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News Feature

Deer Isle
Originally published in Island Ad-Vantages, February 20, 2014
The “Digger” to open its door once again
Aiming to serve on Mother's Day

The Clamdigger Restaurant on Deer Isle, Maine

Maggie’s Clamdigger Restaurant, in Deer Isle, Maine, will reopen in May, 2014 under the direction of Brian Spofford. “It’s part of keeping the family legacy alive,” he said.

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by Anne Berleant

An Island tradition is returning this spring, when Brian Spofford re-opens Maggie’s Clamdigger Restaurant.

“It’s part of keeping the family legacy going,” son Spofford said in a telephone call from Delaware, where he’s wrapping up a decades-long career in commercial kitchen equipment.

The “Digger,” as the eatery is known on the Island, grew out of the Mid Island convenience store opened in 1979 by Bernie and Maggie Spofford. Three years later they added a takeout window and a couple of tables; by the time the restaurant closed in 2009, it seated 130 diners.

Brian Spofford re-opened The Digger for the 2011 season, taking a leave of absence from his job, but this time he’s making a permanent move back to the Island.

“I never realized how much I missed it until I was gone for 25 years,” Spofford said. “It’s time—if I don’t do this now, it’s not going to happen.”

His plan is to streamline the operation by closing off the back room. Two dining rooms will seat 65 people, with a full bar and a menu of The Digger’s usual fare: “the same old prime rib we’re known for,” Spofford said.

He wants the Clamdigger to focus on affordable meals for Island residents.

“We’re for the locals. That’s who [Bernie] built this place for.”

Bernie Spofford will still have a hand in the operation, his son said. “He’s going to be involved in it, [but] I’ll be doing most of the work.”

Maggie’s Clamdigger Restaurant will open the second week of May, in time for Mother’s Day.

When asked to weigh in on his son’s bid to keep a family tradition alive, Bernie smiled. “I’m very happy,” he said.