This is long overdue but I am going to be starting a Small Business of the Week series to honor exceptional local small businesses in New England.
It’s not easy these days to be a small business owner. The Pandemic has wreaked havoc on virtually every aspect of our society. Small business is no exception. What a shame as it is the lifeblood of our economy. Prayers that a cure can be found for this terrible virus and that these small businesses can find deserved success right now and in the future!
This week’s Small Business of the Week: Jonathan’s Restaurant in Ogunquit, Maine
Jonathan West, owner of Jonathan’s, is the epitome of the American Dream. His restaurant — best known for its coastal Maine cuisine with European flourishes — started with humble beginnings. Jonathan bypassed college, traveled Europe in the later 1960s and along the way became a quick study to various cuisines overseas. When back home, he also gained great experience working for 10 years at a local lobster pound in Ogunquit.
To make a long story short, Jonathan purchased his parents’ modest Ogunquit home in 1976 and turned a 2,800 sq ft. structure eventually into a 12,000 sq. ft. restaurant — one of the largest in Maine but more importantly, one of the best. Yankee Magazine included Jonathan’s in its Favorite Things to Do in Ogunquit, Maine story (March 26, 2017) and as a best place in New England for dinner and a show. The Maine Restaurant Association honored Jonathan as the Maine Restaurateur of the Year in 2017.
Jonathan’s restaurant reflects his love not only for food but also music and art. Famous singers have entertained at Jonathan’s through the years including Arlo Guthrie, Judy Collins, Tom Rush, The Indigo Girls, Leon Russell, George Winston, and Marty Stuart. He is also a curator of local art with 250-plus paintings and drawings lining the restaurant walls.
Jonathan certainly follows his passions but it goes beyond that. His love for people keeps him going.
“It’s like what Stephen Sondheim once said, ‘Don’t do what you like, like what you do,'” said Jonathan with a big smile. “You know, we had a woman here that celebrated her 100th birthday. To see that… You don’t know how much that meant to me. To see her celebrating here — enjoying the food, the people, and celebrating in our restaurant — well, those are the things that matter most and that makes me most happy.”
Jonathan is the real deal, enjoying the art of conversation, living on a farm that produces food for the restaurant and following his dreams every day. And of course, his small business work ethic is beyond reproach.
Congratulations, Jonathan, for owning such a wonderful small business based on hard work, passion for what you do and, most importantly, for being a genuine, nice person!
Jonathan’s Restaurant is located at 92 Bourne Lane, Ogunquit, ME. Tel. (207) 646-4777.
Stay tuned for another Small Business of the Week!
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