SOUTH PORTLAND, Maine — Popular Bangor rib joint Moe’s Original Bar B Que is expanding south. In early October, franchise owner Dewey Hasbrouck will open his second Alabama-style eatery on Western Avenue near The Maine Mall.
“We looked all around Maine,” said the Orono native, whose wife, Emily, hails from Alabama. “We wanted to have proximity to a large population and be near a lot of businesses.”
Moe’s is not opening in a barbecue-free zone as Hasbrouck did on Broadway in Bangor two and a half years ago when “the closest competition was 20 miles away,” he said.
He knows the public has more choices in Greater Portland, but Hasbrouck is ready to go head to head with the competition and offer diners a taste of something new.
“We make everything from scratch daily, change our sides every day. I think we have a different way of cooking,” he said. “The bar is set high, and I know Portland is a foodie town. We offer something really different and really good.”
The Colorado-based company, with a heavy presence down south, infuses regional barbecue styles. Recipes such as Alabama-style pulled pork doused in vinegar and served with a red barbecue sauce and Memphis-style dry-rubbed ribs are part of Moe’s soul revival.
Chicken and turkey is brined, smoked and served with sides such as meaty baked beans, jalapeno-studded cornbread and collard greens. Marinated slaw comes to life with cider vinegar, a mayo-free delight.
“We have red and white barbecue sauces and focus on music and the atmosphere,” said Hasbrouck.
Banana pudding and southern fried catfish round out the stick-to-your-ribs, deep south offerings.
“This is comfort food at the end of the day,” said Hasbrouck.
The 65-seat South Portland Moe’s will be more upscale than its Bangor flagship, which is not closing. There will be big-screen TVs, a full-scale bar with “a cool mix of local, Maine brews,” said Hasbrouck, who is excited to pair local ale with low and slow-cooked meats.
A family focused atmosphere and affordable prices will remain a constant. Most platters are $9 to $10, and children 12 and under eat free with an adult when dining in.
“The word franchise gets a bad rap,” said Hasbrouck, who was quick to point out this is not a cookie-cutter operation. “We have the ability to make up our own recipes, there is a lot of leeway and flexibility on what we do.”