BANGOR, Maine — It took a Yankee from Orono to bring a taste of the deep South to Bangor.
Orono High School alumnus Dwight “Dewey” Hasbrouck will soon introduce Alabama barbecue to Bangor as the owner of Moe’s Original Bar B Que, which is taking over the space vacated by Jimmy V’s The Place to Be at 650 Broadway.
Jimmy V’s — which was named after longtime Bangor restaurateur Jimmy Vardamis and opened in January 2011 — ceased operation Dec. 31, according to co-owner Dan Tremble, who partnered with Jonathan “Gabby” Price, Michael “Andy” Stephenson, and Nat Clark on the restaurant venture. All four still own the building.
“It’s a great spot. I think we just had a problem with our identity. What we wanted to be was a burger place and we had burgers and chicken and soups and a lot of people didn’t know what we were,” Tremble said. “It’s easier and more profitable for us to lease that space to another restaurant than run our own there.”
Tremble and Price also co-own The Ground Round. Price and Stephenson co-own the Bangor Pepino’s restaurants.
The 43-year-old Hasbrouck, who started remodeling the space three weeks ago, is moving his family from Nashville, Tenn., to Bangor. His wife, Emily, and 1½-year-old son, Leo, will remain in Nashville until their house is sold. This is the first franchise restaurant venture for the former Zimmer orthopedic medical supplies salesman.
“We were up here a year or so ago and my wife had the idea of opening one up here. It seemed more like a pipe dream at the time,” he said. “I’ve wanted to do something on my own and this just came around at a really good time.”
The Bangor restaurant will be the 18th for the Moe’s Original Bar B Que chain, which was created by three Alabama natives living in Colorado back in 2001. Hasbrouck, who envisions hiring a staff of 12-15 employees, hopes to open in mid-March or April at the latest. This will be the first franchise in New England. The nearest one currently is in Asheville, N.C.
“The food is really great. It comes from a lot of Southern family recipes,” said Hasbrouck, who earned an economics degree from the University of Tennessee and a master’s in business administration at Vanderbilt University. “There’s a culture around these restaurants and an atmosphere they create. Moe’s is all about down-home hospitality and atmosphere; it’s barbecue, sports and music.”
Moe’s traditional menu features items such as pulled pork, smoked chicken and turkey, ribs, shrimp, catfish, marinated coleslaw and grits, but Hasbrouck can add and discard menu items depending on popularity.
“If people don’t buy catfish up here, I don’t have to serve it,” he said.
There is one item, however, that is sure to remain on the menu because it’s the boss’s favorite.
“What made me a Moe’s fan was the pulled pork sandwich done ’Bama style,” said Hasbrouck. “That means it has slaw on it with white [mayonnaise-based] barbecue sauce.”