The 2015 St. George summer has started. Kayaks are rolling around the harbor. Tourists with digital cameras strapped around their necks can be spotted just about everywhere. There are people at the beach collecting sea glass and occasionally tanning. All this summer needs is a place where you can get fresh seafood, barbecue, and wine.
Well, you are in luck, because the Yardbird Canteen opened Saturday, May 23. The take-out restaurant is located at 686 Port Clyde Road, near the village of Port Clyde and will be open Thursday through Sunday, 11am-7pm (closing at 5pm on Sundays). There is picnic-table seating near the outdoor barbecue grill.
Yardbird Canteen is owned by Michael Mastronardi and Amber Kenney. Mastronardi says he has been cooking his whole life. He moved to Portland, Maine in 2005 from his hometown of Hartford, Conn. In Portland, Mastronardi worked at a sandwich shop that specialized in homemade bread. Two years ago, he decided to move to mid-coast Maine. When he saw the ‘For Sale’ sign at Doug’s Seafood, he thought St. George was a special place that he would love to be part of. “So I talked to Doug and a vision became a reality.”
Yardbird Canteen offers a variety of fine casual dining—here you can enjoy a hot dog, shrimp, lobster rolls and barbecue, along with beer and wine. All of the food is prepared on site by Mastronardi himself.
When asked what Mastronardi’s concept for the take-out restaurant is, he replied, “I want to stay true to what Doug was doing, but with my style of cooking.” Mastronardi confessed, “I have large shoes to fill.”
Mastronardi explains his style of cooking as “a combination of Asian style, barbecue, home-made, fresh and local.” He buys lobster from the Port Clyde Co-op and other seafood from Jess’s Market in Rockland. He also has his own forager who hand selects wild Damariscotta oysters.
This is only the start for Yardbird Canteen, which is why Mastronardi says the key to the first year is “simplicity.” He plans to grow and evolve with the demand of the business.
Mastronardi plans to eventually open the restaurant six days a week. He also plans to hire more people to work the cash register and for other jobs. “I want to start offering brick oven pizzas, more catering, homemade lemonades, homemade iced teas, clam bakes, and pig roasts.”
As of right now, Mastronardi wants to thank the community. “Everyone in the community has been very supportive,” he says. “They’ve been helpful and seem eager to see me succeed.”
So next time you are thinking about going all the way to Rockland for a shrimp basket, why not head down to the Yardbird Canteen instead—you might just end up getting some barbecue to go along with your shrimp.
PHOTO: Sienna Barstow