Camden Restaurant Reopens 

The owners of a Camden waterfront restaurant were halfway through an expansion project when a fire destroyed everything.They pulled together, started over, and today, reopened their restaurant.”We like it. We especially like the lobster,” says one diner, Roland Bernaudon, who was visiting from France.The lobster’s always been popular here, but last year, the restaurant looked a little different.”The decor was more utilitarian, it was just a typical, Maine, what would you call it? Seaside shanty,” says another diner, Kay Ouradnik, who lives nearby.John Hugh bought this Camden waterfront spot twelve years ago.”It was a clam shack,” Hugh says. “Cash only, no beer, no wine, no wait staff, and in the next couple of years, I turned it into a full service restaurant.”As the lines grew longer, Hugh and his wife Donna decided to the level the old restaurant and build a new spot. Then, two days before Christmas, as the new restaurant was being built…they got a call it was on fire.”It was devastating. We were out to dinner when the fire happened and we were fairly speechless for a couple of days. But, everybody just came back to work and made it happen,” Hugh says.Their crew of local contractors and craftsmen started over, working seven days a week throughout the winter.”Without them, we wouldn’t have been able to open for the season. But, because they put their heart and soul into it, they were able to put this beautiful restaurant together with fine craftsmanship,” he says.Five months later, they’re serving three meals a day, and will stay open all year long. A new addition is their “clam bake in a can” — just add water or beer and stick the can in your camp fire. “We can custom it up to 20 lobsters,” he says.”We’re very happy as townspeople,” says Ouranik, “that he’s done this.””We are sticky-fingered,” says Bernaudon, as he looked at what’s left of his lobster. “But it is alright.”