Three years ago, when Sally Harrison and Terri Grant moved to Maine full-time after living all over the U.S., they were thrilled to settle into quiet country living with their three kids, in their comfortable Eddington home they’d previously only visited in the summers.
Soon enough they realized, however, they were missing some of the little things a slightly more urban life offered — things like nearby restaurants and bars, where you could drop in for a beer and a burger, where people in the community could gather.
“We just missed having that kind of place. You have to drive into Brewer and Bangor, and that’s a bit of a haul for dinner. You’ve got to drive 20 minutes to go get an ice cream,” said Harrison, who is originally from Massachusetts. Grant grew up in Eddington. “So we decided we’d make that place ourselves.”
Heritage On 9 Restaurant & Tavern, the couple’s new eatery, bar, function room and soon-to-be ice cream and farmstand, opened two weeks ago in the location of the former Clewley Farm Restaurant, at 999 Main Rd in Eddington, just off Route 9. After nearly eight months of extensive renovations to the historic farm property, the new restaurant is a place that people in growing bedroom communities like Eddington, Clifton, Holden and other surrounding towns will come to think of as a second home. Or, at least, that’s what Harrison and Grant hope will happen.
“You need that kind of place in a community,” said Harrison, who has worked in senior-level positions for Procter & Gamble for more than 20 years, and still commutes weekly to Boston. “You need a place to come watch the game, or have breakfast with your friends. We want to be that.”
Clewley Farm, which for many years offered popular Sunday brunches and Friday night fish frys, closed up shop in 2016. Shortly afterwards, Harrison and Grant bought the property, which has more than 100 acres of farmland, including a small apple orchard. Over the course of 2017, the pair gutted the building, installing almost everything new — including flooring, drywall, bathrooms and a kitchen.
Heritage On 9 — so named for Eddington’s rich history as the home of Revolutionary War captain Jonathan Eddy, and for the legacy the couple hopes to leave for their three children — is, first and foremost, a place to feel comfortable. The dining area is bright, cheerful and sunny, while the tavern area boasts a post-and-beam ceiling, a working fireplace and a long, wooden bar inlaid with funky, LED-lit topographic maps of local lakes and ponds, like Springy, Chemo and Davis. Outside, a newly-built deck features patio seating.
Head chef Matt Crate, who has cooked all over the state, including Fore Street in Portland, the University of Southern Maine and, most recently, the Miller’s Table in Skowhegan, has developed a lunch and dinner menu of what he calls “elevated comfort food.” Think classic favorites — things like bacon cheeseburgers, lobster rolls, spaghetti and meatballs, Caesar salads, crab cakes, chicken wings, steaks — done expertly.
“It’s definitely a lot of classic American fare, but with French technique,” said Crate. “Our meatloaf has been flying out of the kitchen. People are really loving it. It’s total comfort food.”
A restaurant that took the place of Clewley Farm had to offer breakfast, of course, and Heritage On 9 does, with breakfast staples like French toast, omelettes, eggs made to order and pancakes, as well as house-made corned beef hash and an apple puff pancake (like an apple cinnamon-flavored Dutch baby).
The bar, run by Justin Morgan Eames (formerly of 11 Central and the Tarratine Club, both in Bangor) offers up an array of both classic and creative cocktails, many made with fresh fruit, and with herbs grown in Heritage’s kitchen garden. Wine and both craft and domestic beer round out the bar menu.
Though the restaurant is now fully up and running, Harrison and Grant have more additions planned to the place, including the completion of a greenhouse in which they plan to grow greens and other produce year-round for use in the restaurant, and an ice cream stand to open next spring. They also plan to offer a farm stand, in which excess produce grown on site can be sold, as well as produce from other area farms.
And if that wasn’t enough, there’s also plans for an expanded outdoor seating and entertainment area. Harrison and Grant plan to install fire pits, lawn games like corn hole, and an outdoor stage for live music on the expansive back lawn of the restaurant. They hope to host weddings and other parties, and offer prom and senior photos for area teens.
“Even though we want to be a place for the community, we also want to be a destination,” said Harrison. “Clewley Farm had extremely popular psychic medium nights. They had country music nights. We’ll do that too. If people want it, we’ll do it.”
To showcase their commitment to the community, Harrison and Grant plan to donate a percentage of each quarter’s profits to four area charities, which will change every three months, but will always include an Eddington-based organization like the Eddington Fire Department or Comins Hall, a local veteran’s organization, a group like the newly-formed Bangor Take Steps for Crohns & Colitis, and local animal charities like the Bangor Humane Society and animal rescue organizations. With each meal, customers will get a chip that they can add to the bucket of their choosing, which will then translate into a donation for one of the four causes.
“We have family members that suffer from Crohn’s and other digestive disorders, and Sally is a veteran, and we love animals, and we just want to support the community — to me, that’s the most important one, because the whole point of this place is to support the community,” said Grant.
Heritage on 9 is open from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., Tuesdays through Sundays; it is closed on Mondays. For more information, like them on Facebook.