By Carol McCracken (Post # 1,063)
“Sangillo’s will never change, regardless of whom moves into the neighborhood,” said Andrea Lee, long-time bartender at Sangillo’s Tavern. Lee was referring to the recently announced plans that businessman David Sussman intends to redevelop 6 properties in this long neglected section of the East End. She looks forward to construction that will be done in the future, because it will increase business. Lee is a many year resident of the Hill – which was once called “Little Italy.”
Stepping from a dark outside into a warm and welcoming, albeit small interior was a delight last night. Long-time and loyal customers waited for Lee’s arrival last night. When she arrived, she recalled that the Tavern has been located on Hampshire Street (near Middle Street) for about 13 years. Originally most of the Tavern’s customers were fishermen largely because of the proximity of the waterfront and docks to the Tavern. But in the last 10 years because of the reduced number of fishermen on the Portland waterfront, fewer and fewer come around.
Jim Day, one of the two remaining fishermen customers said: “It was a great hangout for fishermen before they went to sea and when they came back from fishing. It used to be you could come in here at 6:30 am and drink and no one minded. Now that’s changed.” The other long-time fisherman was Bobby Johnson. “It was a fishermens’ bar,” he said. One first-time customer at the six seat bar was fourth generation potato farmer, Timmy Brown. From Presque Isle, Brown was in the area delivering his high quality organic potatoes to restaurants in the Greater Portland area. One of his best sellers is a blue potato. (email@example.com) 207 540 4007. Brown is typical of the extremely diverse customers making up for the loss of fishermen’s business to the popular Tavern. Annie Kerry, a regular said: “This place has a rich history. More and more people are discovering it.”
Lee said the Tavern formerly was located on India Street, in two different locations. One was part of Miccuci’s Market. It was also a restaurant with 9 booths and a bar with 8 stools. It was open for breakfast and lunch, but not dinner. Debbie Broad was a waitress there. She started when she was 17 and had just been married she said last night at the bar. The current Tavern has no kitchen and so only hot dogs are available. “I wish we did have a kitchen here, but there isn’t enough space for one,” Lee said wistfully.
Lee, 62, used to work 60-70 hour work weeks. But she has cut back her hours to 16 a week. “I suppose I’ll work here until I just can’t work anymore,” she said. Much to the relief of her loyal customers.
Kathleen Sangillo is the manager of the Tavern founded by her late father, Adam.