On the Coast of Maine, Women Chefs Thrive

By Jocelyn Ruggiero, Globe correspondent, August 1, 2016

KENNEBUNK, Maine — Chef Rebecca Charles walks me through the first floor of her new restaurant here, in the throes of renovation. Splotches of spackle adorn the walls, and the air is filled with the aroma of freshly cut birch from a just-delivered bar. Piles of lumber and gallons of paint are stacked in the corners, and a new fireplace facade leans up against the old. She leads me up a flight of stairs to what will be the main dining room, Pearl Kennebunk Beach, scheduled to debut in the spring of 2017. Despite the heavy coats of black paint on the walls and the thick layer of dust that covers the wide-plank pine floors, it’s easy to see the future space through her eyes, which shine as she describes her plans. The massive wood-burning fireplace, she tells me, is the “single most important reason I bought the place.” The more-casual part of the restaurant, the downstairs Spat Oyster Cellar, inspired by the oyster cellars of New York at the turn of the last century, is set to open next week.

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