Mark Suarez, the owner of Miss Wiscasset Diner never planned to move to Wiscasset. A pipe fitter from Pensacola, Florida Mark was working for a company that sent him out to sub-contract around the country. He was on a job in Boston when he was offered a 6 month gig in East Boothbay working for Washburn and Dougherty. He decided to take it because it was so close. Now the 6 months has turned into 7 ½ years and a restaurant.
A few things happened. First, he met his wife, Kelley, who also worked at Washburn and Dougherty. She’s a Mainer and grew up in Rockland. Then his father passed away and his mother was injured shortly after. This meant it was much harder for her to take care of herself and her granddaughter, Mark’s niece, Courtney. Mark needed to step in and help out so he decided to move his mother and niece to Maine where he could care for them better. When his niece developed more severe medical problems Mark knew he needed to change his career so he could be around more to help. In 2014 he took over the running of the Light House restaurant, then in November of that year he moved locations to Miss Wiscasset.
Mr. Suarez says Wiscasset has been a good place for his family. He says Mainers are good people, honest, and nice. For instance, when Judis Country Store closed Judi gave Mark most of her kitchen equipment. Mark says the area is safe and when his niece shops by herself in nearby towns he doesn’t have to worry about her. He says Courtney has really come out of her shell helping out at the restaurant. “She’s learned to express herself, learned new things and has more freedom.” You may not have met her yet, but you’ve seen her artwork if you’ve ever eaten at Miss Wiscasset. Courtney draws all of the framed cartoons on the wall. She’s even had customers request her drawings and send her money for them.
Mr. Saurez plans to stay in Wiscasset. He’s looked at businesses down in Boothbay, but they can’t beat the amount of traffic that passes by his restaurant on Route 1 each day. He gets a lot of business from people driving past and stopping in to eat and enjoy the air conditioning. He has looked at possibly moving to a larger location but for now he’s staying put. One change he is planning on is getting his liquor license so he can serve Bloody Marys with breakfast. He’s also going to try opening some nights this next winter during Gardens Aglow to catch some of the traffic for that popular event.
Since Mark has taken over the diner business has significantly increased. When asked the key to his success he said “We keep a clean restaurant and serve food made from quality ingredients.” If you haven’t eaten at Miss Wiscasset lately, Mark invites you to come in and try their cooking at 762 Bath Road (Route 1), in Wiscasset.
This story part of series by Friends of Wiscasset to highlight local businesses. Visit the Friends of Wiscasset’s facebook page for more information on local businesses. This article was written by Saundra Neperud. Other articles in this series include: