Maine Maritime Academy's training ship looms behind the former Captain's Catch in Castine. The seafood shack had operated in the town-owned building on Castine's waterfront since 2018. The town is looking for a new food vendor to move in. Credit: Ethan Genter / BDN

The exit of a popular seafood shack operator on Castine’s waterfront has the town on the hunt for someone new to bring fresh eats to the tiny Hancock County town.

Captain’s Catch had been slinging traditional Down East fare since 2018 in the small, municipally-owned food stand on the Castine town dock. But the restaurant closed earlier this year, leaving the town looking for someone new to sell food along the sheltered harbor next summer.

Officials put out a request for proposals for a new vendor last week. The restaurant is on the water and gets heavy traffic in the summer from residents, tourists and mariners sailing into town. According to the RFP, the town wants someone that can provide “fresh food, fresh ideas and fun.”

Captain’s Catch served lobster rolls, fried seafood plates, burgers, hot dogs, ice cream and other Maine summer standards. Before that, Dudley’s Refresher, which was run by the owners of the popular Sargentville Mexican restaurant El El Frijoles, dished out a more varied menu and farm-to-table items that changed with the season.

“We’re not really beholden to any single sort of cuisine,” said Shawn Blodgett, the Castine town manager. “But we are looking for a quality vendor.”

The 331-square-foot building was erected in 2016 with the help of a local nonprofit. The restaurant runs through a takeout window, and there is no indoor seating. People often eat at the dock’s picnic tables and take in the scenic harbor.

The opportunity for a new restaurant comes as Castine has seen other iconic properties get some new blood.

Former New York City restaurateur Max Katzenberg reopened Dennett’s Wharf just down from the former Captain’s Catch last summer. Another New Yorker couple also moved to Castine in 2022 to take over the Pentagoet Inn, an 1800s hotel, restaurant and pub.

Rent for the waterfront food stand will be $4,000 for the 2023 season, and proposals are due to the town by Valentine’s Day.

Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated the rent for Captain’s Catch.