After holding down the corner of Spring and High streets for more than 12 years, Katahdin closed its doors one year ago. But owner Becky Lee Simmons and partner Winnie Moody are back in a big way after taking over the space that once housed George’s Bakery, and are rebuilding the place from floor to ceiling for Katahdin Restaurant Wood Fire Grill and Bar.

After securing the space at 27 Forest Ave., the owners opened the new biz just eight weeks later. They say they owe many thanks to local regulars and new neighborhood friends, whose help allowed them to get up and running so quickly. The restaurant and bar’s gracious hostesses are paying back their neighbors by sharing excellent food, great drinks and fine conversation.

As you enter Katahdin, the smells of the oak, almond and apple wood used for grilling greet you, along with the tall ceilings and natural brick wall. If you made reservations, you will be led to the mezzanine, where tables are arranged in semi-private groups and you can spy on the bar from above.

If you’re waiting for a table, seat yourself in the lounge area next to the bar that was brought over from the old space, or at the massive new bar. The new bar is meant for enjoying conversation with friends, with not a TV or a game in sight.

It’s likely that Moody’s sweet voice will be the first thing you hear, unless she’s off whipping up a specialty martini. For the holiday season, she’s serving warm eggnog martinis made with fresh ginger and hot buttered rum.

On draft and served in frosty glasses are Stella Artois, Brooklyn’s Special Old Bitter, Harpoon IPA and Hoegaarden. Bottled selections include Long Trail, Heineken, Labatt’s and O’Doul’s.

Care for a glass of wine? Katahdin carries many selections for all tastes, including Trinity Oaks pinot noir, Montevina Terra zinfandel and Angeline sauvignon blanc.

So, you’ve settled in, had a drink and relaxed, and now the aroma of the open kitchen is beckoning. Try the chilled oysters ($14) from the raw bar, or go warm and enjoy the steamed mussels ($12). How good does a salad with grilled asparagus, baked goat cheese and balsamic dressing sound?

For dinner, treat yourself to a grilled marinated hanger steak with a tomato corn salad ($22) or the roasted flounder ($20).

I chatted about art, writing and the love of books with some folks at the bar, but, unfortunately, had to find my way to the door too soon.

Moody saw me out, saying, “My house is your house, come back soon.” And I know she meant it.

Amber Olesen is a freelance writer who lives in Westbrook.