ELLSWORTH — Late last month two plastic signs, zip tied to four thin wooden poles and angled to be read from both directions on Route 1, popped up on the site of the former Denny’s.
“Coming Soon: Crazy Sumo Japanese Hibachi Steakhouse” read the signs, signaling the possible arrival of a new dining spot but providing little else in the way of information.
“They have submitted and paid for a new business license with the city for a Class C (food/liquor),” City Clerk Toni Dyer confirmed. “They will have their public hearing on the May agenda for City Council.”
The Denny’s, built in 1998 and shuttered in 2020 amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, sat vacant for two years while landowner 75 High Street LLC and Denny’s corporate headquarters settled the lease and put the building up for sale. The restaurant was originally listed for $2 million when it went on the market in May of last year.
The announcement generated a lot of excitement, especially online. A post on the Downtown Ellsworth, Maine Facebook page featuring a photo of the sign generated 117 comments and was shared 112 times.
In other restaurant news, the city announced that a special public hearing has been scheduled for Monday, May 9, ahead of the City Council’s budget workshop, to discuss the license application for the new owners of Finelli’s. Yuki Abra LLC, doing business as Finelli’s of Maine, is applying for a City Class C License (food/liquor) and new State Restaurant Liquor License Class I, II, III and IV (Malt and Vinous).