Originally published in Castine Patriot, June 28, 2018
Captain’s Catch takes over Castine Town Dock
The staff of the Captain’s Catch, called the “Captain’s Crew,” include, from left, co-owner Walt Foster, Jack Hamblen, co-owner Deb Hamblen, Jen Burton, Peggy Wood and Audrey Hamblen. The crew also includes Syra Gutow and Tony Politano.
by Monique Labbe
The town of Castine is alive with summer visitors this year, who, while exploring the town, will have a chance to sample the offerings of The Captain’s Catch takeout restaurant.
New to the waterfront this season, The Captain’s Catch took over the former Dudley’s Refresher building. Offering a menu of seafood and Maine staples such as red hot dogs and Gifford’s ice cream, the restaurant, owned by Walt Foster and Deb Hamblen, is located at the Castine Town Dock.
“This is our office,” said Hamblen, gesturing off the dock into Castine Harbor.
Hamblen and Foster were awarded the three-year lease by the Castine Board of Selectmen in April, and did not wait to begin experimenting with different foods and recipes.
“We wanted to have seafood, of course, but we also wanted to have the traditional Maine takeout foods,” Foster said of the menu. “We also wanted to make it simple.”
The menu features lobster rolls, haddock burgers and hot dogs, as well as burgers, French fries and other takeout favorites.
The coastal summer season is familiar territory for Hamblen and Foster, who both grew up on the coast of Maine, she in Stonington and he in Rockland. The couple attended Maine Maritime Academy and were employed there for several years, before a two-year stint working in the Virgin Islands. They came back last year and lobstered, and when the opportunity came to own the restaurant, they took it.
“It’s been a lot of fun,” said Hamblen. “We’ve had such support from the community. The response has been just incredible.”
“We’ve been really lucky, folks have been very receptive,” added Foster. “The salesmen have been really helpful with advice on ordering, and the other business people in the community have all reached out as well.”
The restaurant opened for the season about five weeks ago, and Hamblen and Foster said that while the experience has been enjoyable, it has not come without its challenges.
“We work in a very small space,” said Foster. “Our grill isn’t very big, so when we get a good rush, people have to wait a little bit.”
“They don’t seem to mind, though,” said Hamblen. “If it’s a nice day, they’re okay to sit on the dock and wait a bit.”
The Captain’s Catch is staffed mostly with family and friends, as Hamblen’s parents, Jack and Audrey, are on the “Captain’s Crew,” as well as Peggy Wood, the original owner of Bagaduce Lunch in Penobscot, on Mondays and Fridays.
“I pulled her [Wood] out of retirement,” said Hamblen.
The couple has also hired Castine locals Syra Gutow and Tony Politano for the summer season.
Also on the crew is Jen Burton, a family friend and logistics major at Maine Maritime Academy.
“It’s really turned into a family affair,” said Hamblen. “And it’s really nice to be able to hire a couple local kids. It allows us to give back, in a way.”
The restaurant is open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. seven days a week.