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10/16/2013 2:00:00 PM
Businessman to Buy Bristol's Samoset, Build New Restaurant

By J.W. Oliver

The real-estate developer and restaurateur Xavier Cervera will buy the Samoset Restaurant property in New Harbor and build a new, year-round restaurant on the site.

Cervera, a part-time resident of Round Pond, and Samoset of New Harbor Inc. have a purchase-and-sale contract in place.

The Samoset Restaurant will close by New Year's 

Eve. Entrepreneur and part-time Round Pond resident Xavier Cervera has a contract in place to buy the property. He plans to 

take down the existing buildings and build a new restaurant. (J.W. Oliver photo)
The Samoset Restaurant will close by New Year's Eve. Entrepreneur and part-time Round Pond resident Xavier Cervera has a contract in place to buy the property. He plans to take down the existing buildings and build a new restaurant. (J.W. Oliver photo)

The current restaurant tenants, Chad McKernan and Erin Reeves, plan to close the restaurant by Dec. 31, a date that was in place before talk of a sale began. Cervera plans to close his transaction Jan. 2, the first business day of 2014.

"It's a done deal," Cervera said. He will pay cash for the 2477 Bristol Rd. property and has already placed a non-refundable deposit.

The town of Bristol assesses the value of the 3.05-acre property and the structures on-site, including the 43-year-old restaurant building and a 12-year-old garage, at $438,300, according to town records.

Cervera plans to start work on the design of the new restaurant immediately with help from architect Tor Glendinning of 44 Degrees North LLC in Newcastle.

Cervera's goal is to take down the existing buildings, start construction, find a tenant who will agree to operate a year-round restaurant and see the business open by spring.

He would like to see a pub-style restaurant with affordable, high-quality food; a place with an atmosphere, menu and prices "very friendly to the locals," he said. The lease will require the restaurant to stay open year-round.

His early concept for the new building consist of a cottage-like structure with a copper or metal roof. The restaurant will have a porch area with plenty of outdoor seating, he said. He plans to rebuild the parking area and probably the ice-cream stand too.

For the interior, the avid sports fan envisions a large bar area with big-screen televisions and NFL Sunday Ticket, a satellite-television package with every NFL game.

He plans to hire local contractors to build the structure. He will design the interior and bring in his construction crew to build a custom bar and furniture.

Cervera said he was at the nearby Shaw's Wharf bar recently when he heard Samoset Restaurant was going to close at the end of the year.

He lives in Round Pond about 4-5 months a year and found the news troubling, as the Samoset is the only year-round restaurant on the peninsula.

Cervera asked who owned the property and quickly arranged the sale.

"They were scheduled to close before this happened, otherwise it wouldn't have happened," Cervera said. "I would have loved it if they would have stayed open. It would have saved me a lot of money."

The real-estate developer and restaurateur has built condominiums, hotels and restaurants in Charleston, S.C., Miami Beach, Fla. and Washington, D.C. He sold a package of nine Washington, D.C. restaurants late last year.

The New York Times and The Washington Post have noted the impact of Cervera's restaurants on the revitalization of the capitol's Barracks Row district, with the Post headline calling Cervera "The entrepreneur behind the Barracks Row restaurant empire."

Cervera remains busy in the Washington, D.C. restaurant world, with plans to open the American, an upscale pub, in the capitol next year, according to The Washington Post. He is also active in the management of his former restaurants.

Here in Lincoln County, he recently purchased the stalled Newcastle Harbor House condominium project at 75 Main St. in Newcastle. He has said he plans to revise the design of the building and resume construction as soon as possible.

Cervera said he loves the area, which provides a relaxing change of pace reasonably close to Portland, where he can hop a short flight back to Washington, D.C.

The Bristol and Newcastle properties are his only projects here for now, but if another opportunity peaks his interest, he is "always willing" to consider it, he said.

He splits his time between Round Pond, Charleston and Washington, D.C.

Skip and Cindy Atwood are the principals of Samoset of New Harbor Inc., which currently owns the Samoset Restaurant property.

The couple also formerly owned and operated Hotel Pemaquid, which they sold to Charlie and Judy Duggin of Pemaquid Investment Properties LLC in June 2011.

The Atwoods purchased the Samoset in September 2001 to complement the hotel and ensure the availability of a breakfast restaurant for their guests, Skip Atwood said.

The couple is pleased to know there will continue to be a year-round restaurant on the property, he said.

Multiple attempts to contact McKernan and Reeves at home and at the restaurant were unsuccessful. The Bristol couple has operated the restaurant since 2007.

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