Popular Hancock County Restaurant May Shut Down For Lunch Amid Housing Shortage

 Popular Hancock County Restaurant May Shut Down For Lunch Amid Housing Shortage

Islesford Dock Restaurant and Gallery on Little Cranberry Island may need to stop serving lunch in the summer if it’s unable to secure housing for at least eight of the 40 workers it employs.

According to Michael Boland, co-owner, should the Hancock County restaurant, which is popularly known as The Dock, halt its lunch service, it could hurt other area businesses on the 200-acre island.

The Dock’s general manager asked the public via Facebook to help with some housing leads. It's the first time that a lack of housing will hinder the restaurant from being able to provide service. However, the area has experienced shortages before.

For example, the seasonal tourist industry for Jackson Laboratory and Bar Harbor often has trouble finding reasonable-priced housing. Its new chief operating officer said the organization’s biggest challenge is finding workers housing.

Acadia National Park is hoping to find a private developer and partner with them to develop housing to address the shortage.

Boland said most businesses are feeling the impact of the shortage in some way or another.

The Dock’s General Manager Georgia Howland said staff would not be cut because the customers would still be there. The restaurant can seat 100 customers at any given time, serving upwards of 500 customers four days a week in its four-month season.

Howland said eight workers need places to live (although two of them may already have a place secured). Boland said the restaurant has 40 full and part-time workers employed and will open from May 31 to Oct. 13.

The Dock’s housing shortage is just one issue the restaurant is facing.

Howland said most of its workers were full-time island residents or summer families with teens who wanted to make extra money. There are just 11 workers right now that fall into the category. She said the kids are not working as they used to, which means bringing in workers from other locations.

And, Howland said, new people are not coming to the area because of the housing shortage, which is leading to the problem the restaurant is facing today.