The soon-to-open Barnhouse Grill & Pub in Wiscasset may start life as a 1950s-style drive-in.
Michael Collins, Daniel Dyer, and Dana Long bought the former Simpson’s Ocean Fresh Seafood Inc. building at 690 Bath Road last year with plans to open a restaurant, the Barnhouse Grill & Pub.
Due to COVID-19 and the resulting restrictions on restaurants, the trio is considering a drive-in setup, with carhops going car to car to take and deliver orders and diners eating in their vehicles.
“We are considering going to plan B. … Times like this, we have to be creative,” Collins said in a phone interview.
For the past several months, the owners have been working on the interior and exterior of the building. They have hooked up to public water and sewer and have put up a temporary sign announcing the new restaurant.
When they bought the property, they planned to open their new restaurant in April. Now their plan is to open in mid-July.
Collins, Dyer, and Long also own the Wild Burritos restaurant in Portland, currently open for takeout with limited hours.
The menu at the Barnhouse Grill & Pub will include a combination of American and Mexican food, such as hamburgers, tacos, and burritos. The pub will serve local brews.
Drive-in restaurants were popular in the 1940s and ’50s. Maine’s few remaining drive-ins remain popular with guests who enjoy the nostalgia of flashing their lights for service, ordering from their car, then having the carhop bring out their food and hang it on the half-opened car window.
In the old days, many carhops wore roller skates, but Collins doesn’t expect to bring back that tradition. “I do not believe we will have our waiters or waitresses using roller skates to serve the food,” he said with a chuckle.