The historic Olde Mill Tavern in Harrison, which was formerly a playhouse, roller rink and home to several other restaurants, was recently listed for sale. Credit: Courtesy of Maine Real Estate Choice

HARRISON, Maine — A historic tavern here that once served as a playhouse, roller-skating rink, school gym and American Legion hall was put on the market this week for $849,900.

The Olde Mill Tavern, the only restaurant in downtown Harrison, caters to locals and tourists in this southwestern Maine resort town of 2,500 people. In its various iterations, the building has continued to be a center of activity for the town.

The current building, which has housed several previous restaurants, dates back to 1923, making it one of the oldest restaurant locations in Maine. Waco Diner in Eastport, built in 1924, is the oldest restaurant in the state, with Moody’s Diner in Waldoboro, the Palace Diner in Biddeford and The Main Tavern in Bangor all among eateries in buildings dating from the 1920s.

Olde Mill Tavern co-owner Chris Searles is quick to say that the restaurant will not close, but will be passed along to a new owner that he hopes will retain its aesthetics.

“Business has been incredibly good,” said Searles, who owns the restaurant with his father, Gary. “We are not closing. We are waiting for a buyer.”

The family also owns a local excavation company and a campground, where Chris Searles said he will turn his focus once the restaurant sells.

Listing agent Sarah Noble of Maine Real Estate Choice said she has had interest in the restaurant, but there have been no offers yet. Clients include boaters from the nearby lakes and snowmobilers from the trail behind the building.

Sitting on Main Street between Long Lake and Crystal Lake, the 1,078-square-foot, wood-framed building has been home to three other restaurants since 1960, The Kubby Hole, The Round Table and The Cracked Platter. The restaurant and bar seat 125 people.

The current owners bought the restaurant in 1996 and rehabbed it. Previous buildings on the site were destroyed by fires in 1907 and 1921. The current post and beam structure was built in 1923. An oversized Adirondack chair sits near the front door, creating a photo-op for visitors.

Known for its hand-made steak tips and chicken tenders, the restaurant sells American fare including burgers, steaks and seafood. It also hosts live music. One of Chris Searles’ favorite memories was being able to play saxophone with one of the bands at the restaurant.

The restaurant was able to do well during the pandemic by offering takeout food and cocktails and setting up outside dining when indoor service was limited by COVID-19 restrictions.

Gary Searles and his original business partner had intended to sell the restaurant all along, and with a strong real estate market and restaurant sales, the Searles’ decided now is a good time to sell it. But there is no rush.

“We’re looking to pick a buyer with the same style and flavor as us,” Chris Searles said.