Japanese restaurant

Japanese restaurant to open in former Ellsworth Denny’s

A new hibachi-style Japanese restaurant is set to open in a former Denny’s in Ellsworth which closed two years ago.

A sign erected outside the closed High Street restaurant reads ‘Coming Soon Crazy Sumo Japanese Hibachi Steakhouse’.

No one was inside the old Denny’s on Tuesday afternoon, even though some furniture inside had been moved – a possible sign that the space is being renovated. The building has been closed since Denny’s closed in May 2020 at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Dining furniture at a closed Denny’s restaurant in Ellsworth, Maine is seen through a window on April 12, 2022. The restaurant closed in May 2020 at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, but a new Japanese restaurant is expected to open in the space in the near future. Credit: Bill Trotter / BDN

The new restaurant is the latest sign of a resumption of pandemic-related closures on the city’s main commercial strip. A Convenient MD location on High Street, which was under construction when the COVID-19 pandemic hit Maine in the spring of 2020, remained closed after construction was completed and did not open until January 2021. However, other retail spaces along the High Street still remain closed with no signs of life.

Lori Roberts, the city’s code enforcement officer, said the new restorers came to City Hall on Tuesday morning to pick up a building permit application to renovate the interior of the building, but had yet to submitted no information. She said she didn’t have contact details for the restaurant owners.

Rob McKenny, a local real estate agent, said he represented new restaurant owners by helping to arrange a lease with the landlord, which is listed in city property tax records as 75 High Street LLC. of Galena, Maryland.

McKenney did not disclose further information about the new owners.

The building opened as Denny’s Restaurant in 1998 when it was constructed. It was one of two Denny’s restaurants in Maine that closed around the same time in 2020. The company still operates four restaurants in the state.