Lily Bistro, Rockland
Chef Lynette Mosher and chef Robert Krajewski, sweethearts since Johnson and Wales, didn’t plan on opening their own restaurant in 2008. But when a property became available in downtown Rockland (location, location, location), Krajewski left his gig at Natalie’s restaurant in Camden and the highly credentialed pair jumped in with all four feet.
Today, Krajewski handles the liquid refreshments and sourdough bread baking, and Mosher mans the restaurant’s small, creative kitchen. In a town that takes its art seriously—the Farnsworth and the Strand are down the street—local foodies have voted with their forks: Lily Bistro is a reliable source of edible art.
First or early food memory:
Eating artichokes with my mother. My dad lived in Vacaville, California, when I was a kid and each summer she would drive me down to see him, and we would stop at a roadside stand and pick up artichokes. She would steam them and serve them with mayo.
Early cooking experience:
I started cooking for my mom and me when I was about 10. She was always working, so I started cooking.
Family influences on your style:
My mother, although she is a terrible cook, is a great eater. I lived in Reno and Tahoe as a kid, and we ate out all the time.
Where you studied/apprenticed:
Johnson and Wales University; I graduated in ’99.
Pivotal career move:
Moving to Rhode Island to go to school.
Places that influenced you as a chef:
Maison Trois Gros in Roanne, France, when my husband and I got married. Also, the marketplace there.
Things that keep you growing professionally:
Competition, the product in Maine, and lately, the economy.
Other professionals you admire most:
Krista Kern Dejarlais, Anna Sortun, Gordon Hamersly—all dedicated chefs, in it for the cooking, not “glamour” chefs looking for press and fame.
Least favorite part of your job:
Letting someone go. We are a small place; this is our family.
Ways you’ve become smarter businesswise over the years:
[I’ve learned to] give the customer what they want. It isn’t about my ego; take care of the guest.
Favorite night of the week at your restaurant:
Mondays. It’s the night my husband and I work together.
What you would want your last meal to be:
My husband’s sourdough with butter, sprinkled with sea salt.
The last time you really impressed yourself in the kitchen:
I never think about that. We just go in and get it done every day.
Your new favorite ingredient:
Lately, hearts of palm, creamy texture.
Longtime favorite ingredient:
Memory of a great meal you had in Maine:
Thanksgiving at our place, a “potluck of strays” that we do every year for people who are working or have no place to go. We start early, end late, and everyone brings a side dish. Bob and I do the turkey. It is community, and it is the best way
Pet peeve when visiting other restaurants:
Cold butter at the table; it ruins the bread.
Things you’d like to learn or study:
More French. My pronunciation is terrible.
What a perfect day off looks like:
At home with my son and husband, weeding and doing yard work.
Something about you people would find surprising:
I have a soft spot for most rap. I am, after all, a white girl from Oregon.
Favorite item on the menu:
“Our roasted beet salad with apple walnut puree, candied walnuts, and goat cheese. I also love our “porkganza” sandwich. You can’t make it at home, and it’s full of porky goodness.”
421 Main Street • Rockland
Lunch: Monday–Friday 11 am–2 pm
Dinner: Daily 5 pm–close
Pate, charcuterie, cured meats, pastas, bread.
4.5 stars in The Portland Press Herald; featured in The Boston Globe in June 2010.
Off-street parking is available in lots behind the restaurant and in front of the post office.
Sample menu item:
Porkganza: cider-braised pork belly, beer-basted roast pork, mead-glazed ham, kim chi, sirach, and aioli, with garlic frites. $12
From the south: Take I-295 north toward Falmouth.
Take Exit 28 toward Route 1 Brunswick/Bath. Stay straight onto Route 1/Blue Star Memorial Highway. Take a slight left onto Mill Street. Turn left onto Main Street/Route 1.
From the north: Take I-395 west/Route 202 west. Merge onto US-202 west via Exit 2 toward Hampden. Turn left onto Route 202/Western Avenue. Turn right onto Main Road/Route 1A. Make slight right onto Route 1 west. Make slight right onto Rankin Street/Route 1 south. Turn left onto School Street. Turn left onto Route 1 north/Main Street.