Sweet Georgia BBQ recently shuttered for the season at its 1955 Bristol Road location in Bristol, but the lunch and dinner spot has plans to reopen in downtown Newcastle later this month.
Sweet Georgia BBQ will occupy the space in the parking lot of Milling Around, at 67 Main St., formerly home to the Que Rico food trailer.
The Newcastle Board of Selectmen voted 3-0 to approve a transient seller/lunch wagon permit for owner Ken Flower on Monday, Sept. 9. The business will operate seasonally. Board Chair Brian Foote was absent.
Ken Flower has been running Sweet Georgia BBQ with his grandson, Wyatt Flower, since May 2018. He told the selectmen he is building up the business to hand off to his grandson, who eventually wants to open a restaurant.
Ken Flower said he will most likely open in the third or fourth week of September this year and close by Oct. 14. He plans to reopen around Mother’s Day or Memorial Day next year, depending on the weather, and close after the Damariscotta Pumpkinfest.
“For such a short season, I think right now it’s a perfect time to try it out, work out the kinks,” Selectman Joel Lind said. Lind said smoke from the business could become a concern.
Ken Flower plans to be open from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday-Sunday, and possibly Monday.
“There’s nobody open for a quick lunch (on Monday). It might be a niche,” he said.
He will cook the food at his Bristol location and bring a smaller wood-fired unit to keep everything warm at the Newcastle site.
Lind asked about the smoke from the wood-fired grill.
Ken Flower said the smoke would be minimal, from a small fire to keep the food warm, and he only uses wood that produces sweet-smelling smoke.
“I run maple, some cherry, and apple, but keep it really sweet-smelling. It’s not an offensive smoke. … It’s quite a selling point,” he said.
He is seeking permission from the owner of the lot to keep a hose near his wagon for fire safety.
“Nothing’s happened in two years, but just in case,” he said.
Newcastle Fire Chief Clayton Huntley was present to review the permit application and did not see any concerns. He recommended that the business keep a hose nearby if it gets permission. The selectmen agreed.
Ken Flower said there will not be ashes coming out of the smokestack because of the way his smoker is designed. The smoke must travel through a channel horizontally, back and forth, before it escapes out the top.
He said the fire is contained in a firebox and he has a fireproof mat to catch anything that might fall out of the firebox.