FaithWorld

Church-turned-restaurant in Maine leaves diners in a state of Grace

February 29, 2012

(Diners eat at Grace Restaurant, housed in a church built in the 1850's, in Portland, Maine February 11, 2012. REUTERS/Brian Snyder )

A passerby seeing the imposing church building with its massive, red doors bearing the word “Grace” and a mysterious triangular logo could be forgiven for thinking they had stumbled upon some kind of new-age congregation.

In a way that’s true, for Grace – the restaurant, housed in a former United Methodist church in downtown Portland, Maine – is now a temple of high-end dining. The two-year-old venture is, visually at least, the crown jewel of the vibrant dining scene in Maine’s largest city.

Stepping into Grace, patrons are met by soaring ceilings, 27 original stained-glass windows, and painstakingly restored woodwork inside a landmark building.

(Liquor bottles are lined up under s a stained glass window at Grace Restaurant, housed in a church built in the 1850's, in Portland, Maine February 11, 2012. REUTERS/Brian Snyder)

The brick-and-brownstone church was last used for services in 2006, but abandoned to pigeons and vagrants because of a waning congregation and the high cost of upkeep for the 1856 Gothic Revival structure.

Entrepreneur Anne Verrill and her then husband Peter bought the property in 2007 for $675,000, saving the church from likely demolition, and set about a top-to-toe, $2 million renovation.

via CORRECTED-Maine restaurant leaves diners in state of Grace | Reuters.

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