Popular Hancock restaurant changes ownership

This story was published on May 23, 2005 on Page B2 in all editions of the Bangor Daily News

HANCOCK – A popular local restaurant will be under new ownership when it opens for the season in a few weeks, but it’s likely diners will notice nothing different.

Longtime owner Nicole Purslow has sold Le Domaine Inn & Restaurant on Route 1 to Winter Harbor native and Philadelphia philanthropist Fitz Eugene Dixon.

Purslow said she decided to sell the restaurant after being diagnosed with breast cancer two years ago. She is now in remission but the experience prompted her to reassess her busy lifestyle.

She put the business, which her parents opened in 1946, on the market and it sold within five months. She plans to stay on as principal chef when the restaurant opens for the season on June 10.

“Now I get to do what I love to do without any of the financial headaches,” she said.

Purslow said she had two other offers on the property but ultimately chose Dixon, whom she describes as a close friend and frequent customer.

“I think he was fearful somebody would take it over and turn it into who knows what,” she said.

She declined to disclose the sale price.

Le Domaine, which specializes in French cuisine, has been featured in trade magazines, The New York Times and The Washington Post. Purslow, 58, has been working in the restaurant almost all her life. She started when she was 13 and has been running Le Domaine since she was 18.

Purslow said no major changes are planned for the restaurant or its operations, but she is in the process of training a new chef. Chris Meynell, 21, is currently studying in France, she said.

Changes are also in store for another popular Down East restaurant.

Lucas St. Clair and Jennifer Amara have decided not to operate Mama’s Boy Bistro in Winter Harbor.

Owner Roxanne Quimby, who also is St. Clair’s mother and founder of Burt’s Bees, said she is “in talks” with people interested in the upscale restaurant but is uncertain about whether it will be open this season.