THOMASTON—A Thomaston couple has plans to open a community tavern and restaurant in the spring with the aim of serving lunch and dinner as well as give late-night workers—such as restaurant staff and second-shift workers— a place to grab a bite and a sip past 9 p.m.
The old Weymouth Grange Hall, formerly Billy’s Tavern, and most recently, a second location for Thresher’s Brewing Company, is named Hot Hill Tavern, after co-owner Nate Miller’s “Hot Hill” sauces, a recipe he perfected as a stay-at-home dad for the past six years.
“I’ve worked in kitchens for 17 years and feel right at home in them,” he said. “I’ve run kitchens, and managed other places, and it’s nice to be able to design things the way that I want.”
Carly Laughery, Miller’s wife, has previously worked in retail and nonprofit settings but has a vocational background in baking. Her role will be the front of the house and making baked goods and desserts.
The couple has leased the large hall, putting the finishing touches on their new menu, which features classic pub fare such as wings and chili fries, sandwiches, entrees, and a kid’s menu. One surprising addition to the menu is the Puerto Rican-influence on several dishes, including queso frito (frying cheese), churrasco (steak with a chimichurri herb sauce) and arroz con mariscos (yellow rice with shrimp, mussels, peppers, and peas).
“My mother’s side of the family is Puerto Rican, so I’ve thrown a few notes of that into the menu,” said Miller. “My brother and I have been talking about what’s really good in Puerto Rico that you can’t find here locally, so we’re recreating some of those dishes.”
The large space will encompass two pool tables, a jukebox, seating for 56 and even room for live bands, DJs, open mic, and standup comedy performers, which Miller is currently lining up.
The couple plans to open Hot Hill Tavern at the end of April and will open four days a week, Wednesday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to midnight with plans to open on more days in the future.
As two people who have their finger on the pulse of what a working community needs, they decided that keeping the kitchen open late at night will be a benefit to those who have to work late.
“Compared to other places, the kitchen will be open at all times the bar is open,” said Miller. “If you get out of work at 10 and there’s nothing else open except for McDonald’s, we’ll be the place to get real food.”
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Kay Stephens can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org