ELLSWORTH — “The Turtle is making his way across the bridge. He should arrive on High St. in Ellsworth by November 1st,” read a Facebook post on Oct. 4 announcing the opening of the Tan Turtle Tavern in the former Primavera Restaurant.
Owner Steven Foss and his wife, Mindy Morse-Foss, operate the Tan Turtle out of the Kimball Terrace Inn in Northeast Harbor. Both locations will be open year-round. The menu at the High Street location will be similar to that of the Northeast Harbor location, featuring family-friendly pub food.
“It will be pretty much the same menu except for no pizza,” Foss said.
Primavera closed its doors on Oct. 8 after just over a year in business. Foss said he planned to make minor changes to the interior.
“We have to add a few pieces of equipment,” he said. “We just have to add in some equipment, take off the linens and tablecloths and make it a little more family-oriented and a little more for the locals.”
Lunch and dinner will be served seven days a week, Foss said, opening at 11 a.m. and serving a full menu until 9 p.m. and a bar menu from 9 to 11 p.m.
“We’re looking forward to coming to Ellsworth and being a big part of the community and try to make it for the locals, a place for all the hard-working blue-collar people in the area.”
A “good place to watch the Patriots and have a beer or two,” Foss said.
Foss said he’d had no trouble recruiting staff, despite historically low unemployment and a tight labor market.
“It’s going very well. I’ve had probably 20 phone calls already for help.”
The couple also plan to put on charity events in the new space, as they do in Northeast Harbor.
“Everybody that knows us from MDI knows we’re always involved in every fundraiser and charity,” Foss said.