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Updated: February 20, 2024

Tiny midcoast dining ‘club’ makes USA Today's go-to restaurant list for 2024

Restaurant view Courtesy / Black Goat Test Kitchen + Supperclub The Black Goat Test Kitchen + Supperclub in Warren is among 47 venues nationwide on USA Today’s latest list of “Restaurants of the Year.”

The Black Goat Test Kitchen + Supperclub, a tiny dining venue in the Knox County town of Warren that opened only six months ago, has made USA Today’s list of 47 “Restaurants of the Year” to visit in 2024.

Owned and operated by Derek Ronspies and Cat Biggar, the midcoast eatery offers brunch and suppers around a communal table that seats up to 12. Joining a growing number of Maine dining spots in the national spotlight, the Warren establishment offers “farm-to-table casual fine dining” for private events and ticketed customers

A sample three-course brunch menu posted online includes chicken-fried lobster and churro French toast paired with black garlic ice cream and a rum-macerated banana. 

Food on a plate
Photo / provided
A sample dish at the Black Goat Test Kitchen + Supperclub.

In the write-up for USA Today, Gail Ciampa of the Providence (R.I.) Journal describes Ronspies' dishes as layered with flavors and textures. Biggar’s desserts as portrayed as sampler plates likely to include, but not star, macarons and ice cream.

The duo moved to Warren from Washington state last August with the idea for their rural business in mind.

“Black Goat Test Kitchen + Supperclub is a concept born during the pandemic when people were craving good food and unable to dine together,” Biggar wrote Mainebiz in an email over the weekend. “As the restrictions lifted, and people were desperate to reconnect, we did what we knew best, to bring people together over good food and drink.”

Biggar and Ronspies are cautious in their choice of a location. For now, they're in Warren, a former mill town along the St. George River, around 15 minutes from Camden.

“We knew it would be a risk,” Biggar said. “We decided on a temporary residency here for 18 months while we tested the waters and continue the search for our more permanent location which includes extraordinary hospitality.” 

Asked where they are looking, Biggar said there is nothing concrete and that they are exploring lots of options.

In the meantime, “we are so incredibly spoiled by the bounty of agri- and aguaculture surrounding us in Maine,” she said. “All the incredible suppliers make our job here so enjoyable. We end up taking more pictures of the beautiful harvest than our own plates.” 

More information

Find the full USA Today list, click here.

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February 21, 2024

Congratulations! Please consider opening a restaurant in Bath, which currently is solely lacking a restaurant with that caliber of food.

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