Tony Pastor and Kim Lully, who, along with Sunny Chung and Sarah Gabrielson (not pictured), will run Maine St. Steak and Oyster. The new downtown restaurant is expected to open at the end of the month. Hannah LaClaire / The Times Record

BRUNSWICK — The concept behind Maine St. Steak and Oyster is a pretty simple one: steak and oysters served in a small bistro-style restaurant on Brunswick’s Maine Street. 

And for business partner and chef Tony Pastor, that was all he needed to know before jumping on board. 

“It’s straight and to the point. For me, the concept was an immediate yes,” he said Monday. 

The restaurant, nestled between Wyler’s and the future home of Grampa’s Garden, is slated to open at the end of the month if everything goes according to plan, said Kim Lully, who is running the spot alongside Pastor; her husband, Sunny Chung and Sarah Gabrielson. 

From the light and airy feel of the restaurant’s interior, to the classic, “tried and true” items on the menu, everything at Maine St. Steak and Oyster is designed to feel comfortable and familiar, but far from boring. 

“We wanted to create a menu that will put a fresh take on the American Oyster Bar and the American Steak House,” Pastor said. 

The stuffy, overpriced fancy restaurants of yesteryear are outdated, Lully added. Instead, their goal is to take the classics and tweak them where it feels right, always focusing on highlighting the hyperlocal ingredients. 

With oysters from Mere Point Oyster Company in Brunswick and produce from Laughing Stock Farm in Freeport, it’s the steak from Caldwell Farm in Turner that covers the most distance— keeping the main stars of their meals within an hour’s drive. 

Steaks will be served with a housemade steak sauce and roasted aromatics, Pastor said, and oysters will be shucked right at the oyster bar. 

“We’re taking the classics and tweaking them with a modern vibe,” Lully said, like Pastor’s take on Oysters Rockefeller: oysters on the half shell, stuffed and broiled or baked with some form of smoked meat, local bread crumbs and a green vegetable, perhaps a winter kale. Along with the traditional ribeye, tenderloin and porterhouse, the menu also will feature a “butcher’s/chef’s cut,” for steak; likely a flank or skirt steak, something from the front lower half. Those “moving” parts are often the most flavorful, Pastor said, and will be a “little hidden gem on the menu at a lower price.” 

Desserts will have the same, classic, homestyle feel as the rest of the food, Lully said, adding that she is “anti-dust and anti-foam,” referencing the extravagant, deconstructed desserts in many items. 

Drinks will be much the same, with spritzers, a “not scary” wine list and local beers to work with the food instead of distracting from it. 

He and Lully aim to highlight the two menu items the restaurant takes its name from and have those be the start of the show; classic and simple. 

“Not so ‘Portland’ where every dish has 14 ingredients,” Lully said. 

Chung and Lully are no strangers to the Portland food scene though and are chef, waitress, dishwasher, bouncer and whatever else they need to be at Yobo, their small Korean restaurant in downtown Portland. 

Lully’s family has owned and operated Reno’s Family Restaurant in Caribou for 56 years, and though as a teenager she swore she would never work in a restaurant again, she and Chung owned and operated two New Hampshire restaurants; a small Korean restaurant in Manchester called the Korean Place and Sunny’s Table, a farm-to-table styled spot in Concord, before opening Yobo in 2017. With so many farm-to-table focused restaurants in town already, Korean food was a nice Niche they could fill, Lully said. She could not believe when something opened up in downtown Brunswick. 

This will be Pastor’s first time running his own kitchen after working as a sous chef in Boston before settling in Portland and working at Scales, a popular seafood restaurant for the last four years. 

The fare he has been cooking up for the last few years — burgers and grilled seafood — will still have a place on the menu, but he said he is excited to enter the next phase of his career and be able to make “what I want to cook and what I want to eat.” 

So far, everything is running smoothly, Lully said, with just a few permits and a little bit of menu tasting left to go before the doors open, which will hopefully be by the end of January. 

“I hope people come in and enjoy themselves… the great food and great atmosphere” Lully said.


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