In May, a beloved friend re-emerged in Hallowell — Slates Restaurant.

On Friday nights Mayor Barry Timson held court in the original Slates with conversation, camaraderie, and cuisine. Owner Wendy Larson painted lively mermaid murals. The food and drinks were just as vivid.

But, in February 2007, Barry’s “dining room” was burning and those living upstairs were losing their homes. I was the city councilor for Slates standing in the street when the firefighters became concerned that Slates might have to come down. The lead firefighter and I agreed to try save the building, and they did. Not just a building was saved; lives lived in Slates were saved.

The Slates Fire Relief Committee raised $125,000 for Slates’ staff and tenants. It was astounding and amazing. A year later, Slate’s reopened as an upscale place to be.

In March of this year, Wendy and crew began another adventure. They rejuvenated the bakery next door into the new-old Slates with two large dining rooms and bars, one of which is the original wooden plank bar.

What emerged is a place where colors are bright and mermaids have reappeared. There are brass plaques from contributors or in memory of, like “Barry holds court from here” or my grandson’s “It’s PB cookie time, Declan.” Slates has the old spirited staff and the younger generation learning and yearning for the memories yet to come. The food is spectacular and the spirits inviting.

I am still Ward 3 city councilor and proud that I played a part in Slates’ evolution. While I write this as a tribute to Slates, it is truly a tribute to all of the businesses that line Water Street. Come join us to visit the familiar face of Slates and all of the faces that are Hallowell.

Phil Lindley


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