Why Foodies Are Flocking To This Luxe Maine Inn
Chef Dustin Shackley’s new Electric Daisy restaurant at the historic Hartstone Inn is drawing rave reviews.
The historic Hartstone Inn has long been one of Camden, Maine’s beloved landmarks. Last year Oneil Khosa, a private equity fund manager, banker, and hospitality entrepreneur from Palm Beach took over the property to add to his Enthusiast Hotel Collection portfolio—which also includes the beautiful Brewery Gulch Inn in Mendocino, California, and the alluring Cap Cove in St. Lucia—launching the next chapter of this storied property.
While renovations are ongoing, Khosa has already launched a new restaurant at the Hartstone, called Electric Daisy, helmed by talented young chef Dustin Shackley, which has quickly become a dining destination for foodies visiting Maine’s magnificent Midcoast.
Camden is one of Midcoast Maine’s most picturesque towns, known for its hotels, boutiques and restaurants. The Hartstone Inn already had already scored AAA’s 4 Diamond Award of excellence for lodging and dining, and Electric Daisy along with the Hartstone’s refresh is bringing in even more accolades as an “an elegant and sophisticated retreat and culinary destination.”
Built in 1835, in addition to Electric Daisy, which also has a cozy bar, the Hartstone is open year ’round and has on-site spa amenities and 22 charming romantic rooms and suites—the larger ones have working gas fireplaces—spread across three adjacent historic buildings. The Inn’s ethos is described as “European hospitality with a coastal twist.”
At Electric Daisy, Chef Shackley’s mission is to create “world-class cuisine prepared with the freshest New England ingredients,” served alongside an “impressive and diverse” list of fine wines. The menu focuses on both “Land” and “Sea”, with tasty options which Chef frequently changes to reflect the bounty of each season.
“Electric Daisy” is a nickname for a Szechuan pepper, Chef Shackley’s favorite edible flower, indicating that the restaurant’s cuisine will be anything but bland. He works with local farms, foragers and fishermen to “ensure that each dish bursts with freshness and vitality,” with a focus on organically-grown produce and seafood sourced from the local Penobscot Bay.
Or as the Hartstone puts it, “our culinary team has broken the rules to create a menu that remains true to our New England roots while embracing modern flavors and techniques.” Cocktails are also created seasonally to complement the vibe from the kitchen, including an autumnal take on the classic Old Fashioned, courtesy of head mixologist Jeffrey Harris, formerly of Camden’s Salt Wharf.
The Hartsone has received Wine Spectator’s “Award of Excellence” for over 15 years, and Electric Daisy proudly carries on the tradition. The Inn is also well known for its (included) buffet-style breakfast, often described as decadent, also courtesy of Chef Shackley and his team.
Chef Shockley, who grew up in Maine, has worked for numerous highly-regarded restaurants, and was part of team that launched Restaurant 1833 in Monterey, California, a semi-finalist for Best New Restaurant from the James Beard Foundation. His philosophy is to “approach each ingredient mindfully, so the details culminate in a pursuit of perfection.”
Electric Daisy seats 35 guests in total, between the bar (home to four barstools and banquet seating for six) and two cozy parlors spread across the interior of the inn’s main building, originally a sea captain’s mansion. A garden area and outside terrace are available in warmer months as well.
The Hartstone also offers numerous “Epicurean Experiences” extending the excellence of its cuisine, designed to introduce guests to the likes of local wineries, lobstermen, and maple syrup farms, depending on the season. You can also book a sail on a historic sailing yacht or go on a hike in nearby Camden Hills State Park—but just be sure you’re back in time for dinner.