Liz Reynolds of Westbrook drove to her job at David’s KPT on Monday, and had just parked her car when she got a text from a co-worker saying the Kennebunkport restaurant was closed.

At first, she thought the big storm had shut down the place for the night. But she soon learned through the restaurant worker grapevine that David’s KPT was closed for good. And she was out of a job.

Reynolds said there was a human resources manager on site from The Kennebunkport Resort Collection who passed out envelopes with information on severance pay and filing for unemployment.

But Reynolds didn’t get the thing she wanted most: notice.

“I have a family I have to take care of,” she said. “I’m a single mom. I have a mortgage to pay. And no notification whatsoever from anybody.”

An estimated 45 full-time employees of David’s KPT, located in The Boathouse Waterfront Hotel, were abruptly fired Monday when KRC, which owns the restaurant in partnership with Portland chef David Turin, decided to close the restaurant for the winter. It will reopen in 2018 with a new name and concept, despite the fact that this year has been most profitable year ever for David’s KPT, according to Turin.


Whitney Butts, a University of Southern Maine student who worked as a server at the restaurant for two years, said she found out about the closure late Monday afternoon, when a co-worker texted her. That employee had heard the news from a former co-worker who had seen the restaurant’s announcement on Facebook.

Butts and other employees said they expect relatively sudden closures in the restaurant business. It’s the way this particular situation was handled that is hard to swallow, they said.

“I still haven’t been contacted by anybody, from management or anything, which I thought was weird,” Butts said. “I’m kind of in shock. I was just so blindsided. It was really upsetting.”

Tim Harrington, founding partner of KRC, said the details of the closure were “contractual” and determined by lawyers and human resource professionals.

“It’s a legal matter, basically, and that’s the way that it goes down,” he said. “We’re taking very good care of (the employees), over and above what was advised. That’s just the way it has to happen.”

Harrington said he found it “hard to believe” that some employees haven’t been contacted yet. He said he and his team met with managers Monday morning at the restaurant, and someone was there all day to speak with employees coming in for their shifts. Employees who weren’t there got phone calls, he said.


“I was there to project kindness,” he said. “We’re not going to let anyone fall through the cracks. No one’s going to not pay their rent because of it.”

Cosmo Nims commuted from Cape Elizabeth for his job as a full-time bartender, and when he arrived Monday found managers standing around in the parking lot.

“None of the owners talked to us,” he said. “There was an HR lady there who gave us a packet. They didn’t send out any official communication whatsoever.”

Nims and some other employees went out for drinks afterward and “we started getting calls from people who showed up for later shifts, and no one was there.”

Employees expressed surprise, especially since the restaurant rolled out a new menu two weeks ago and appeared to be doing well.

“Just a few days ago, we were all sent an email about dressing up for Halloween,” said Kayleigh Shrader, a server. “And we just got our schedules, too, so no, there was absolutely no indication whatsoever.”


Shrader had the day off Monday, but went to the restaurant after getting a call from a co-worker. She showed up a half-hour later, and “everyone was gone” except for the kitchen manager, another kitchen worker and a human resources manager, she said.

“She just handed me a piece of paper telling me how to apply for unemployment,” Shrader said. “And I’m standing there with my 3-year-old on my hip, like ‘Are you kidding me?’ ”

Employees also expressed surprise that they haven’t heard anything from Turin, whom they all seem to like and respect.

Turin said that’s because he was instructed not to contact anyone, and he is not allowed to offer them jobs at his other restaurants. Turin also owns David’s Restaurant in Portland’s Monument Square; David’s Opus 10, a small fine-dining restaurant within David’s Restaurant; and David’s 388, a neighborhood restaurant in South Portland.

“I had a non-compete clause as part of my contract, so I cannot recruit anybody,” he said. “And it was suggested to me firmly that I don’t reach out, which is hard for me.”

He said that in addition to the estimated 45 full-time employees who lost their jobs Monday, another 25-30 seasonal workers were affected.


Turin described the partnership with KRC as “an unusual one” in which he owned the intellectual property, such as his recipes, but none of the physical, not even “a teaspoon in that building.” He was directly responsible for the operation of the restaurant, except for marketing and bookkeeping. Employees were paid by KRC, he said.

Turin says he was just as blindsided as his employees, learning of the closure “only briefly” before the managers.

“It was an amazing run,” he said. “We made a lot of money. The decision to close the restaurant came from my partners, for a reason that I don’t fully understand.”

Turin said David’s KPT exceeded its revenue goals every year and was more profitable this year than any since it opened in 2013. The restaurant’s revenue was $4.5 million this year, he said, compared with $4.3 million last year.

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