HALLOWELL — Slates, the popular downtown Hallowell restaurant and bakery, is moving.

But longtime patrons need only to walk next door.

Slates’ plans, announced Tuesday afternoon on the restaurant’s Facebook page, call for a relocation of the landmark restaurant from its current location on Water Street, where it has been for nearly 36 years, into the bakery retail space next door. The bakery will move to its adjacent production building.

Owner Wendy Larson said the decision was made purely for business purposes, despite speculation that her rent had increased to an unaffordable amount.

“It had nothing to do with the rent,” Larson said as she worked in the production building. “Even if it was just a $100 rent, it was a move that I needed to make.”

An accidental electrical fire destroyed Slates about eight years ago — Feb. 25, 2007 — and Larson said she always wanted to go back into that building because of its history. The local brick-and-granite structure was built in 1804 and sustained an estimated $1 million in damage during the blaze.

“It’s going to be very sad to leave,” Larson said, “but we planned it, it made sense and it’s very positive for me and the restaurant.”

Larson owns the bakery and production building, so leaving a building as a tenant and running the business from two buildings she owns just made sense to her.

“I’m older, and I wanted to get into a place that’s mine for the next 10, 15 years and then pass it on,” she said. “This is something I’ve been thinking about for a long time.”

Larson hopes to open the new bakery retail space in the beginning of March. Once the retail space opens, renovation of the yellow building will begin, transforming it from a bakery into a two-level restaurant. The existing bathrooms will be updated and a new sprinkler system will be added to ensure the building is up to code.

Eric Perry and EJ Perry Construction “is coming in and doing his wonders in about a month, so we should be (open) over there by the end of April,” Larson said.

She expects the restaurant will close for a few days before a big opening celebration at the end of the month.

Cooks Amy Kopple and Rachel Meehan have worked at Slates a combined 65 years. Both are looking forward to the new beginning.

“It’s like we’re starting a new restaurant, and it’s going to be a good move,” Kopple said. “I think we’ll adapt pretty well.”

Meehan said operating in a space free of oversight from a landlord is exciting.

“It’s going to be very funky and awesome,” Meehan said. “Here we have limitations because (Wendy) doesn’t own the building; but there, she can do whatever she wants.”

Cali Davis, who has worked at the restaurant since September, said she and other staffers are excited about the upcoming move but also nervous.

“It’s a huge deal, and there’s so much potential,” Davis said. “You have to be a little nervous, though, because it is a little unknown; but I don’t think we’ll lose any clientele.”

Larson said she isn’t losing or hiring any staff members in connection with the relocation. Her plans this year just call for renovations of the yellow bakery building and converting it into the new restaurant. She would like to build an addition onto one of the two buildings and even talked about adding a rooftop deck in the future.

“Those are phase two or phase three or something,” she said. “We’re very excited. It’s going to be beautiful in there.”

Jason Pafundi — 621-5663

jpa[email protected]

Twitter: @jasonpafundiKJ


Comments are not available on this story.

Augusta and Waterville news

Get news and events from your towns in your inbox every Friday.


  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.