BRUNSWICK — A historic Brunswick building built as a hotel in the mid-1800s will become an upscale steakhouse and venue for community events this spring.
Chef Dirk Yeaton said he and his business partners hope to open The Odd Duck, as it is tentatively called, at 11 Pleasant St. in mid-May. The investors in the project are John Stadler, father of well-known restaurateur Cara Stadler, whose Asian restaurant Tao Yuan is right down the street, and Becky Marcos and Wayne Bartlett, owners of the Lighthouse Variety & Deli.
The third floor — which has “big, beautiful hardwood floors,” Yeaton said — will be designated “the Grand Ballroom.” It will have table seating for about 120 people and, with a new stage, will “host great bands,” he said. The new owners envision that floor as a community space that could be used for everything from private dinners and business meetings to dance classes.
Twice Told Tales, the used bookstore run by the Friends of Curtis Memorial Library, will remain in the basement of the building but after renovations will have a separate entrance, Yeaton said.
Yeaton most recently worked for Marcos and Bartlett at the Lighthouse Deli. Previously, he worked at The Sinful Kitchen and Salty Sally’s in Portland, the Pig + Poet in Camden, and as a “grill sergeant” at Kendall Jackson vineyards and winery in California, pairing food and wine. Portlanders may remember him as the chef/owner of the Blue House Cafe on Brighton Avenue, which closed in 2008.
At the Odd Duck, Yeaton said, “I’ve got a much bigger kitchen, so I’ll have all the storage and refrigeration I’ll need to do some upscale home cooking with a twist.”
The restaurant will have a chef’s table for private parties, guest chefs, demonstrations and wine tastings, Yeaton said.
While the partners in the restaurant collectively felt that Brunswick needed a steakhouse, Yeaton said the Odd Duck will be “a steakhouse that isn’t just steak.” He plans to serve dishes such as local lamb, lobster and farm-fresh vegetables when they are available. “I’ll even have vegan dishes,” he said. “We’ll have plenty of options for those who aren’t carnivores.”
Yeaton plans to buy meats and produce from local farmers; additionally, Marcos and Bartlett plan to develop a farm for the restaurant on 26 acres they own in Brunswick, with farmers living on site. The farm will include some commercial lavender fields.
Yeaton acknowledged that it will be tough to find enough sources of local beef to satisfy the needs of a steakhouse. He said he’s been talking with Massachusetts-based Kinnealey Meats, which has contracted with several Maine meat producers, about sourcing as much local meat as possible through them. Yeaton said he envisions a wide range of prices on the menu, from a couple of affordable steaks under $20 to a tomahawk steak for $70 or more for the rare guest who wants one.
Much of the restaurant’s interior will be crafted by Maine makers, including a family table in one of the dining rooms made of Maine heritage wood. Bench seating in the breakfast dining room will be made by local woodmakers, and come with cushions made by local sailmakers.
“Rather than go through national vendors,” Yeaton said, “we want to do local as much as possible.”
Becky Marcos, one of the owners of The Odd Duck, a new steakhouse in Brunswick, checks over renovations. (Dirk Yeaton photo)