Millinocket, Maine -- August 18, 2020 -- Penobscot Avenue in Millinocket. The three neighboring towns of Millinocket, East Millinocket and Medway had a COVID-19 outbreak after a wedding reception took place in the area on Aug. 7.
By: Katie Smith

If you’ve been to Millinockete, chances are you’ve heard rave reviews about the Appalachian Trail Cafe. New owner Leah Macolm was a waitress at the Appalachian Trail Cafe for many years before she took ownership of the popular spot located at 210 Penobscot Ave.  “I opened the cafe on July 1 of this year after taking over from the previous two ownerships where I had been a waitress for several years in the summer months,” said Macolm. 

It had been a dream of hers for a long time. To make it come true, Malcolm decided to leave her six-year-long teaching career that she loved in order to pursue her new goal of owning the cafe. “I needed to do it in order to move forward with the dream of opening the cafe back up. I’ve grown to love it since I’ve been working there.”

However, after another teaching position opened up, Malcolm decided to take it on along with the responsibilities of owning the cafe. “Needless to say, I am now a preschool teacher, a mother of two young boys AND the owner of the Appalachian Trail Cafe!” she says.

The cafe offers soothing, warm dishes like chili fries, Corn Chowder, Buffalo Chicken Mac N Cheese, and always has delicious daily specials. One peek at the pictures on the Facebook page and your mouth will water. 

Feel free to call in a takeout order for those nights you want to stay in– there’s something for the entire family here and the locals will agree. It’s become quite the gathering spot, according to Malcolm.

The cafe has been a staple of the Millinocket region for years with the building being one of the oldest on Penobscot Ave. of its kind. “The building has been a functional restaurant for over 80 years in itself,” says Malcolm.

Though it’s changed hands many times over the years, and has seen lots of different menus, workers, and atmospheres, Malcolm says, “One of the things that makes the Appalachian Trail Cafe truly unique is the ceiling which holds the signatures of thru-hikers who have completed the trail over the years. It’s a fun time capsule that has out-of-town patrons returning every year to show off the signature of their trail name.”

While it’s a great place for hikers and out-of-towners, Malcolm says something that really makes the cafe stand out is the amazing customers who come and hang out there regularly– even if they aren’t hikers.

 “While paying homage to the beautiful lands we, as residents, have been surrounded by and the way in which people utilize those natural resources. The support of the local community has truly been amazing. It seems that a lot of locals have fond memories of the cafe and want to see the business flourish,” says Malcolm.

Malcolm is thrilled to be the new owner of the cafe and her dream for the future is to keep Millinocket, and the hikers who pass through to fill their bellies, proud. “My hope is that the cafe continues to thrive under our ownership, supports the hiking community and  the outdoorsy,  and ensures the cafe remains a staple of the downtown Millinocket community.”

See this Section as it appeared in print here