PORTLAND — The 1856 Gothic revival church that is home to Grace, a popular Portland restaurant, is up for sale for just under $2 million.

But diners needn’t worry: Owner Anne Rutherford says the restaurant will remain open.

Rutherford is selling the Chestnut Street building, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, to get out from under a second mortgage, she said, but has no plans to close the restaurant. She said won’t sell it unless the potential new owner allows the restaurant to stay put.

The 14,358-square-foot building was designed by architect Charles Alexander and was home to a Methodist church for most of its 162 years. In 2009, Rutherford and her ex-husband transformed the space into a restaurant that has become a popular venue for wedding receptions and other special occasions, as well as nightly dining under stained glass windows. The restaurateurs had some fun with the building’s history, locating the kitchen on the altar, for example, and turning the pulpit into a hostess stand.

The sale is being handled by The Boulos Co.

Grace restaurant on Chestnut Street in Portland. (John Ewing/Portland Press Herald)

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