If you were among the throngs who were in Rangeley to celebrate the July 4th holiday on the town’s traditional celebratory day of July 3rd, you had to have been sleepwalking if you didn’t sense the excitement behind the new and beautiful carved sign on Main Street.

Ever since late last fall when I was given a tour of the early remodeling of the historic 100+ year-old Furbish home, and learned of their vision for something extra-special, by owners Beth and Chip Smith and Kenny and Amber Haley, I knew their project and vision was quite likely going to become something very exciting.  Now 8 months later, I can confidently say that it has become just that….and much more.

Memorial Day weekend 2019 was the establishment’s stated opening goal back in November, 2018.  Well, if you have ever been involved in remodeling and repurposing an aged, yet elegant, old home you know that construction surprises can slow the progress at almost every turn.  They came close, however…and I credit that to a considerable amount of hard work and dedication by everyone involved.

Although the finishing touches on a large brick patio out front with tables, chairs, umbrellas and granite post fencing finally all in place and the handsome carved sign completed seemed to herald an opening day shortly before July 3rd…the owners were actually open for business three weeks earlier in mid-June.  Close to 3,000 pizzas successfully wood-fired and consumed by July 6th tells me that something remarkable has been going on in that still handsome old home.

Busily rotating the many pizzas for their turns near the wood fire required special protection for the pizza maestro’s leading forearm Allen Wicken

My wife and I enjoyed an early evening meal on that expansive, and fully occupied, patio an hour or two before the fireworks.  The weather was perfect for pyrotechnics and everything else that was going on in downtown Rangeley on the 3rd, and the evening light was perfect for a meal of bacon-wrapped scallops as an appetizer and a signature wood-fired pizza as our main course.  Both were delicious and the service was attentive and well-timed by our hard working server.

The expansive brick patio was filled with tables, chairs, umbrellas….AND CUSTOMERS on the evenings of both July 3rd and 4th Stephanie Chu-O’Neil

And speaking of the wood-fired pizza, our server recommended the “BBQ Boston Pork Butt…with house roasted pork, cheese and our Maine blueberry BBQ sauce”.  It was clearly not your grandmother’s pepperoni and cheese effort!  I figured we couldn’t go wrong with a pizza offering all of that….and we didn’t.  A crust, wood-fired to perfection and that Maine blueberry barbecue sauce combined to make our meal a memorable one…not to mention those delicious bacon-wrapped scallops!

Kenny and Amber make the fresh pizza dough each day…and Chip busily mans the wood-fired oven while Beth seems to successfully choreograph everything else, including the serving staff’s roles in this “hospitality orchestra”.  Attentive and friendly service was readily apparent and experienced, as were many familiar Rangeley faces recognized in the kitchen, bar and dining areas.

Let us not forget that beyond the “eats” this establishment is billed as a brewhouse as well.  The gleaming stainless steel tanks and associated equipment have been in place for weeks.  However, the local, state, and federal permitting process for a new establishment producing anything alcoholic is (no surprise here) bureaucratically cumbersome.  However, at this writing, all documentation requisites have been completed, and permits have been issued.

That said, by the time you read this, Chip will have put on his brewmaster “hat” and has perhaps delegated at least some of his wood-fired oven responsibilities.  By the end of July there should be the first of 4 or 5 locally brewed beers/ales ready to be tapped….and a formal “grand opening” may coincide with the unveiling of the brews.

The bottom line, from my perspective, is this:  The Furbish Brewhouse and Eats is an impressive accomplishment, and deserves your visit to see if you agree.

We need to write, otherwise nobody will know who we are.

Garrison Keillor

Per usual, your thoughts and/or comments are welcome.  Jot them down on a 3”x5” card and slip it inside the log door on our mudroom on the rockbound west shore of Gull Pond….or simply fire off an email to [email protected]

 

 

 

 

 


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