'Bama BBQ comes to South Portland, by way of Colorado

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SOUTH PORTLAND — Alabama flavor is coming to South Portland on Oct. 8, with the opening of Moe’s Original Bar B Que at 209 Western Ave.

Though the restaurant franchise operates more than 30 restaurants in 10 states, this will be only the second in Maine or the Northeast.

The “southern soul food revival” chain, which is based in Vail, Colorado, opened in Bangor in 2012, courtesy of owner Dwight “Dewey” Hasbrouck.

Hasbrouck is an Orono native who met the founders of the franchise, Ben Gilbert, Mike Fernandez and Jeff Kennedy, while traveling in Colorado in 2003.

Hasbrouck’s wife, Emily (who is from Alabama herself), suggested that he open a restaurant in Maine. The family moved north, he said last week, and did just that. 

After opening the Bangor location, Hasbrouck said he looked at several other markets around the state before eventually settling on South Portland. He felt the city offered both a commercial and residential market.

“It just seemed like a really good, central location in the greater Portland area,” Hasbrouck said. 

Although the area already has several great barbecue restaurants, Hasbrouck said, Moe’s offers an affordable price point, which hovers around $9-$10. It’s also family friendly, and children 12 and under can eat for free with the purchase of any adult entree. Families can also purchase “Haul-It-Home” food packs to go.

Hasbrouck said there’s a large music component to the atmosphere of the restaurant, and there are no corporate stipulations in terms of decor or menu. He said that gives him and his staff of approximately 20 people leeway to transform the restaurant into a unique experience.

Everything on the menu is made from scratch, he said, and a variety of side dishes are rotated daily.

The Maine Mall-area restaurant – formerly Loco Baja Grill – will include an outdoor patio area and a full bar.

“I am really excited to bring Moe’s Original style of barbecue to Portland, where we realize the bar is set high,” Hasbrouck said in a press release. 

Lily O’Gara can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 106 or logara@theforecaster.net. Follow her on Twitter: @lilyog28