Dirigo Public House hopes to fill Yarmouth dining void

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YARMOUTH — The menu of Dirigo Public House will be small, but owner Ben Grant hopes its impact will be large.

The restaurant is scheduled to open by July 21 at 305 U.S. Route 1, in the building last occupied by Oscar’s.

Grant said his “elevated pub fare” is what Yarmouth needs.

“Something like this is necessary up here because it’s important to keep people local,” he said. “This space needs something like this.”

Dirigo Public House’s chef, Chris McCollom, said the menu will feature six appetizers, six entrees, some salads, and a kids’ menu. Among other things, he said there will be burgers, sliders, crab cakes, french fries, onion rings, and “a take on Irish nachos.”

McCollom said there will also be a rotating chicken dish of the week.

“It’s an elevated take on comfort food,” he said.

Grant, who also owns Bad Dog Deli in Scarborough, said it’s important to him to provide customers with high-quality food.

“What we expect to do is turn everything over so we have the freshest food possible,” he said.

Grant said he plans to procure local ingredients, and have an open kitchen so customers can easily see where and how their food is prepared.

Grant and McCollom, who both have culinary arts degrees, said they want to serve customers who are open to experiencing good, and different, food.

“We’re into serving people who want to try new food,” McCollom said. “There’s something for everyone on the spectrum.”

The restaurant will also serve a variety of local beers.

“There won’t be any struggle for us to put craft Maine beer in here,” Grant said.

He said he also wants to make gluten-free beer available.

Grant said he hopes the restaurant will be a place north of Portland for people to have new food experiences. He said while there are many options in Portland, many local people are reluctant to drive there because of the distance and parking.

“There’s a pretty broad range of people missing out on that Portland food experience,” he said. “For those from here, it’s a chance to eat something they want to eat.”

Grant said with its location near I-295, the restaurant will also be good for people passing through.

“It’s a great introduction for those coming into the area,” he said.

Grant said he hopes the restaurant, which will seat 50-75 people, will have an inviting feel.

“We really want to create an atmosphere that’s for everyone,” Grant said. “We want families to come here and gather. Anybody’s welcome here.”

Kate Gardner can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 125 or kgardner@theforecaster.net. Follow her on Twitter: @katevgardner.

I'm a reporter for The Forecaster covering Freeport, Yarmouth, Chebeague Island, and Cape Elizabeth. I'm from a small town in NH no one's ever heard of. When not reporting, I can be found eating pasta and reading books, often at the same time.