KENNEBUNK, Maine — It was 101 a long time in the past the SS Wandby crashed on the rocks off the coastline of the Kennebunks, its stranded crew to be showered with housing, food stuff, and entertainment by locals.
“It was variety of like the commencing of hospitality below in Kennebunk,” reported Matt Dyer, who with his spouse, Mariah, opened Wandby Landing Restaurant this thirty day period.
The pair are the newest stewards of the 19th-century farmhouse at 46 Western Ave. that for the past 30 a long time has served as a restaurant, most just lately On the Marsh Bistro.
The Dyers hope Wandby Landing can dwell up to the story driving its identify with fantastic wines, cocktails and an Italian menu designed all around handmade pasta.
“That’s one thing we aspire to,” explained Matt, 40, who with Mariah, 38, lives in Kennebunkport.
The couple have worked for the past 18 months to update the farmhouse that was built around 1850. Matt said they are increasing the restaurant’s bar from eight seats to 22, retaining its gardens and including a pizza oven that will before long be up and functioning.
“We wished to spend homage to what was in this article, but also create a place that was at ease for us,” Matt said.
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Mariah, who also operates her own flower and garden company Wild Aster Farm, is building on the gardens all around the farmhouse that overlooks the nearby marsh. The few plans to use their two-ground, 144-seat restaurant for weddings and capabilities as very well.
“It’s a lovely house, wonderful gardens. We certainly want to get edge of that,” Mariah reported. “It’s truly shut to downtown, but also feels like you are a entire world absent for a bit.”
The Dyers have been collectively for about 15 several years and have labored in other regional places to eat like Earth at Hidden Pond in Kennebunkport. Wandby Landing is their to start with endeavor as sole proprietors.
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A identify with meaning
The Dyers realized about the SS Wandby although studying the history of the Kennebunks as they regarded as a identify for their new restaurant. Mariah went to the community historical society and identified an account of the ship’s crash and the town’s reception of the crew. She also observed letters published 30 to 40 yrs just after the crash from the crew thanking regional people like the nicely-recognized Eldridge spouse and children for the hospitality right until they could obtain a way home.
Bringing their eyesight to daily life took extra time than they predicted with the coronavirus pandemic slowing design and driving up expenses. The pair bought the farmhouse in December 2020, and they mentioned the pandemic established them back about 10 months in their effort and hard work to open.
To get by all through individuals more months, the Dyers took what Matt called “mercenary work” with their friends’ catering and hospitality companies. Mariah also grew her back garden company, which features wintertime tulips she explained brought shoppers pleasure in the pandemic’s chilly months.
“I got a large amount of responses, ‘Oh my god, your tulips are definitely receiving me via some dark times,” Mariah reported.
A ‘staple in the community’
This summer time, the Dyers continue to experienced a whole lot of work they preferred to finish but set an bold timeline to open up July 1. Matt said there was nonetheless a lot to complete with two days still left right before opening.
“It was a race to the finish line, as these jobs ordinarily are,” Matt said. The reception in the past thirty day period has been encouraging, he stated. Guests have returned around the course of the month, and Wandby Landing’s already has some weddings booked.
Wandby Landing’s chef, Michael Bergin, has labored in dining establishments along the East Coastline, which includes in New York exactly where he labored beneath acclaimed chef Missy Robbins. He mentioned he experienced a track record in French cooking but arrives from an Italian spouse and children. He stated working in Italian kitchens in New York edged him back again toward his Italian roots and refining his handmade pasta craft.
“People have been back a few or four moments for the identical dish,” Matt reported, “Which speaks volumes to the high quality that he (Bergin) is generating.”
Bergin and the Dyers all say they know Kennebunk is a
getaway city whose peak season is involving July and August. They say the eyesight for Wandby Landing is to do far more than provide the travellers, and they hope to become embedded in the group for locals to check out a several moments a week or month calendar year-round.
“I feel we’re not searching at ourselves as a tourist desired destination,” Matt explained, “But hope to be type of a staple in the neighborhood.”