The scallops and “bacon” dish at the newly opened Provender Kitchen + Bar at 112 Main St. features bacon broth, apple cider reduction and Palmetto Farms pumpkin grits. PHOTO BY STEVE FULLER

Provender Kitchen + Bar opens on Main Street

ELLSWORTH — Everything at 112 Main is new right now: the name, the menu, the look and the people running it.

Husband and wife Daron Goldstein and Joy Kempf have opened Provender Kitchen + Bar in the space that was previously home to The Cellar and Cleonice Mediterranean bistros.

“I just want to bring something approachable but upscale to Ellsworth,” said Goldstein.

Daron Goldstein and Joy Kempf are the proprietors of the newly opened Provender Kitchen + Bar at 112 Main St. in downtown Ellsworth.

That means menu items like curried mussel and pumpkin bisque, wild mushroom ravioli and fish and chips served with remoulade and a Brussels sprout and raisin slaw.

“I don’t think anyone around here is doing what we’re doing in the way we’re doing it,” the chef-co-owner added.

Provender opened to the public on Nov. 17. Its hours for now are 5 to 9 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday. The couple said they will add brunch and a social hour in the coming weeks.

Goldstein has an impressive resume to draw from as he and Kempf launch this new venture. A native of Hull, Mass., he is a graduate of the culinary arts program at Johnson & Wales University in Providence, R.I.

From there he went to Sage restaurant in Newport Beach, Calif. After that he returned to the East Coast, working at The Federalist restaurant at Boston’s XV Beacon Hotel for five years. He worked for Robert Fathman and Eric Brennan and rose to executive sous chef.

Other Boston-area culinary credits include The Summer Shack’s flagship Cambridge restaurant, where he worked with James Beard Award-winning chef Jasper White, and working as chef de cuisine at the City Landing restaurant in Boston’s financial district.

In 2014, Goldstein accepted the executive chef position at Rudy’s in Cape Elizabeth. He also worked as executive chef for Feast Maine Catering. Goldstein, Kempf and their children — 4-year-old Greyson and 2-year-old Ari — bought a home in Ellsworth earlier this year.

Goldstein and Kempf liked the space at 112 Main as a place to open a restaurant but also wanted to put their own touches on it, so that Provender could be seen and experienced on its own and not as a continuation of something that came before it.

“We obviously wanted to keep the historic charm, but modernize it,” Goldstein said.

“Give it some new charm and make it a beautiful spot,” added Kempf.

New light fixtures with classic Edison-style incandescent bulbs have been installed over all the tables and the bar. Empty wine bottles, containing floral elements, are mounted on wooden panels and artwork of various vegetables adorns the walls. Tables come from Superior Seating and feature reclaimed wood.

Provender’s lamb sirloin has a tarragon crust and comes with goat cheese fondue and Portobello tart.

Goldstein’s goal with the food and drink menu, in a word, was modern. For entrees, that means using different cuts of meat than what one might expect traditionally: lamb sirloin (crusted in tarragon with goat cheese fondue and Portobello tart) rather than a rack of lamb and pork porterhouse rather than pork tenderloin. The porterhouse is served with pork belly, crispy Brussels sprouts, charred apple, Jerusalem artichoke and pork jus.

A baked oysters dish features melted leeks, bacon, panko and smoked paprika. A squash and Brussels sprout dish also has pomegranate, manchego cheese, hazelnut and spiced honey.

Provender’s burger features meat from the Midwestern company Creekstone Farms. Goldstein says he uses local food when he can and Creekstone because he values the company’s consistency. Every time he gets a delivery he knows what he is getting and that it is going to be good. That means the customer, in turn, will have a positive dining experience.

On the subject of customers, Goldstein said they can expect “not just good service but memorable service.”

“We’re very hospitality driven,” he said. As parents themselves, Goldstein and Kempf recognize that when a couple comes in to their restaurant they, too, may have kids and this may be the parents’ one opportunity to enjoy a night out that month. So the staff wants to be sure they can truly enjoy it.

In addition to the food lineup there also is a drink menu featuring craft cocktails. Goldstein said a friend of his from Portland helped him come up with the cocktails, which he said are “amazing.”

The curried mussels and pumpkin bisque is drizzled with pumpkinseed oil.

They range from a Downeast Toddy (brandy, blueberry honey syrup, lemon, angostura and hot water) to the Ironic Flannel (beet-infused Makers Mark, Carpano antica vermouth, Owl & Whale cherry bitters and fernet) to the High Tai’d (Appleton Estate signature rum, Smith & Cross rum, orgeat syrup, lime and Pierre Ferand dry curacao).

Along with the focus on modern, Provender also draws on history beyond just the building it is located in. Its name traces its roots back to the Latin word praebenda, meaning “things to be furnished or provided.” The word “provender” itself dates to the Middle Ages in Europe, where it meant food and victuals for humans as well as fodder for animals.


Correction: An earlier version of this story contained an error. The restaurant is located at 112 Main Street in Ellsworth.

Steve Fuller

Steve Fuller

Reporter at The Ellsworth American,
Steve Fuller worked at The Ellsworth American from 2012 to early 2018. He covered the city of Ellsworth, including the Ellsworth School Department and the city police beat, as well as the towns of Amherst, Aurora, Eastbrook, Great Pond, Mariaville, Osborn, Otis and Waltham. A native of Waldo County, he served as editor of Belfast's Republican Journal prior to joining the American. He lives in Orland.
Steve Fuller

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