News Feature

Blue Hill
Web exclusive, July 2, 2018
The Thurston Co. restaurant opens in historic Blue Hill building

Matt Thurston and Kate Wentworth

Matt Thurston and Kate Wentworth spent weeks repairing and cleaning the historic building at 66 Main Street in Blue Hill before the busy restaurant season begins.

Photo courtesy of The Thurston Co.

by Tina Oddleifson

Matt Thurston and Kate Wentworth have been working around the clock to get their new restaurant, The Thurston Co., open in Blue Hill this week. With help from friends and family, they’ve been cleaning, painting, and repairing the historic red building at 66 Main Street for the past two months. The space has housed several restaurants over the years, but sat empty for the past four.

The name they’ve chosen for the business has a double meaning for the couple. The black sign with gold lettering was crafted by Wentworth’s grandfather Paul Wentworth, for the boat building company he once owned in Orland. It also happens to be Matt Thurston’s last name.

The menu shows a creative and unique take on classic Maine ingredients, such as peekytoe crab soup with lemongrass and coconut, tostadas with halibut ceviche, and a lazy lobster with brandy cream sauce. Lamb shank with preserved lemon and smoked carrots, and ricotta gnudi with trumpet mushrooms are offered alongside fried chicken and burgers. “We want it to be both accessible and exciting, with an emphasis on service,” said Thurston. Restaurant goers will be happy to know that sticky toffee pudding is in the house.

This is the couple’s first venture as business owners, but they’ve both spent several years working in the restaurant industry. Thurston is a graduate of the Johnson & Wales culinary program in Denver, and has worked in fine dining restaurants in Colorado and Maine. He worked at the Whale’s Rib Tavern in Deer Isle for several seasons and at Aragosta in Stonington starting in the fall of 2016 when he moved to Deer Isle permanently. As a child he grew up in Louisiana, and spent summers at his grandparents’ home in Brooksville.

For Orland native Kate Wentworth, opening the restaurant has offered the chance to come home. After working for restaurants in Boston, she returned to Maine to take a job as a front of the house manager at Aragosta. “I really want young people to come back to Maine, but jobs are a problem,” she said. Opening a year-round restaurant in Blue Hill finally offered the opportunity to make it work. “We want the restaurant to be a welcoming place where the community can gather, where you feel like you are home.”

The restaurant will be open for dinner Wednesday through Monday, 5 to 9 p.m., except for a few days in September when the couple plans to marry. For reservations, call 374-7166.

Matt Thurston hangs the original sign

Matt Thurston hangs the original sign from a boat building business in Orland on his new restaurant in Blue Hill.

Photo courtesy of The Thurston Co.
Matt Thurston and Kate Wentworth

Matt Thurston and Kate Wentworth spent weeks repairing and cleaning the historic building at 66 Main Street in Blue Hill before the busy restaurant season begins.

Photo courtesy of The Thurston Co.