At first, Chef Eides Ares may seem reserved and perhaps a bit serious, but when it comes to her work and her family, her passion emanates through her 100-watt smile. Family ties and fine food are what she loves best.
Eides came to New England from Brazil when she was seventeen to visit friends, with no intention of staying. But plans, as we know, are notoriously unreliable. Settling in Kittery, Maine, she began at the bottom rung of one of the town’s finest dining establishments. She had found her calling. She also found her future husband and restaurant partner, Henry Ares, who was born in the Philippines, but raised in Kittery.
“I started as a dishwasher,” Eides tells us, “then moved to garde manger, then worked my way up the line and ended up as executive chef and kitchen manager. And my English was terrible!”
Today, Eides and Henry are two of the chef/owners at the recently opened Pepperrell Cove, a veritable “village,” in Kittery Point, Maine, that consists of several dining venues. The View, Pepperrell Cove’s stunning two-story banquet facility (formerly Cap’t Simeon’s Restaurant) is Eides’ domain, while her partner Henry oversees the Bistro 1828 and The Ski Club roof-deck bar. Both are located at the same property that, until 2011, housed America’s oldest family-run general store.
Eides understands the importance of balance and cohesive management in order to keep things running smoothly in the business, as well as at home. She explains that when Henry pitches in at The View, she maintains the culinary decisions, and when he needs a hand at the Bistro, he’s the boss. “It works.” she says. “We have very different styles so it’s good.”
Both venues are year-round; the Ski Club Bar and deck on the top story of the former Frisbee’s Market has a somewhat whimsical bar and full menu, along with vintage photos of the water-skiers who performed in the harbor in the 50s and 60s. There is a small store on the ground floor of The View called Provisions that supplies groceries, wine, beer, take-away food and souvenirs.
In the summer months, locals and tourists alike flock to Frisbee’s Wharf, an outdoor lobster shack, bar and grill. Giant aerated saltwater tanks house live local lobsters, as well as the 946 liter (250 gallon) pots that are used to boil the local lobster during the six months of the year the Wharf is open. There is also an ice cream window, a tradition at Pepperrell Cove held for many years, where you might spot Yolanda, Henry and Eides daughter, dishing up ice cream from a local dairy farm.
In each of these venues the view is nothing short of spectacular. In the late 1700s, Pepperrell Cove was a busy merchant shipping harbor and is still a working harbor today, though, visiting yachts are a common sight in the summer months. At the mouth of the Piscataqua River, which separates Kittery, Maine from Portsmouth, New Hampshire, you can see the Pepperrell Cove fleet; a few small islands, a historic lighthouse, the newly restored life-saving station on Wood Island, and in the distance, the Isles of Shoals and open ocean can be spotted.
Chef Eides grew up on a sprawling organic farm in Brazil, in a Portuguese-speaking family. From her description, the farm sounds like Eden: a local, sustainable, and pure wilderness. There is certainly something incredible about growing up in a place where your morning coffee originated in the back forty.
With the exception of a few staples like salt and sugar, all of the family’s food supply came from their land. They raised their own livestock, so they had fresh dairy as well as grass fed beef, lamb and goat. Poultry and eggs, of course, were abundant. The variety of fruit and vegetables that she grew up eating is remarkable. “Plantains, avocado, squash, pineapple, oranges, guava, rice, beans, fish from our man-made ponds…you name it,” says Eides. “My mother made our pasta and bread—everything was from scratch. She even made her own soaps. By the time I was nine, I could bake bread.”
Eide’s upbringing has given her a lifelong appreciation of top-quality ingredients and how they are sourced responsibly. Henry and Eides pride themselves on using the best local products available, through local suppliers. The delicious results are a combination of talent, creativity and top-quality dishes that can only come from loving the food you cook.