The Barnhouse Grill & Pub now offers American and Mexican food on Route 1 in Wiscasset, opening Dec. 18, 2020 after nearly a year of preparations.
Business partners Michael Collins, Daniel Dyer, and Dana Long visited the town of Wiscasset in 2017 and fell in love. In 2018, they purchased the former Musical Wonder House, restored it, and made it their home. In January 2019, they purchased the former Simpson’s Ocean Fresh Seafood building at 690 Bath Road, with plans to open a restaurant there in the spring of 2020.
After renovations to the interior and exterior of the building, hooking up public sewer and water, and dealing with COVID-19 restrictions, the Barnhouse Grill & Pub finally opened for business a week before Christmas.
For 13 years, the business partners owned the popular Portland restaurant Wild Burritos. They have since sold that restaurant and are devoting their time to their new endeavor in Wiscasset.
During an interview, Collins and Long spoke of the help and support they have received from family members and the community in starting the business. They will not forget, they said, and their goal is to give back to the community.
Other local business owners have purchased Barnhouse gift certificates for their employees to give the new restaurant a boost. “God has blessed us with this community,” Collins said.
The partners hired local people to work on the building and they have hired locals to staff the restaurant, which has seven employees who work with the three owners. The bartenders are Karen Dalton and Alex Emery, both well known in the area.
Family from out of state came to Wiscasset to help with the renovations. Long’s sister came from Texas for three weeks to help, while Collins’ sister and her husband came from North Carolina and spent three weeks working in the building.
Collins’ sister and brother-in-law, Cindy and Matthew Phelps, decided to buy property and retire to Maine. Collins said that when their three weeks were up, they didn’t want to leave, saying they had found their home here.
The trio plans to offer more than just a place to eat and drink. They intend to plant a vegetable garden behind the building and to make use of their large parking lot to host antique car shows and a petting zoo.
They plan to have an event room on the second floor of the building, but first they need to install a sprinkler system upstairs.
Collins said they will listen to suggestions from customers on ways to make the Barnhouse more enjoyable. He said one customer asked for a changing table in the women’s restroom and they are working on the request.
The menu at the Barnhouse Grill & Pub includes both American and Mexican food.
The Mexican food includes burritos like the “Carolina porker” — slow-cooked pulled pork, rice, black beans, pineapple, and cheese, as well as quesadillas, taco plates, and various sides.
The American menu includes the “Speedway cheesesteak” and a “mad haddock” sandwich, as well as a BLT, chicken sandwich, pulled pork sandwich, chicken wings and tenders, and fish and chips.
Burger choices include The Sunken Garden, an organic veggie burger; The Villager, which comes with bacon, onion rings, sweet barbecue sauce, and pickles; and the Route 1 Mushroom Trip, which comes with Swiss cheese and grilled mushrooms.
The Barnhouse menu also includes appetizers, soups and salads, and a children’s menu.
Customer safety is a top priority at the Barnhouse, according to Collins. The restaurant follows all applicable COVID-19 mandates, such as mask-wearing and physical distancing.
The Barnhouse is open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday-Thursday and 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday, with happy hour from 3-5 p.m. Monday-Thursday. It is closed Sunday. To place a takeout order, call 687-8197.
The three businessmen who visited Wiscasset three years ago could not be happier to call Wiscasset their home and now their place of business. “The other day I had to make a trip to Portland,” Collins said, “and I could not wait to get home.”