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Fisherman's Friend Restaurant Is Back on Track

BY CAPTAIN D

FOR THE PAST three years, ever since Barlett's Market closed, sailors putting into Stonington Harbor had had to walk four or five miles to find provisions. This unsatisfactory state of affairs was making Stonington Harbor a place many sailors avoided at all costs.

This is all changing now that Tony and Lauren Bray have opened the new Fisherman's Friend Restaurant and adjoining Harbor View convenience store. Occupying the town's most enviable commercial space at the Town Wharf, things down could not be more convenient for mariners.

"We need to get the word out," Tony says. "The harbor is being dredged—it'll accommodate big boats even at low tide. Sailors will be able to pick up whatever they need—food, drink, ice, sweets—you name it. We'll be open every day, 4 a.m. to 9 p.m. Stonington once again wil be the place to put in."
The restaurant is spectacular. Twice the size of the original Fisherman's Friend, it'll seat up to 220 people. There will be outdoor dining on the deck.
Every table in the place has a terrific view of Stonington's working harbor."
For many years a Stonington landmark, Fisherman's Friend has long been regarded as one of Maine's premier seafood restaurants. Yankee Magazine credits the place as having Maine's best lobster stew. Its fame is such that a year ago the Travel Channel filmed a segment showing the crew making clam chowder—from scratch as always with all fresh ingredients.

The restaurant has long been a family affair. For many years, it was run by Jack and Susan Scott. Now they plan to begin taking it a bit easier. Jack has turned over majority ownership to Tony, his step-son.

“Jack and Susan are still going to be involved as long as they want to,” Tony adds. “We’re just switching roles so to speak.”
It's been almost 30 years since Scott's wife and her husband started the original Fisherman’s Friend. Scott came on board 20 years ago. Tony says he grew up in the restaurant.

“My earliest memory is the first time I ever went in the building,” he says. "The place was a mess. There was just a bunch of crap in the middle of the floor. I remember going in with my father, my sister, and my mother. I worked there three or four years during school when I was about 12 or 13 til about 17 or 18. Then for seven years I went lobstering and commerical fishing. Then I went to Bangor where I worked in my dad’s couple of restaurants for three years before I moved back to the Island. I've been here since 2000. It helped doing the fishing too because you get both ends of the aspect, the seafood end of it."

Although Stonington has been a dry town since 1944, Scott says regulations have changed in recent years, and his new restaurant will have a full bar.
“We're adjusting our approach to food preparation,” Tony says. “We made our reputation with fried fish, but now we want people to know they can come here and enjoy grilled, broiled, or pan- seared halibut, tuna, or swordfish. Also, we fix lobster 30 diffeent ways—more than anybody else in Maine.”

Scott feels they're doing the town a service. “The new place is adding to the overall viability of the town,” he asserts. “It will help everybody’s sales and should enable everyone stay open a little longer in the season.”

Tony says his loyal patrons need not worry about the change.

“The restaurant will be essentially the same—same people, same menu, same recipes — just a new place where you can see the harbor. We don’t plan on getting too fancy—we want to keep the same clientel we've served for years and years.