FARMINGTON — A restaurant with a menu that will combine barbecued ribs and Southern cooking with more familiar Yankee favorites opens next week.

On Tuesday, selectmen voted to approve a liquor license for Grantlee’s Tavern and Grill at 476 Fairbanks Road, owned by Richard and Vicky Bates. The couple plan to offer wine and beer.

The grand opening will be Wednesday, Sept. 1, and hours will be Sunday to Tuesday, 6 a.m. to 3 p.m., and Wednesday to Saturday, 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. During hunting season in November, the doors will open at 5 a.m.

The Bateses said they have a full wait and cook staff of 12 who are already hired, largely by word of mouth. Renovations are nearly complete and include a 24-seat new deck for outside dining, a retrofitted kitchen complete with two smokers and a grill, and in the dining room, new oak tables and booths made by their son-in-law, carpenter Steve Smith of New Portland.

“We have been trying to get a restaurant together for the past 15 years when we lived in Florida, Virginia and Tennessee. We have family in this area and Rich had been coming up several times a year, so when we saw this place as up for rent, we pitched our idea to the owners and they liked it,” Vicky Bates said.

The building is owned by Brad and Chanda Luker of Industry.

The Bates’ idea was a restaurant that combined the comfort foods of both the North and the South — smoked ribs, pulled pork, homemade biscuits and gravy and even grits alongside Yankee pot roast and shepherd’s pie.

The decorating theme will reflect the Civil War with a special emphasis on the 20th Maine Volunteer Infantry Regiment, said Richard Bates, a memorabilia collector.

On display at the tavern will be Civil War prints, antique muskets and swords, and photos of famous Civil War generals. The name of the tavern — “Grantlee’s” — stands for Ulysses S. Grant, Union army commander, and Robert E. Lee, who surrendered the Confederate Army to Grant at Appomattox, Va.

Betty Jespersen photo
Vicky and Richard Bates, the owners of the new Grantlee’s Tavern and Grill at 476 Fairbanks Road in Farmington, stand on a newly-completed deck that will seat 24. The restaurant opens Sept. 1 and will specialize in Southern cuisine, including slow-smoked barbecued ribs and pulled pork.

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