The last item completed on the new restaurant on Water Street—an addition to T & C grocery—was its name.
Owner Chuck Mooney kept it under wraps, saying he was undecided until the sign went up, just days before the year-round eatery and bar opened on Monday, November 19.
Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, Mooney planned the late fall opening in order to let the restaurant settle in, and to work out any adjustments, before the summer season started.
He also wanted locals in Castine to have a new place to go, whether for an early, weekday breakfast or an evening pizza while watching the game.
Three large, flat-screen TVs make up the décor on one wall of the restaurant, and NFL football fans have already broken the Tap Room in.
“Last night, we had games—the Packers went until 10,” Mooney said.
And so, the Tap Room stayed open, serving drinks and food until it was over.
Also on hand were those who came for a place to gather and watch non-NFL television.
“We’re focusing on the underage crowd, too” said Mooney. “The premise here is, it’s a place for everyone.”
The restaurant seats over 40 customers at tables set mostly for four, with a short bar set by the kitchen.
Eight brews are offered on tap, from Guinness to Pabst Blue Ribbon, with a couple of microbrews courtesy of Vermont’s Long Trail Brewing Co. and a hard cider thrown in to the mix.
Chef Jake LaPoint of Castine offers an off-season lunch menu focused on burgers—beef, chicken and portabella mushroom—and salads, wings, pizza and soups. A dinner menu offers dishes such as steak, haddock, chicken Parmesan, lasagna and a shepherds pie.
“I keep doing menus,” said LaPoint. “This happened to be the one I just finished when we opened.”
Diners can order from a lengthy choice of breakfast fare, from omelets to pancakes to Belgian waffles.
“We want to appeal to everyone,” using “as much local, in-season products as we can, to help the local economy, help the local farmers,” LaPoint said.
When summer rolls around, bringing tourists and part-time residents, Mooney plans to expand the dinner menu and jazz up the atmosphere.
“I don’t want to say fine dining, but there’ll be tablecloths, the TVs won’t be on…It will be a very Maine-themed menu for dinner,” he said, with outdoor seating, steamed lobster and smoked ribs.
“We’re busting that out for the summertime,” he said.
The Tap Room opens for breakfast at 7 a.m. and serves dinner until 9 p.m. After then, Mooney said, “We’ll see how things are.”