Ogunquit has lost a local icon, the legendary Richard Perkins, who passed away on February 12 at age 92.
Richard was part of the soul of our beautiful community. You may have had the pleasure to hear directly from him at his lecture at our 2021 event. We remember him fondly and are forever grateful for his contributions to our special little community.
Richard Perkins came from a family of eight children who were raised by his grandmother on an old saltwater farm in Wells. His father was a lobsterman and off season, his traps and buoys were stacked next to the barn. Richard’s first school had a wood stove for heat and featured two outhouses, one for the girls and one for the boys.
After high school, he served as a licensed sea captain, operating a tour boat out of Perkins Cove, and for several years he was an artist’s model at The Arts Student League of New York. In the mid-1950’s, Richard met Robert Maurais, his business and life partner, and together, they made Ogunquit a destination for fine dining. Prince Charles, Julia Child, and Bette Davis, among numerous celebrities, all dined at one of their eight establishments.
For 45 years, in place of a traditional advertisement, Richard wrote a weekly letter in The York County Star, telling the reader what had happened at the restaurant and sometimes included a recipe for a favorite menu item. He signed the letters “How Rude”, two words now closely associated with Richard and for a time they were on his license plate. A documentary about his life and the restaurants titled “How Rude” was produced in 2011 and show at the Leavitt Theatre.
After almost 50 years in the restaurant business, in 2006, Richard and Robert closed their last restaurant, Poor Richard’s Tavern at 131 Shore Road. Ogunquit diners have been in mourning ever since, but not Richard. In 2016, Ogunquit named Richard its Outstanding Citizen, and in August 2018, the Ogunquit Select Board accepted a proclamation naming Richard Perkins the town’s Poet Laureate. At least five times a week, if you were one of the fortunate folks to be on Richard’s mailing list, you would have received an ode that would make you ask yourself, “How did he do it?” At last count, Richard had penned more than 1800 odes.
An ode in honor of Richard Perkins
He wasn’t born, he was discovered
A man by all Ogunquit most beloved
Crowned Ogunquit’s oldest teen
With impish smile and humor keen
With roguish eyes of limpid blue
He had many admirers! More than a few!
An author whose odes are famous far and wide
He’s been named Ogunquit’s Poet Laureate with great pride!
Restaurateur and Chef Sublime
Always ready to have a good time!
We’ll miss the odes, the stories and smile
But you’re in our hearts forever and that’s quite a while
As Ogunquit’s oldest teenager, we are pleased to honor Richard Perkins for a Celebration of Life on Wednesday, March 8th at 3pm at Jackie’s Restaurant, 91 Perkins Cove, Ogunquit.
Please consider donating to cover the costs of final expenses for Richard. Please make your donation check to married, lifetime partner Robert Maurais, P.O. Box 894, Ogunquit, ME 03907.
GoFundMe link: https://gofund.me/627e85c9 (Not connected to the library)
We want to thank everyone who knew Richard and knew how much he touched the lives of everyone around him. We are grateful for every donation.