HARPSWELL — A Lewiston native has returned to Maine to buy and renovate Cook’s Lobster House on Bailey Island.

Jennifer Dube Charboneau and her husband, Nick, bought the restaurant for $1.25 million and closed on it June 30, according to MaineBiz.

Charboneau told MaineBiz that they plan to change the name to “Cook’s Lobster & Ale House.” Planned renovations include expanding the outdoor deck and installing new flooring, according to MaineBiz.

They also plan to expand the bar and emphasize craft beers.

“We came in thinking our changes will still have a lot of the same charm but more modern — but we realized a lot of people love it the way it is,” she told MaineBiz

The Charboneaus told MaineBiz that the purchase was financed by their equity, U.S. Small Business Administration fiancing, Androscoggin Bank and an unamed local investor.

Jennifer Dube Charboneau grew up in Lewiston. She and her husband were running a restaurant in Williston, Vt., for 15 years before they decided to look for a restaurant in Maine to run. Cook’s went on the market in January.

The sale includes a 5,320-square-foot, one-story building on 1.37 acres. The restaurant is beloved among Maine residents and tourists for its views of Merriconeag Sound and Garrison Cove.

The restaurant originally went on the market in January for $1.79 million. Its owner, Norman C. Parent, sought bankruptcy protection for Cook’s Lobster House in early May and asked the court for permission to sell the lobster house to help pay creditors as part of a personal Chapter 11 bankruptcy restructuring.

The Charboneaus bought the assets of Parent’s business, but not adjacent property on the wharf where Parent operated a lobster shipping operation.

Malone, the commercial broker in the sale, netted 7 percent of the sale price, according to court documents.

The sale means the Charboneaus will take over the physical assets of the business but not any contracts the business holds, many of which Parent has disputed in the bankruptcy process.

Those disputed creditors include Dennis Paper & Food of Bangor, Coastal Bait of Portland, Kaler Oil Co. of Bath, New England Fish Co. of South Portland and the law firm of Pearce and Dow of Portland.

Parent claimed about $3 million in assets and about $2.5 million in liabilities, about $2 million of which were owed to secured creditors.

Before this sale, Cook’s had two owners since 1955, with previous owner Parent starting at the restaurant as a dishwasher in the 1970s. He bought the restaurant years later.

Information from The Associated Press and Bangor Daily News was used in this report.


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