STANDISH - It’s back. After closing the doors three years ago, The Inlet Restaurant on Route 113 in Standish has reopened with a new style, a new name, and a semi-new owner.
“Well, I guess technically, I am a new owner,” said Brian Hurtubise, owner and operator of what is now called Cojo’s Brookside Landing at the Inlet. “I did spend most of my life working at the Inlet but I never owned it.”
Hurtubise is the son of Linda and Roland Hurtubise, who opened the Inlet restaurant in 1976 when Brian was 1 year old.
“I grew up here,” said Hurtubise, who officially went on payroll at 12 years old. “This place is like home to me.”
Hurtubise worked at the Inlet throughout high school and during summer breaks from college at Johnson & Wales University in Rhode Island where he majored in restaurant management. After obtaining his degree he attended Southern Maine Technical College for culinary arts. After graduating Hurtubise spent years managing some of Portland’s most popular restaurants including Diamond’s Edge Restaurant, Sebago Brewing Company, and Binga’s Wingas. He was also a highly sought-after restaurant consultant in New York City.
It was everything in a career Hurtubise had planned on while growing up in the restaurant business, but somehow he missed the tranquility of a small popular eatery nestled by a brook in a quiet town.
“When my parents told me they were going to sell the building, I knew it was time for me, I had to take my shot,” said Hurtubise.
So far that shot has been successful. Opened in May, Cojo’s Brookside Landing has had a steady stream of locals and tourists alike.
“I think the local people just realized we were open again,” said Hurtubise. “The past few weeks have been busier than ever.”
Although Hurtubise has added his own flair to the menu consisting of steaks and pasta dishes, the original Inlet staples are still a prominent feature on the menu.
“I will always continue to serve the original Inlet recipes, that will never change, I had to stay true to the roots,” said Hurtubise. “But of course I did have to add some of my own recipes and style to the place.”
Some of the changes include the addition of a full bar and sit-down service with wait staff. That’s proven to be a significant change for patrons used to standing in line and having their number called when their order was up, a change that pleased longtime Standish resident and Inlet patron James Alan.
“I love the changes,” said Alan while dining on a classic Inlet recipe of clam cakes and fries. “It has always been a nice venue with a friendly atmosphere. I like the addition of the wait staff, it really adds to the dining experience.”
The restaurant is open May through October, Tuesday through Friday from 4 to 9 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday 11 a.m. to close, which Hurtubise considers to be around 10 p.m.
“If people are here ordering, we will stay until they leave,” said Hurtubise.
No matter what the hours it seems clear that people are happy to have a piece of Standish history back.
“It’s about time,” said Duncan MacDougall, who grew up in Standish and has recently moved back. “This restaurant is something Standish needed and everyone here missed it, I can certainly tell you that much.”