Maine Regulators Shut Down Popular Floating Restaurant

One day a boat delivering lobster dinners is the talk of the town and the next, Maine regulators shut the entrepreneur’s business down.

According to the Portland Press-Herald:

An entrepreneur whose floating restaurant serves only sailors and motorists in a remote Penobscot Bay anchorage was told by the state to cease service immediately after being featured in a story Wednesday in the Portland Press Herald.

“It makes me feel sick to my stomach and sad,” said Reilly Harvey, who runs Mainstay Provisions out of an old boat she keeps on Andrews Island. Harvey said she was contacted by a state health inspector and told she must pass health inspection standards for mobile vendors – think food trucks – and get her vintage 22-foot wooden launch, the Mainstay, fitted with sinks and hot and cold running water if she is going to continue to serve hot food.

That licensing would happen through the Division of Environmental Health’s inspection program. If she wants to continue to serve desserts, she must pass an additional inspection by the Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry.

There are only 3½ weeks left in her season. Unless she is able to comply with the regulations, it is unlikely she’ll be able to operate Mainstay Provisions as usual in 2014.

Harvey started the seasonal business, operating from Memorial Day to Labor Day, to be able to spend summers on Andrews Island, where she grew up with her brother, mother and father, a lobsterman who died in 2011. She lives in Owl’s Head for most of the year and does her baking there, but she considers Andrews her true home.

“It is my heritage and my heart,” she said.

Harvey hopes to comply with the regulations. She must add a three-bay sink and a separate hand sink, and must have running hot and cold water (not from the sea) to comply with the same regulations that apply to food trucks on land.

Via the Portland Press-Herald.