October 27, 2010

Soup to Nuts: Maine restaurants serve up spooks du jour

Do you believe in ghosts? They do at the Maine Street Grill in Standish, where things go bump night and day ... and that's not the half of it.

By Meredith Goad mgoad@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

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Slamming doors, running footsteps, children giggling and that inexplicably moving spoon are just a few of the signs of the ghosts believed to inhabit the Maine Street Grill.

Photo illustration by Michael Fisher/Staff Artist – Photo of Maine Street Grill by Gregory Rec/Staff Photographer

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Visitors to the Maine Street Grill are urged to be cautious on the stairs, where there have been instances of people feeling pushed by unseen forces.

Gregory Rec/Staff Photographer

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Customers encounter the ghosts mostly through noises, eerie feelings and a door in one of the first-floor dining rooms that opens by itself. Sometimes, it happens two to three times a day. Roberts showed me the door and rattled it loudly to demonstrate that a gust of wind couldn't possibly be the culprit.

"My dog, during renovations, would run to that door and scratch at it," Roberts said. "The people from the phone company have often asked, 'Anything happen with the door?' "


Roberts says his scariest encounter occurred during a 9 a.m. staff meeting in the first-floor dining room.

"We all heard a noise that made four grown men turn," he recalled. "And at the same time, you heard us all swearing. 'What was that?' Literally, I saw the perfect outline of a person, see-through, and it was there for three to four seconds."

To Roberts, the opaque figure he saw floating in the alcove between the first-floor dining rooms appeared to be a woman. He immediately ran into the other room to see if someone was there, but it was empty.

Roberts went to the kitchen to fetch Berry so I could hear his version of the story. While I was waiting, I chatted with waitress O'Brien, a student at Bonny Eagle High School. She recently brought some of her classmates to Maine Street Grill for an overnight visit so they could make a film about the ghosts for a class project.

That night, she said, they heard a female laughing, footsteps and scuffling.

"We were taking pictures downstairs, and there was a full apparition of a man, clear as day," O'Brien said. "You could see a beard, glasses, his coat and everything."

The man's glasses were very round, she said, and he was wearing a tie with his black coat.

That wasn't the only apparition O'Brien saw that night. As she sat in a room downstairs, "we had a guy leaning in and out of the room, waving. And it happened two or three times. It was very exciting, very nerve-wracking. I was so scared."

"I believe I've also seen a girl," O'Brien continued. "I haven't told anybody about this. I was coming up the stairs, and she was standing in the doorway and I went right back downstairs and tried to stay cool."

The little girl appeared to be blonde and was wearing period dress.


Most days, O'Brien said, the hauntings manifest as hair tugging, shirts being pulled on, condiments falling over on their own, and voices.

"You can hear laughing," she said. "You can hear children giggling. Downstairs, there's a growl supposedly also heard by a cook, and I heard it myself. It was very disturbing."

A growl?

"A growl. A grown man, like, uuuuuhhhhhh. Like that."

With the little hairs on the back of my neck now standing at attention, I followed Roberts upstairs so I could talk with Berry, the kitchen manager with the wayward spoon. As we climbed from the second to the third floor, Roberts warned me to be careful because this was the stairway where people had been "pushed."

On the third level, the floating dance floor creaked loudly as we walked around. This room is now used as a function room for larger parties, and it has hosted all sorts of happy occasions, from garden club meetings to bridal showers.

Roberts showed me the small lightbulbs in the big chandeliers and said sometimes they go off by themselves, as if someone has untwisted them a little, then come back on later.

(Continued on page 3)

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Additional Photos

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Dan Roberts, owner of the Maine Street Grill in Standish, says a litany of incidents at the restaurant have convinced him that the building is haunted by ghosts. The drawing at right, which Roberts found on the wall when he renovated the building, is of girls skating on a pond; Roberts believes that at least one of the ghosts in the restaurant is a young girl.

Gregory Rec/Staff Photographer


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