Just off the coast of Portland, Maine, in the Casco Bay lies Great Diamond Island, the home of Crown Jewel, a unique dining hotspot where you are sure to make new friends and memories while you delight in the chef’s creative twists on seafood standards and truly smashing cocktails. A 20-minute ferry or water taxi ride will get you there, but you’ll definitely need a reservation. This gem is open Memorial Day to Columbus Day and offers an intimate dining setting, with 35 seats, in what was long-ago a Blacksmith’s shop.
Crown Jewel’s creator and owner, Alex Wight, has had a longstanding passion for creating memorable dining experiences; she has made this her life’s work. As we discuss, after studying at the Institute for Culinary Education, Alex received hands-on training in the kitchens of some of the most renowned restaurants in New York and San Sebastian, Spain. Hardwired for entrepreneurship, she knew early on that she wanted to bring her creative visions to life with her own restaurant.
As with many entrepreneurial journeys, getting to and succeeding on Great Diamond Island has not been easy. Alex learned to be a resilient and creative problem solver from her mom. Her unflappable demeanor continues to serve her well. We discuss the challenges of owning and operating a seasonal restaurant on an island with a limited water supply, making friends with neighbors, and launching a “boatside” service during the pandemic. We get Alex’s impressions on how the restaurant business has evolved during her career with respect to diversity and equity. Finally, Alex shares her thoughts on labor shortages and environmental sustainability in the industry.
Episode Links and Resources
These Maine restaurants are making the extra effort for the environment, Tim Cebula, Portland Press Herald, June 11, 2023.
The 18 Essential Maine Restaurants, Kate McCarty, Eater.com, July 21, 2022.
Saved From the Flames, Ready for Love, Sandy Keenan, The New York Times, August 27, 2014
Fabulous Femmes at Flanagan’s Table, Karen Watterson, The Maine Mag, November 2016.
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