Harpswell lobster restaurant sold out of bankruptcy for $1.25M

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HARPSWELL — The iconic Cook’s Lobster House restaurant has been sold out of bankruptcy to a couple with roots in Lewiston for $1.25 million.

The Garrison Cove Road restaurant on Bailey Island originally went on the market in January for $1.79 million. Its owner, Norman C. Parent, sought bankruptcy protection for Cook’s Lobster House in early May and asked the court for permission to sell the lobster house to help pay creditors as part of a personal Chapter 11 bankruptcy restructuring.

The new owners, Nicholas and Jennifer Charboneau, placed an initial bid, or stalking horse bid, on the property in anticipation of a bankruptcy auction. That offer of $1.25 million won them the assets of Parent’s business, but not adjacent property on the wharf where Parent operated a lobster shipping operation.

Malone Commercial Brokers netted 7 percent of the sale price, according to court documents.

The sale means the Charboneaus will take over the physical assets of the business, but not any contracts the business holds, many of which Parent has disputed in the bankruptcy process.

Those disputed creditors include Dennis Paper & Food of Bangor, Coastal Bait of Portland, Kaler Oil Co. of Bath, New England Fish Co. of South Portland, and the law firm of Pearce & Dow of Portland.

Parent claimed about $3 million in assets and about $2.5 million in liabilities, about $2 million of which were owed to secured creditors.

Mainebiz reported Jennifer Charboneau is a Lewiston native who sought to return to the state from Vermont after running a restaurant in the town of Williston for 15 years.

The couple plans to change the name of the business to Cook’s Lobster & Ale House and modify the building over the next year to cater both to a growing desire for craft beer and to create new conference and event space, according to the business magazine.

Jennifer Charboneau told Mainebiz the return to the state has been welcoming as the couple plans to take over for Parent, who in 2012 received a lifetime achievement award from the Maine Restaurant Association. The award stated the business employed about 100 people during the course of the year.

“Total strangers have come up and thanked us, saying they’re glad someone’s here to bring this place back to life,” Jennifer Charboneau said.

Mainebiz reported the sale closed June 30.

Sidebar Elements

Jennifer Dube Charboneau and her husband, Nick, are the new owners of Cook’s Lobster House on Bailey Island in Harpswell.