Owners' travels land them in new Yarmouth restaurant

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YARMOUTH — When Seth Balliett recounts his travels, he does so with more than just words and photos.

He shares his adventures with others by letting them have a little taste of the experience.

Woodhull Public House, Balliett’s new restaurant and bar, serves food inspired by his many trips.

“I want to create almost an oasis of sorts,” Balliett said. “It’s warm, inviting, and certainly friendly.”

Woodhull opened Dec. 1 at 30 Forest Falls Drive, in the location formerly occupied by Forest Falls Cafe. Balliett co-owns the restaurant with Katie Abbott, his partner in business and in life, and a third investor.

“It was my dream to open a restaurant,” Balliett said. “I’ve wanted to open a place since I was 15 years old making pizzas for my aunt and uncle.”

Balliett, a graphic designer, and Abbott, a civil engineer, have never run a restaurant before. The Yarmouth residents decided to open Woodhull, which seats around 45 people, because of their passion for the idea and because they saw a need.

“We were saying Yarmouth needed something like this,” Balliett said. “Something between a sports bar and high-end dining.”

The restaurant, which Balliett said is named after “a little one-horse town I’m from in New York,” serves a variety of tacos and skewers with tropical and Asian flavors. 

“We wanted to do healthier food inspired by our travels,” he said. “A street taco is the best thing after you’ve been surfing.”

Themes of surfing, as well as skiing, are present in the restaurant’s decor of vintage artwork and photographs. There is also a television, but it doesn’t show the news or sports. Instead, it plays old surfer movies. 

Surfing and skiing are two of Balliett and Abbott’s favorite activities, Balliett said.

“I’m good on the water,” he said. “She’s better on the frozen water.”

Woodhull, which employs 13 people, will hopefully become a place where people come for local entertainment, Balliett said. By January, he wants the restaurant to have live music, and host trivia and open mic nights.

“We wanted there to be more entertainment so people won’t have to go to Portland to do stuff,” he said.

Balliett said it was also important to him that people have a place close to home where they can go to relax and unwind. 

“We wanted to create a small-town place with a community feel,” he said. “We want it to be a step away from day-to-day life.”

In addition to the food options, Woodhull also has a full bar with six local beers on tap and a variety of mixed drinks. The cocktails are also recreations of what Balliett has tasted while on his trips.

“If we’re talking about drinks, we have to serve what we have while traveling,” he said.

When developing the idea behind Woodhull and the menu, Balliett and Abbott had to think back to the various trips they’ve been on for inspiration. Going forward, their travels will be spent looking for new dishes they can serve.

“Instead of looking back to remember what we’ve eaten, now I’ll be looking for new ideas while we travel,” he said.

Using travel as a way to bring new insights and ideas into the restaurant is just one way Balliett said he’ll be working to always improve upon Woodhull Public House.

“We’re going to keep trying to be better every day,” he said. “We’re always looking to be inspired and find new ideas.”

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

Seth Balliett opened Woodhull Public House at 30 Forest Falls Drive in Yarmouth on Dec. 1.

Woodhull Public House, co-owned by Seth Balliett, is Yarmouth’s newest restaurant and bar.

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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.
  • Factshonesty

    Yikes….as a financial adviser, I would never advise that a client jump into the restaurant business with no prior experience. Especially at a site where other previous restaurants struggled. Ease of market entry and a very high mortality rate in the 1st 3 years!

    I hope these guys can make it…..but I would not bet on it. Make sure you have a lot of cash to carry you for at least 12 months under conservative cash flow projections…very conservative.