Chef Krista Kern Desjarlais, the former owner of Bresca in Portland and current owner of The Honey Bee on the shores of Sabbathday Lake, has found herself a new location in North Yarmouth for a tiny restaurant. She plans to open it, if all goes well, by December.

The Purple House, as she’s calling it, was formerly the home of a much-loved video store – which was painted purple – and is located at the intersection of routes 115 and 9.

Desjarlais signed the papers to buy the new restaurant space and its small, “jungle”-like lot Monday morning. She has been working on the eclectic menu in her head for weeks while working to finalize the deal.

Key to the operation? A wood-burning oven – constructed on the outside of the building but with the mouth of it open on the inside – will be her cooking mainstay. However, it will only be turning out pizzas about once a week. The rest of the time she’ll be using it to supply an ever-changing daily menu, including mussels, smoked meats and fish, and items to go with them, “like a Montreal-style deli” with homemade breads and bagels.

“And a little soup, a little salad, a roast fish out of the oven,” Desjarlais said. “I will have mainstays, and we’ll serve a lot of fresh vegetables as well as our own cultured cream cheeses.”

She plans to operate only for breakfast and lunch, except for once a month, when she will serve a chef’s choice dinner for eight to 10 people.


“It would be like you are coming to my house for dinner,” Desjarlais said. “Probably seven to 10 courses, simple pairings, one price. It’s a way to do the fancier night stuff without committing 100 percent to it. So after 35 years in this industry, I get to do what I love one night a month.”

Although The Purple House won’t have a license to serve alcohol regularly, Desjarlais hopes to get a permit to serve wine with these dinners.

In 2013, Desjarlais cited family reasons for her decision to pull back from the critically acclaimed Bresca on Middle Street, which was regularly packed (and still is, under new ownership as Piccolo). Her daughter Cortland – yes, like the apple – is 5-years-old now and will be starting kindergarten. Desjarlais said she feels ready to dive into a bigger project. The Honey Bee, an upscale summer snack shack that opened in 2013, will continue to operate. Which will make summers busy.

“For three months a year it will be bonkers,” Desjarlais said.

Her complete overhaul of the building in North Yarmouth will include adding touches like tiles from Marrakesh.

“It will feel very Bohemian,” she said. “And like the most elegant little cottage shack you have ever walked into.”


According to the Realtor’s listing, Desjarlais got her purple house for a bargain: $58,000. The building, constructed in 1950 and located at 378 Walnut Hill Road, has only 544 square feet and sits on a half-acre, which Desjarlais plans to turn into an inviting garden, with raised beds for herbs and vegetables.

She plans on being her own general contractor. “It’s a total gut job,” Desjarlais said. “But it has good bones.”

The site was for many years the home of Vacationland Video. Owner Linda Polkey had kept it going until late 2014, despite much competition from video streaming services and companies like Netflix. Polkey died earlier this year from breast cancer. Desjarlais plans to include a memorial on the site.

As the name indicates, though, she won’t be changing the color of the place. Well, not much.

“It’s going to be a little bit more purple,” she said. “A brighter but muted purple. The shutters are going to be a little bit different. But it is going to be unmistakably purple.”

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