Why is the Dry Dock Restaurant in Portland, Maine still empty?

Dry Dock restaurant in Portland's Old Port closed for renovations in 2016… and hasn't opened since.

Trying to figure out why a prime piece of real estate in the heart of Portland's Old Port is still closed is like solving a mystery. It all started with a little note from Portland food map in May 2016,

A sign in the door indicates that the restaurant will “reopen under new management and after renovations.”

Dry Dock has been a staple of Portland's Old Port restaurant scene since 1983. It was one of the first places I visited when I arrived in Maine (and also the first place my car was towed).

In 2018, the new owner Stephen Goodrich Dry Dock wanted to expand and remodel the decades-old building. Portland Press Herald noted that they needed to slow down the major expansion. Due to concerns from mariners and stakeholders, the city council issued a building moratorium in 2018. The moratorium forced Stephen, who bought the restaurant in April 2016, to seek a more modest plan.

The new proposal would only include a small addition to the building at 84 Commercial Street, which would allow the restaurant to move the kitchen from a leaky basement. It would also include remodeling the rear decks, but no expansion.

Since then, it's been incredibly difficult to find information about what's happening. Is Dry Dock coming back? Are there new owners? What's going on? I was excited when I saw Portland's Old Port's post about the upcoming HOOTERS!

Unfortunately, this was posted on 4/1/24, April 1st. You caught me, Portland. But seriously, what's happening with Dry Dock?

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