Joe Perry Jr. grew up in the restaurant industry, though when he was a kid at longtime (now closed) Bangor eatery Perry’s Restaurant, he wasn’t in the kitchen or waiting tables. He was watching his grandfather Charles and father Joe Sr. run the place, which closed in 1996 after nearly 50 years, when the city of Bangor razed the entire block to make way for Shaw’s Supermarket on Main Street.
Now Perry, with his wife, Mary Beth McGinley, has taken up the family business, with their restaurant, The Brickhouse, on Route 1 in downtown Searsport. The menu item that Perry’s Restaurant was undoubtedly best known for — the fried clams — is available at the Brickhouse, with the same secret recipe his grandfather developed in the 1940s.
“We don’t like to divulge our secrets,” said Perry, who opened the Brickhouse with McGinley in June 2010. “But it’s the family recipe that we’ve had for generations. If you remember Perry’s, these are the real deal.”
According to a Bangor Daily News article that was published around the time of Perry’s Restaurant’s closing, a sign hung in the window for several decades that read simply “CLAMS,” reminding their clientele about the menu item that had fed people of all stripes for all those years. Though that sign is gone, the younger Perry does have a number of bits of memorabilia from the old restaurant hanging in The Brickhouse, from old pictures to another sign that reads “Some of the finest people in the world come into this place,” a quote from his grandfather, Charles.
“We try to keep the same feel the old place had, a nice neighborhood place you can come and relax,” Perry said.
In addition to the fried clams, Perry’s serves what he and McGinley call casual American cuisine informed by McGinley’s Italian and Irish heritage. There are burgers and fried fish sandwiches, and there’s an antipasto pizza and grilled portabellas. On the weekends, the Brickhouse offers live music — this Saturday, June 9, Celtic musicians Chris Brinn, Chuck Walsh and Emma Donnelly will perform.
The Brickhouse is open 4 p.m.-close Wednesday-Friday, noon-close Saturday, and 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Sundays for brunch.