HARDING LEE SMITH
“I wanted to make it a neighborhood gathering spot – to have that homey feel like when you step into someone’s living room…” Harding Lee Smith (chef and owner of The Front Room Restaurant & Bar, The Grill Room & Bar, The Corner Room Kitchen & Bar & The Mountain Room) is a Mainer by birth. Once he graduated from Portland’s Deering High School, Harding left Maine to experience the rest of the world. After earning a Bachelor of Science degree from Boston University, he moved to the San Francisco Bay area and attended the Culinary Institute of America’s West Coast campus in Napa Valley.
After an apprenticeship in Venice, Italy, Chef Smith relocated to Maui, Hawaii where he was the chef of several well-known restaurants. After six years on the island, family and the Red Sox were calling and he returned to Maine in the fall of 2003. After spending the winter of 2005 at the venerable Back Bay Grill in Portland, Harding embarked on his dream, the opening of a casual neighborhood restaurant and bar…