The terrace at Wander at LongWoods, a farm-to-table restaurant that opened in Cumberland this summer. Contributed / Buoy Media

When chef Mike Allen sold everything he owned and moved across the country to California this past year, he didn’t expect to turn around and come home right away. Only a week into living in California, however, he received a call from Joe Atwood.

“He asked me if I wanted to come back to Maine to open a restaurant,” Allen said.

He couldn’t pass up the opportunity to partner with Atwood on Wander, the new farm-to-table restaurant that opened this summer on the 55-acre LongWoods Preserve in Cumberland. Its neighbors are nature trails, gardens, fields, woods and a farm and the pair wanted to make sure the restaurant honored its location.

Wander is located on the 55-acre LongWoods Preserve. Contributed / Buoy Media

Allen has served, cooked and bartended at dozens of restaurants throughout Maine, starting at age 14. He got most of his early experience at the former Solo Bistro in Bath.

“I love the ability to bring people together and enjoy healthy food,” he said.

Atwood is a former partner and chief operating officer of Maine Food Group.


Building the restaurant centered around the outdoors, including a terrace for outside dining, was difficult to start, Allen said, but it won’t be hard to continue.

“There’s good cause for the name Wander,” Atwood said. “It’s a great place to let your kids explore the majesty of nature with amazing food, drink and live music.”

Wander’s menu works with the land, he said, and he hopes to educate people on sustainability. Dishes are created based on the seasons, and he tries to source food only from within 50 miles, with much of its produce coming from its own gardens. The best canned tomatoes from Italy, though, are not off the table.

Dishes range from fresh-caught halibut to a fan-favorite house burger, with Allen’s grandmother’s Gooey Butter Cake for dessert.

“It’s a big team effort. We have very talented chefs,” Allen said. “I like to have the whole team have ideas and input.”

This fall, two farmers will join the Wander team to start production on the center garden, and chickens from Ambarona Farm will begin to supply the restaurant with eggs. The restaurant also has plans to host weddings and events.

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