Mill Bridge Restaurant to open soon in Fort Kent

23 February 2012

FORT KENT - In less than a month, a new restaurant will be opening in town, the Mill Bridge Restaurant. Barry Pelletier, the owner, said he plans to open the doors on March 19.


MILL BRIDGE RESTAURANT - Shown here is one of the walls in the soon-to-be opened restaurant at the corner of the New Bridge and Market Street. - Daigle image

The vision that Pelletier has for his place is for a family-oriented, sit-down restaurant that serves steak, chicken, and seafood, with a couple of soup, sandwich, and hot entree specials during the weekdays and on the weekends.

He said the dining room is 99 percent finished and the kitchen is 95 percent finished, with the menu to be finalized shortly.

Pelletier has a long history of working in restaurants in the area. He started his cooking career at the Fort Kent Hotel twenty-two years ago, at the young age of sixteen. His next move took him to the hospital cafeteria, where he stayed for about six years, then the university for another six years, and finally back to the hospital for eight more years.

He's thought about owning his own business for years.


PREPARING FOR THE BIG DAY - Barry Pelletier, owner of the Mill Bridge Restaurant, sits in a quiet corner getting paperwork ready for opening day on March 19. - Daigle image

"I told Rudy and Diane [the owners of the Fort Kent Hotel] I was going to buy the Hotel," said Pelletier.

He said the motivation to buy the old Hoagie's building now was that it seemed like time to move on from the hospital and to try something different.

"What was I thinking?" He chuckled, saying the preparation process has been long and time-consuming. He'd started preparing before he'd even acquired the building.

Because he really wanted the place to have a "homey" feeling, he said he's decorated the building with lots of items from his own home, which is now on the market, including a dresser that has been disassembled into the wait station, the bathroom mirror, and a frame for a picture on the wall. One of the knickknacks on a shelf on the wall is a meat grinder that used to be his mothers, and might have been his grandmothers.

He said, "I just want a quiet, small restaurant," a place where people can bring their families and sit down to enjoy a good evening and just relax, but also to have some good food.

"I'm excited about food. I like to cook it and I like to eat it." He laughed.

He said settling on a name for his business was a struggle for him. He'd gotten some feedback about calling the restaurant Barry's Place, but that didn't really work for him. He finally settled on Mill Bridge, after the "Fort Kent Mills" and the bridge next to which the building is located.

All of the furniture in the restaurant is secondhand, although Pelletier and his friends expended quite a bit of effort to reupholster and refurbish it. The table and chairs were all purchased in Brewer, for example. Pelletier said friends helped to refurbish the furniture in his garage over a day.

"I've had a lot of good help," he said.

Pelletier said he's considering holding what he's calling a "soft opening," a by-invitation-only evening prior to the grand opening that will operate as a trial run for the restaurant staff. He said it would be a way to get some feedback from customers in order to work out some of the kinks before the likely craziness of the first few months.

Either way, he said, "I'm looking forward to getting back to what I'm good at, instead of the construction stuff."

"I hope I never have to see sheetrock or joint compound again." He laughed.



Good luck

I wish him good luck with his new restaurant. Seems to me there used to be a restaurant in that same building that lasted less than two years. His menu is similar to half a dozen other places in town. Too bad he could not come up with a different pizza and pasta for example. Maybe he'll catch the overflow from the restaurant up the street and others on Main street.


Wait a sec. We have a half dozen other places to eat in this town? :P Kidding!! One is Chinese, one is more of a steak place, one is hot dogs etc, one is pizza, one is McDs, one is Subway, 3 are more of homecooking type of places. You cite having a pizza place, for example. We have one yet you say Barrys menu is the same as 6 other places but what you requested matches what we already have? Im pretty vocal about business and customer service on FB but Im going to wait to give Barry a chance. He deserves it. PS Barry, do you have the Hotels onion soup recipe? Id be a regular if you did!! LOL!!!


I assure you, I used indentations and paragraphs when I typed this out LOL


Marla: I know Al's makes good pizza, but we need someone else in town to provide a little competition and perhaps a better pizza. I was going to suggest Thai or Vietnamese food, but I don't think Northern Mainiacs go for this Asian food.

Mill Bridge Restaurant

This is just what we need and i'm soo proud of Barry! I have no doubt that his business will be a success! I can't wait to eat at the Mill Bridge Restaurant!


Thai would be good!!

Mill Bridge Restaurant

First I know Barry will do great. Why be negative and not give Barry a chance. Let's not look at the glass half empty but half full. Barry is known for his great gift of cooking, etc. He is loved by all who know him. He is not afraid of hard work and never has been, because of his positive attitude he will do great. Barry I will certainly be one of your customers, so be ready for me and my family. I would wish you Luck but I know you are going to do great. Can't wait !!!!!!!! Judy Gagnon


I Can not Wait to Taste that Oh so Familiar Taste of Valley Food. Now anyone who Knows Barry, Knows he started out at the Fort kent Hotel with Rudy and Diane and I am Expecting Some of that Great Home made Cooking! I dont think that what he is offering is something we already have! I think it will be something we have been missing! Knowing Barry, we are all going to be brought back to what we remember as Good old Fashioned Comfort Foods, A dash of New and Unexpected Tastes that leave us wanting More and Leaving Full! Barry has been Cooking for a long time and We need to stand behind him in his New Venture. We Need to Support our Local Businesses. I can not wait till those doors swing open and I can get a great meal, enjoy some great company and leave Happy. BEST WISHES TO YOU BARRY!! Your friend and Support. P

Congratulation Barry!!

So happy for you Barry. There is light at the end of the rainbow. I know how you've always talked about having your own place and it's finally here. Your hard work has paid off. Those of you with the nagtive attitudes, please keep your thoughts to yourself, they're offensive and uncalled for. Anyone who is willing to take a leap of faith in this economy deserves praise and not put downs. Barry you have my vote and you can expect to see me in your new place. Just your presence with your sense of humor will make my day. REACH FOR YOUR GOAL!! Love Ya, Auntie Jenny