Blue Heron Cafe to Close



The Blue Heron Cafe at 236 Cannon St. will be changing hands.

Owner Paul Hanley, in a FaceBook post Aug. 14, wrote:

Dear Friends and Family,

I want to bypass the rumor-mill so that you can hear it directly from me. After 20 years of building friendships and memories, Blue Heron Cafe will be closing in late October.

In late June, I received an offer to purchase my building and business – my beloved Blue Heron Café. It was the offer I had hoped would come one day. I had wished for it to happen five years from now, but it came this year and I accepted. The offer was a solid, generous one that I could not refuse.

To all my current and former staff: Thank you for making my life dream, of owning my own restaurant, come true. You are the best of the best.

To my kitchen staff and, especially Chef Eugene Bethel: I’d be nothing without your talent and pure dedication. You’re as close to my heart as family.

To our patrons, guests, friends, and neighbors: Thank you for allowing us into your lives. We’ve celebrated birthdays, anniversaries, engagements, weddings, business meetings, and so many other fun times and memories. I’ve watched your toddlers grow up and graduate. We’ve talked food, business, politics, cars, boats, airplanes, grandchildren, fishing and pets – all while enjoying the culinary art of casual fine dining. I am so grateful for your two decades of loyal support.

We will still be here for another few months. So come on over, say hi, and get a last round of our famous Sweetbreads, Oyster Fritters, Filet Mignon, Lamb Chops, Crab Cakes, Soft Shells, Double Duck, and all the rest.



Letters to Editor

  1. Kirkpatrick says

    Wonderful neighbor, great food! We will miss Paul, Eugene, and all the great staff!

  2. Sherwin and Peggy Markman says

    Peggy and I will surely miss you, dear Paul. We have enjoyed ourselves each and every time we dined at your marvelous restaurant–always and without fail. So sad, as someone once said (I can’t quite remember who). Good luck and god speed! We will surely miss you. Sherwin and Peggy Markman

  3. Susan De Simone says

    Oh how we and our family will miss you!

    Vince and Susan De Simone

  4. Rich Bolton says

    Is it a mystery as to who the new owners of the building are.. I hate to see all these businesses closing up in Chestertown without renewing them with new business. We have lived here a little over a year and I have compiled a very lengthy list of businesses that have closed.. I hope this isn’t a sign of things to come..

    • Hey, Rich! I can appreciate that a lot of the closures look negative, but I would challenge all of us to take a look at the positives. Several of the transitions over the last couple of years have been for retirement or exchange of ownership. In almost every space, an existing business has expanded or a new business come to fruition. In the last year/year and a half we’ve welcomed new businesses including Skippy’s, Figg’s Ordinary, Tiny Tots, Wye Upcycle, Bee Crafty, Welcome Home, The Seed House, Eastern Interiors, She-She on High (formerly Poor Richards; business sold), CREATE, Just Right Treats…and that’s just downtown…we’ve also added Smoke, Rattle, and Roll, KRM/Dixon growth, and countless businesses throughout the county. We’ve welcomed the Kent County Arts Council to their new home across the street from the post office, and we’ve watched Peter Newlan from Chesapeake Architects redeveloping a building on Park Row.

      For all of our gains, we’ve a couple of businesses to retirement, sale, or business model…but primarily retirement (Cornucopia) and sale (Poor Richard’s). Our business district is not only strong – it is thriving, and growing, and transforming to meet the retail, arts & entertainment needs of our future. Through the generous gift, entrepreneurs have access to very low interest loans through Open For Business. This program is designed to stimulate and grow businesses downtown. The Arts & Entertainment District designation is focusing on bringing arts to town which enhances not only our culture but also economic growth. And through the Main Street program we’re working to actively target and attract businesses here in community. Add in the fiber and the marina – and – well – Kent County is a great place to do business.

      I look forward to seeing you in town!
      Jenn Baker
      Chester River Wine & Cheese Co. | Welcome Home

  5. Deirdre LaMotte says

    Paul, thank you for taking the Ironstone Café and bringing us The Blue Heron! Really, the best dining in Town. Enjoy time with your dog and driving that amazing car!

  6. Stokes Tomlin says

    Thanks! Twenty years of good cheer!

  7. Any reason why my earlier written letter on the closing of the Blue Heron but the overall lack of equal quality restaurants in Chestertown doesn’t exist; can’t find my letter or such responses to it. thanks, David

    • David, you entered in a story about the Chestertown Marina for some reason. Here it is:

      What this town most needs in light of the college soon to take over the building where the excellent restaurant – really the best one in Chestertown the Blue Heron now serves such excellent food. In all frankness there is not a comparable restaurant in town although Luisa’s in closest of local malls is certainly an excellent one but not near enough for boaters in particular which is what the marina will lack – an excellent restaurant which the Fish Whistle is not. We live on the creek where it intersects with Chester river and it most sad when so few boats utilize this marina and harbor as most want food of a better quality than will be lacking once the Blue Heron closes. Why has the town not pursued better and closer restaurants with the Fish Whistle having the monopoly on the pier area? thank you

  8. Frederick Harmon says

    Thanks Paul and staff. Excellent food, impeccable service and, always, a warm welcome from the owner. Good luck to you all. Fred & Nancy Harmon

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