Spat Oyster Cellar, a new restaurant from New York chef Rebecca Charles, has opened in Kennebunk.

Charles owns Pearl Oyster Bar in New York City and announced in May that she was fulfilling a longtime dream of opening a restaurant in Maine by purchasing the former home of Abbondante Trattoria & Bar at 27 Western Ave. in the Lower Village. Spat Oyster Cellar is located in the downstairs part of the building, where there’s a small, 40-seat dining room and a fireplace. There’s a much larger dining room upstairs that will become the Maine incarnation of Pearl Oyster Bar and perhaps an event center. Charles said the earliest that space will open is next spring.

Spat Oyster Cellar opened quietly Tuesday night. The menu includes a selection of chilled seafood; small plates including fried oysters, buckets of steamers, clam chowder, mussels and smoked Atlantic salmon served with a johnnycake and creme fraiche; and larger plates including bouillabaisse, lobster rolls, whole grilled fish and a new creation from Charles – a “Carpetbagger Steak Sandwich” that is a baguette filled with roast beef and fried oysters.

The restaurant is open 5:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday. It is closed on Mondays.

Charles has strong ties to Maine. Her family has summered in Kennebunk since 1917, and in the 1980s, Charles worked as a chef at the Whistling Oyster in Ogunquit and at Cafe 74 and the White Barn Inn in Kennebunk, where she was executive chef. She is building a home here, and plans to split her time between Maine and New York.


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