The new owners of the Squire Tarbox Inn on Westport Island say they will be keeping the inn’s restaurant open, but are not sure if it will be ready for the upcoming tourist season.

“I think the opportunity is here for a really good farm-to-table restaurant,” said Lisa Dalton, a designer and contractor from Houston who just bought the inn with one of her clients, Michelle Adams. “That’s what we want.”

Dalton and Adams purchased the 12-acre property, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, from Veronica and Mario DePietro for $658,500. It includes frontage on Squam Creek and a small working farm with chickens and vegetable gardens. Food & Wine magazine has named the Squire Tarbox dining room the coziest restaurant in Maine, calling it “as much of a getaway as they come.”

The DePietros had owned the inn, which dates from 1763 and 1820, for 16 years.

Dalton said she and Adams are already looking for a new chef (Mario DePietro did the cooking when he and his wife owned it), and whether or not they find one will largely determine if they open this summer.

“We don’t want just anybody,” she said. “We want it to be the right person.”

If she’s unable to find a chef for the approaching season, Dalton said she may ask DePietro, who is staying in the area, to cook dinner a couple of nights a week, or continue his “pizza nights,” which he had been offering every Monday.

“We may do a Mexican night because we’re from Texas,” Dalton said, suggesting that smoked fajitas and fish tacos could be on the menu.

Dalton and Adams both live in Houston, but Dalton and her husband own a home in Boothbay, as well as several vacation rentals in the area. She found the Squire Tarbox Inn while searching online for another property to buy.

Dalton’s son and his girlfriend will move to Maine for a year to work on design updates to the inn, including updating all the bathrooms.

Dalton said she wants to turn the inn into a wedding venue because “I’ve got a great old barn on the property.” She hopes to start hosting weddings regularly in 2019.

The interior of the inn should be ready for guests by June 1, she said.

Meredith Goad can be contacted at 791-6332 or at:

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