Just a quick note that Thistle Pig will open for lunch on May 30. I'll be posting the menus on the website (in it's own lovely section) on May 28!
Check that out! Soon, many of you--all of you--will be sitting on those stools and at that bar or at one of those tables. Things are really shaping up, and the soft opening (for Friends and Family) is nigh (in a bit over a week). That means that the full opening is not far behind, after they work out any kinks from the trial run. Look forward to a full website complete with menus and photos soon!
Ben Prescott will be bartending and serving at Thistle Pig:
I have been working in restaurants since I was 16 and have spent the majority of my time in the Front of the House. I have spent time working at Jumpin' Jays, The RiverHouse, When Pigs Fly and I also managed at Dos Amigos and Upper Crust. I also was a co- owner with my father and brother at Noel's Café in the Kittery outlets. I enjoy the front of house and especially bartending because of the interaction with guests and sharing my passion for food and drink, and I one day hope to open a restaurant of my own. I've always tried to put myself in my customers' shoes and give the same service that I would want if I were them. Going out to eat should be an experience and a way to get away from it all, even if it's just for an hour or two. I am very much looking forward to working with and learning from Jen and her experiences and continuing to work with Ben. I do also mix a mean margarita!
Some of the new menu items have been leaked to a mole, aka me. I have a few here (along with some fun facts in hi-tech hyperlinks), but first take a look a the new hue!
Thistle Pig will have its own garden out at Breezy Hill Farm, dedicated to supplying fresh herbs and veggies for the kitchen and table.
I'm going to keep adding to this, but take a look at the progress on the bar! The wood came from Marc Poirier at LonglLeaf Lumber in Cambridge and it's milled right in Berwick. It's all reclaimed wood. Gorgeous. Wait til you see the Common Table.
A few visual updates to heighten the anticipation...
Awww! Look at those two! So cute. Partners in life...and now, in business. Would you work with your sweetheart or spouse every day and night? We have some great examples of restaurant couples on the Seacoast--Evan and Denise of Black Trumpet Bistro, Josh and Michelle from STREET, Mark and Clark from MCPerkins Cove and MCSpiedo...Well, when Ben and Jennifer wanted advice on how to work together as a couple, they went to a couple who've been working together in the restaurant biz for a long, long time--Rob Evans and Nancy Pugh. The former owners of Hugo's and then in 2005 Duckfat in Portland, Rob and Nancy were married after Hugo's opened, so they certainly knew that it was all working by then. Ben worked at Hugo's for a time so he and Jennifer asked Rob and Nancy what to expect and how they can best work together.
"When Rob asked me about the business he said, 'So, you're going into business with someone you're in a relationship with...it's awesome.'"
Rob told Ben that it's good to have two people moving in the same direction,with a common goal. He said it strengthens the business and gives perspective. You can grow together he told them and it is like being married. It can have its challenges.
Like Ben and Jennifer, Evan and Denise, Michelle and Josh, the women are in charge of the front of the house, the men the chefs (there's a topic right there). An ambitious chef and and ambitious business person, noted Rob, can be quite the combination. It's important, he said, to keep the communication open, to always talk, and be patient. Be kind to each other, he advised. There will be things that come up when opening a business and they don't always come at idea times, he said.
"He was very happy to hear I was opening a restaurant with Jen," Ben said. "He said it's cool to see couples opening businesses together because it's enriching. Just make sure there's time for other things."
What do you think? Have you or are you in business with your spouse or sweetheart? What advice would you give?
Rachel Forrest is the food writer and restaurant critic for The Portsmouth Herald, Seacoast Online and many other publications. She is the co-author of Maine Classics with James Beard Award winning chefs Mark Gaier and Clark Frasier.