Blaze is set to open softly today at 5 p.m. in Bangor's West Market Square, taking over the space formerly occupied by the Whig & Courier Pub (closed since 2010), writes Emily Burnham in the Bangor Daily News. The restaurant's tagline is "Craft Beer & Wood Fired Flavors" and it's an ambitious undertaking from native son Matt Haskell, who opened his first Blaze in Bar Harbor a couple years ago (it is closed til spring). It brings some big-city flair to Maine's Queen City. Locally-based Ervin Architecture did an extensive remodel of the historic building where, according to the architect's site, "[d]ecades of patchwork construction has been removed to reveal the original wood timber framing, and brick, while retaining the historic tin ceilings. ... The intent here is to bring back the original feeling of the space, of a old industrial lumber town, and complement it with contemporary finishes, elegant lighting, and a cushy, refined, atmosphere." The result, Burnham says, is "one of the prettiest restaurants in eastern Maine."
The menu concept is also bold, with wood-fired steaks, seafood, poultry and pizza, a raw bar and Belgian-style duck fat fries being some highlights. The focus is on local, natural, sustainable ingredients. As for drinks, there are 51 draft lines, with a wide array of crafts beers, both local and from away. There's a wine list with over 120 selections and "local small batch hand crafted cocktails and spirits."
The grand opening is on Friday, starting at 11 a.m. Blaze will be open seven days a week, opening at 11 a.m. for lunch during the week and 9:30 a.m. for brunch on the weekends. Closing time is 9 p.m. on Sunday through Wednesday and midnight on Thursday through Saturday.
· Lighting the Fire at Blaze, Bangor's New Downtown Eatery [BDN]
· Blaze [Facebook]
· Ervin Architecture [Official Site]