecomb native Abigail “Abby” White. When the restaurant originally opened in February 2021, the owners expressed a desire to create a community hub and evolve to serve the community’s needs.

Ann’s Book Bistro changed hours this summer to transition to only dinner service on Tuesdays through Friday, when it is open from 5-9 p.m. On Saturday, the bistro has a brunch menu available that includes highend breakfast sandwiches, burritos, and a Barcelona omelet, all made with the freshest possible ingredients.

The shift in hours seemed to boost the popularity of the dinner scene and has worked out well, White said during an interview on Friday, Sept. 23.

The crew at the bistro has catered business events and luncheons in the past and has events planned in the future to serve Lincoln County Television and the Damariscotta Region Chamber of Commerce and Information Bureau, among others.

The restaurant is now looking to continue catering for these events and host more private parties in the cozy dining space at Ann’s Book Bistro for the winter season and focus more on creating personalized dining experiences for these preplanned meals.

“We just want people to know we’re available for that,” White said of the catering and private events. White and Padil are also continuing to provide takeout service on the entire menu, which they have offered since first opening during the COVID-19 pandemic.

White recommends calling ahead a day or two in advance to order a takeout meal so it can be prepared alongside the busy dinner scene.

White said businesses and groups can work with Padil on the menu to create an experience that will work for everyone. She said that groups can even choose to have only hors d’oeuvres or only desserts during their party if desired.

“We can adjust for special needs,” White said.

On Saturday, Sept. 24, Padil was able to accommodate for the gluten-free and dairy-free restrictions of my dining companion, Damariscotta resident Jess Wolfe.

Wolfe had never visited the space before and was truly floored by the excellent food and friendly service.

“I’m going to give this place all my money,” she said with a laugh.

Hummus was served with naan and some light and crispy gluten-free bread, which Wolfe called the best she’d ever had.

After the burrata salad topped with a hefty hunk of goat cheese was served, she said she could die happy.

Ann’s Book Bistro offers a homey dining space in a restored barn that has natural wood grain everywhere that envelops diners and insulates the space from the world outside. Candles and soft dinner music create an intimate and relaxing atmosphere to enjoy a cocktail, fine wine, coffee, tea, or S. Pellegrino mineral water, alongside freshly and expertly prepared food.

The most interesting feature of Ann’s Book Bistro is the vast collection of eclectic books that White inherited from her friend and the bistro’s namesake, Ann Raychel, a theater director and designer who died a few years ago.

Wolfe mentioned that the space seemed like a good spot to come alone for dinner and sit quietly while enjoying some literature.

Padil, a native Spaniard, began his culinary journey in Barcelona, at the Michelin threestar restaurant El Bulli. There he learned from the head chef and his mentor, Ferran Adriá.

Prior to opening Ann’s Book Bistro, Padil consulted for a number of high-end restaurants in Manhattan, where White ran a theater company.

In addition to the shift in focus to catering and private events, Ann’s Book Bistro will continue to offer rotating specials every night and host special events.

On Thursday, Oct. 6, Padil plans to host a Brazilian-themed night, complete with the culture’s music, food, and the national cocktail of Brazil, the capirinha.

The building, yellow with a pink sign, is across Back Meadow Road from the upper Main Street branch of Bangor Savings Bank.