Carriage House Cafe
With its worn wooden siding, and non-pretentious facade, the fine dining restaurant Carriage House Cafe of Livermore has re-opened after series of challenges, including a fire in 2012. Like a Phoenix rising from the ashes, the new restaurant has been reborn with a flair of class and the comfort of country life. The newly remodeled dining rooms boast the elegance of fine dining with the casual relaxing ambiance of the pond-side community. The two dining rooms accommodate parties of any size while maintaining the serene peaceful atmosphere, and on fair weather days the patio offers a beautiful view of Brettun’s Pond and Bear Mountain while seated among the beautiful and colorful flower gardens. On many of the warm, summer weekend nights, random fireworks shows are displayed by the lakeside neighbors. From the moment you set foot through the door, prepare to be pampered by the welcoming waitstaff. Once you’ve relaxed into your seat, the selection of fine wines and spirits offer the perfect compliment to your experience. Chef and owner Michael Weaver uses the concept of farm fresh to plate, creating a menu which is updated daily and inspired by the meats and produce that are available from local farms. The selection changes with the seasons providing fresh inspiration with every plate. Using the freshest local or organic ingredients, the quality and freshness of the food is unmatched. The menu selections may include varieties of fresh seafood, lamb, duck, homemade pastas and vegetarian dishes. All dishes are handcrafted in the Carriage House kitchen, from gluten free pastas, fresh baked breads and salad dressings to fresh sauces and luxurious desserts. Whichever items you choose, you are sure to be amazed by the colorful presentation and astounded by the flavors creating a culinary harmony for your taste buds, from the appetizer course through the decadent homemade desserts. With Chef Weaver’s strong community values he supports local farms and suppliers such as Stevnsons Farmstand, White Birch Farms, Shaky Barn Farms and Tubby’s Own Ice Cream to name a few. All the local vendors are listed on the Carriage House web site where they also include guests comments, images of the menu dishes and the daily menu. Chef Weaver comments: Ã¢??The only way to keep a community strong is through continued support from the community members; I like to keep money in the community by utilizing the suppliers that are right in my back yard. It provides them with a revenue stream and gives me the freshest quality products to create from.Ã¢?? This is much appreciated concept, with our small communities becoming more self reliant.The Carriage House Cafe, with its fresh new look is charging forward with great expectations for the future of the restaurant and the community. With the spacious patio, plans are already underway to host community block parties, with talk of fundraisers for local organizations like the local fire departments and the Make-A-Wish foundation of Maine. Chef Weaver is hoping to become more involved with local organizations, like the Chamber of Commerce, to offer event and meeting space both indoors and out. The second floor of the restaurant houses the banquet room with space for functions of all sizes which is undergoing renovations to update the existing elegance. As the restaurant grows, efforts are being coordinated to include a sophisticated variety of live entertainment from dinner theater performances to live jazz and blues. Tapping into the many talents of the area and its educational departments, there are plans to bring in local artists, musicians, and community groups for special performances, murder mystery dinners and more.Taking the opportunity to do a soft opening during the months of June and July, the Carriage House Cafe has received overwhelming support from guests of the past along with numerous visitors to the area. In these brief two months they were able to obtain great constructive feedback from the guests to improve on what they described as Ã¢??a remarkable dinner and relaxing experienceÃ¢??. As they move forward, Chef Weaver explains the vision of what the Carriage House Cafe can be, and that the guests and the community are the ones that will make the vision a reality. His plans are moving forward to continue developing the casual fine dining and farm fresh menu while shaping the business to meet the needs and wants of its guests.Built from the ruins of a carriage house that stood for over 200 years and is believed to have once been part of the underground railroad, the Carriage House first opened its doors in 2003. With experiences from the sea to the mountains, Chef Weaver had the opportunity to be part of the first Seeds of Peace program with children from war burdened countries who came to Maine to experience peace and caring across borders. As he honed his culinary expertise at places like the Eastland Hotel, Goldstreet Restaurant, Portland Conference Center, and many others over the years; Chef Weaver dreamed of opening his own restaurant. In the recovery of a house fire he rebuilt his home with the restaurant of his dreams attached. The beginnings were pure bliss as the support of the local community the reputation of good food and peaceful atmosphere quickly grew. For several years the restaurant flourished with an expanding menu, the addition of a banquet room and garden patio. The Carriage House became the place for weddings, fundraisers, community dinners and more. The restaurant’s success afforded opportunities to become involved with programs like Ã¢??Sign-O-RamaÃ¢??, a program for adults with hearing loss founded by the Lutheran Church. The Carriage House also teamed up with the Make-A-Wish foundation for their annual motorcycle ride-in hosting the banquet for the hungry riders. After a stretch of good fortune and happy times, Chef Weaver went through an emotional battle with cancer, and in the process he lost his passion for the restaurant. In 2010 he made up his mind to move on and took a job as executive chef at the Bear Lodge in Wyoming and turned the Carriage House over to the first willing applicant. As he enjoyed his new experiences in Wyoming he encountered new techniques and recipes in which he inserted his own culinary flare. After a year in Wyoming he began to miss his home of Maine and returned to work as the chef for the Brookline Inn. While he was away, the Carriage House changed directions altogether, and fell from its spot of excellence. Chef Weaver finished his commitments to the Brookline Inn and returned to Livermore with a renewed passion. It was then that his home sustained another fire and throughout 2012 he spent his time cleaning and rebuilding with an eye on his vision of renewing the Carriage House Cafe so that is better than before and utilized his new found experiences. In June of 2013 the Carriage House emerged like a Pheonix from the ashes and is soaring high with its colorful new elegance. Once again the passion that had been lost was renewed with the excitement of creating wonderful culinary delights exploding with unique bold flavors and artistic presentation like a painters canvas. Every creation is inspired by Ã¢??Farm to PlateÃ¢?? and provides a fresh healthy delight for guest while supporting the local community.