‘Ghost’ to float on Sebago

By Dawn De Busk
Staff Writer

FLOATING FOOD STAND — Local businessman Jeff Pomeroy constructed a food stand to float on pontoons. His new business, The Black Ghost, is located at the Raymond Public Beach. By the Fourth of July weekend The Black Ghost will be open daily from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. (De Busk photo)

RAYMOND — Water in a glass is customary at a restaurant.

It’s unusual when an eating establishment offers its patrons H2-O underfoot. Or, rather, under pontoon.

But, that’s the idea a local businessman is putting afloat at this popular swimming and boating spot.

It was more than the desire for a new cash flow that prompted Jeff Pomeroy to pursue his concept of the dockside floating food stand. He was inspired to do something to solve a problem in the town he cares about.

Apparently, he is not the only one.

“A stream of people” have pulled into the parking area of the Raymond Public Beach during the week as Pomeroy prepared to move the 30-foot by 30-foot floating kitchen to the end of a newly built 116- foot dock.

“Friends are stopping by and asking to help and helping me. And, it’s not just my close friends, it’s ‘Hi, how are you?’ friends,” he said. Pomeroy paused and shared ‘hello’s’ with a buddy who had just arrived at the site to talk about the project.“

The community support has been unbelievable. Everyone wants to see the beach stay open,” he said.

Following the last summer’s beach closure, the Town of Raymond put out bids for a business to “create a presence” to deter partying and littering. Pomeroy said he was the only person to submit a proposal by the December deadline, and he was awarded the contract.

His eating establishment is called The Black Ghost.

Originally, the food stand would have been placed against the chain link fence, along which Pomeroy has spaced half a dozen bright blue trash cans.

With a little help from the state, the food-stand plans evolved. The Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) regulations would not permit the structure to be that close to the shoreline of Sebago Lake. And, situating it across Route 302 would have caused public safety problems by increasing foot traffic, he said.

So, Pomeroy weighed in the water factor. Why not float the food-stand on Big Sebago? At the beginning of this undertaking, he knew his carpentry and mill work skills would come into play. As the plan shifted, he drew upon what he has learned from constructing his custom- made pontoon boat.

His Raymond-based business, Dove Tail Wood Works, afforded him the shop space to build his new business. On May 10 he started putting in the hours to construct the sections of dock, a dock with a canopy, and a food-stand that is water worthy. This week, he has been “working out the hitches” to get the proper pontoon support for the all-important kitchen from which he will serve fast-food items like hot dogs, burgers and fries.

“We will keep it simple. Hot dogs, burgers, and chicken nuggets for the kids,” he said.

Lobster rolls, crab rolls, fried shrimp as well as steamed lobster will appear on the menu of this water-front restaurant.

He joked he knew a little about steaming lobster after five years as a commercial lobsterman, something he did during the late 1980’s when the construction industry slowed down.

“I ran a hot dog stand when I was 18,” Pomeroy smiled.

“I know how to build them. A lot of people have helped me with the restaurant aspect, too,” he said.

So, friends have not been shy about offering advice about the food-service sector. Employment inquires haven’t been kept quiet either.

“The list of people wanting to work here is a mile long,” he said.

However, this summer, his daughter has agreed to help him dish out the food to fill the holes in summertime bellies. Pomeroy likes working, and said it will be a good and busy experience to operate the food business with family members.

The hours for The Black Ghost will be from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., Wednesday through Sunday. But during the Fourth of July weekend, the business will expand its hours, serving food daily, from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.

The hectic work schedule will be a departure from previous summers spent aboard the family’s three-bedroom pontoon boat on Wyman Lake on the Kennebec River. Soon, hungry customers at the Raymond Public Beach can stroll up the dock for a bite to eat, while boaters can glide up.

Please follow and like us: