Billy's Journal

Gift Certificates may be purchased by sending check in any amount to Barnacle Billy’s, P.O. Box 837, Ogunquit ME, 03907-0837. Please make checks out to Barnacle Billy’s. We do accept Credit Cards as well over the phone, but we limit credit card phone orders to $100.00 per certificate..

Ogunquit ME

Tim Tower, August 28, 2021

Well, it has been a while since I have written in this Journal. Jules & Sue Epstein, two of our good customers, often tell me that I should write in the Journal more often. And I probably should. I do tell them that they can read what I write on the website (the “Fishing Update” link on the index page) but they tell me that they don’t want to read about fishing and the weather.  So  this entry is for you, Jules & Sue. On the Saturday, August ...Read More

Tim Tower, July 3, 2021

We will be open at Barnacle Billy’s, Etc. on Wednesday, July 7, 2021. This means we will be open six days a week with Tuesday being the only day that we are closed during a week. We hope to be open seven days as soon as possible.  But this all depends on whether I can get the kitchen crew organized enough so that some of the workers, most importantly head chef, Eric Littlefield, get some time off. And we are still lacking in a couple more kitchen crew.  So we will start with a da...Read More

Tim Tower, May 23, 2021

Tomorrow, Monday, May 24, 2021, we have been given the green light to go to 100%  dining both inside and out at both restaurants. Tables can be moved back closer together.  Contact tracing lists will be a thing of the past.  Masks outside will disappear. There will also be no restriction on individuals at a table.  Our rendition of the new regulations and protocols will be a little bit different. We won’t require masks being worn on the property before you enter eith...Read More

Tim Tower, April 27, 2021

We had a managers meeting yesterday at Barnacle Billy's, Etc. The subject matter discussed was the opening of said restaurant and the challenges ahead. Employees were at the top of the list. Like most of the restaurants in our area, we don’t have the complement of employees we need in order to run two shifts. But this has been the case for the last few years. We have relied on the J1 students from eastern Europe to fill the gaps.  Now, with the Covid crisis going on, these students ar...Read More

Tim Tower, April 24, 2021

On this coming Thursday, April 29, 2021, Barnacle Billy’s, Etc., our full service restaurant, will be open for the first time in two years.  Last year, when we were just starting to witness the Covid crisis, I was uncomfortable opening Etc for fear that it was too closed in and people might get sick. Instead, we ran the kitchen at Etc, supplementing the food coming out of the kitchen at Barnacle Billy’s (Original). Original doesn’t have fried food so all the fried food was...Read More

Tim Tower, April 3, 2021

This winter was probably the longest toughest winter we have ever experienced before a restaurant season. Covid cases rose sharply in the late fall/winter of 2020 and continued into 2021. Covid cases diminished after the first of March. Last Thursday, new Covid cases jumped up again but not nearly to the levels we experienced during the dead of winter. In the meantime, we were wondering how the regulations with respect to Covid were going to allow us to get to some stage of normalcy. Later in...Read More

Tim Tower, November 4, 2020

We closed our Barnacle Billy's “restaurant system” on Sunday, November 1 at 8:00 PM. The “system” as I called it, utilized the kitchens from both restaurants to produce one menu for both places. So when the question of a closing date came up, I chose November 1 for both as that was the date when Barnacle Billy's, Etc. was to close. It was the end of a very challenging season, to say the least. Between takeout as a major part of our sales with rum punches to go, to havi...Read More

Tim Tower, September 25, 2020

Since my last Journal entry, we have been busy with the same menu, system of service, management, procedures, open/closing times and host/hostess setup we established at the end of June. It has been new but it has the flavor of the old. Most patrons who I have talked to have noted the changes but loved “being back at Barnacle Billy's”. The prevalent comment; “Thank you for being open.” My reply has always been; “Thank you for being here.” And we certainly can'...Read More

Tim Tower, July 6, 2020

We initiated dine-in service since the last time I edited this Journal. It has been going well. Because we have been doing this since the middle of June, as well as continuing with takeout food and outside dining, we believe we have all the bugs worked out. Everything has been running smoothly. I have been going to every table on the property talking to patrons, getting opinions and making sure everyone feels safe. So far, I haven't come across anyone who doesn't feel safe. And, to our credit, w...Read More

Tim Tower, June 16, 2020

Last time I wrote in this Journal was over two weeks ago. At that time we were getting ready for outside dining for the first time. We started a couple of days afterward with great results. And last weekend was our best weekend so far. We have a host stand in the patio where one of our employees with greet you and either put you on a list for a table or secure a table for you at the moment. We have table service. And, with Barnacle Billy's, Etc. cooking for us as well, we have fried food (clams,...Read More

Tim Tower, June 1, 2020

On Thursday, June 4th, Barnacle Billy's will be open for outside seating on our property. We were hoping to also include inside seating but our Governor changed her mind on that, upsetting many local business owners who had already bought product in preparation. It's not my place to judge whether the Governor's decision was the right move or not. I think she is doing her best. I do think that she should have given notice sooner than she did. Afterward, hearing the outcry from business owners, sh...Read More

Tim Tower, May 28, 2020

One step forward and two steps back. Dine-in service at Barnacle Billy's will not be available on June 4 as planned. Outside seating will be available including the patio, upper patio, deck and garden patio at Barnacle Billy's, Etc. But our dining room will not be open. Better days are coming, as my father would have said! Below is an excerpt from Hospitality Maine: “The Mills Administration announced today that it is postponing the full reopening of restaurants for dine-in services in Yo...Read More

Tim Tower, May 26, 2020

We opened for takeout again at Barnacle Billy's starting on Thursday, May 21, before Memorial Day weekend. We did as well as we could have done under the circumstances. We are not really a takeout place, as you know. And we couldn't generate the revenue we need to pay our loyal employees if we stayed this way throughout the summer. So on June 4th, we will open with limited inside dining, outside dining and, also, continue with the takeout service. At the end of that weekend, we will decide on ex...Read More

Tim Tower, May 19, 2020

The first thing I want to say before I explain what is going on here at Barnacle Billy's is that I love our customers from out of state. Someone got the message in my last entry in an email to me that I did not like people from Massachusetts. She went on to say that my exclusivity with people from Massachusetts contaminating Maine was unfair – in so many words. I don't know how she interpreted what I wrote to mean any of the things I just mentioned. If she felt that way then maybe others d...Read More

Tim Tower, May 13, 2020

Last weekend went better than I had expected, as I told you in the last Journal entry. This weekend, opening on Thursday, we will handle it much the same. We will open at 11:00 AM and close at 8:00 PM. The exception will be Sunday, where we will open at 11:00 AM, like normal, but will close an hour earlier at 7:00 PM. After this weekend, we will do a final assessment on closing times and try to be consistent throughout the time we are open for takeout. It's been a really strange time in so...Read More

Tim Tower, May 10, 2020

We started our takeout business on May 8th, a Friday. I was surprised how busy we were. In fact, I couldn't believe it. We had a rush for an hour and a half between 5:30 PM and 7:00 PM that was just non-stop. It died out around 7:15 PM. We continued getting orders after that time. But it wasn't as crazy as it was before. The next day, Saturday, May 9th, was fairly busy but not like it was on Friday. On Saturday we were prepared for a big push. My father always told me; “Never prepare fo...Read More

Tim Tower, May 6, 2020

On April 29, 2020, we decided to open Barnacle Billy's (original) for takeout with a starting date of May 8, 2020 at 11:00 AM. We will be open daily starting at 11:00 AM through until closing at 8:00 PM. We will be open in this manner until we get the okay to open full time with both restaurants or we find that we need different starting and ending times. We will be closed on Monday, Tuesday & Wednesday during this "Takeout Period". Menu items will include most of the items fo...Read More

Tim Tower, April 10, 2020

When I wrote last time, I suggested that you should wait before coming to Ogunquit. That applies more now than it did then. A few days ago, our Governor Janet Mills prohibited the operations of all the hotels and motels in the state.  Other new prohibitions include all the parks and recreational areas in southern Maine. Places like Nubble Light, Mt. Agamenticus, parking along the shore from Hampton Beach, New Hampshire to York, Maine, the Fisherman’s Walk in York, the adjacent Steedma...Read More

Tim Tower, March 25, 2020

Last night the Ogunquit Board of Selectmen (and women) voted to close most of the public parking lots in Ogunquit as well as the beaches and the Marginal Way.  This morning I was asked to close our parking lots to the public by our police department. I, of course, will honor the request of the Ogunquit Police Department; they have been very very helpful to us over the years and I have a very good working relationship with them.  In a statement to the public yesterday, Governor Janet M...Read More

Tim Tower, November 4, 2019

The end of another season took place last night on November 3, 2019 at Barnacle Billy’s, Etc. It was a day of mixed feelings for me. On the one hand, I am so sorry that it’s over. On the other hand, it would not be profitable to continue on into the winter. Nor would we be able to be open at our original Barnacle Billy’s, which has no insulation. Even though “Etc.” is insulated and heated, we would have to work through the winter storms that plague us at that time o...Read More

Tim Tower, April 5, 2019

Today is opening day at Barnacle Billy’s, Original. It’s a little cool as I write this morning, at 9:00 AM. However, there is no wind, the sun is out, air temperatures should be in the 40°’s and a hot lobster and cold rum punch on the deck overlooking Perkins Cove might be the solution to cure those winter blues and usher in the new summer! Hope to see you here!...Read More

Tim Tower, March 29, 2019

Opening day at Barnacle Billy’s (original) is fast approaching.  It’s all hands on deck to get all the food product ordered, delivery dates set, water turned on, plumbing issues solved (a new grease trap is going in on Monday), etc., etc., etc. Matt Pedersen is the general manager for our original restaurant. And Matt is our top computer/POS system guy. He also does most of the employee scheduling at “Original”. Stu Dunn, our second in command at “Original&rdqu...Read More

Tim Tower, December 22, 2018

On November 30th, I was informed by a newsroom in New York City that former President George H. B. Bush had passed away.  I wasn’t supposed to mention this until the news broke. It broke a day later. A couple months earlier I was told that he was in hospice. I didn’t dispute this news only because I knew he was in pretty rough shape.  I never did check this fact out. So I never said anything. Only a short time earlier, his daughter, Doro, told my sister, Meg, that he would ...Read More

Tim Tower, November 29, 2018

Welcome back, a day later! Yesterday, along with editing this Journal, I put together next season’s agenda, opening and closing dates and important days. Here is a review of the more salient dates. We are opening Barnacle Billy’s (Original) on April 5, 2019 at 11:00 AM, barring any unforeseen weather problems. Original will be closed on Monday, April 8, 2019 until Friday, April 12, 2019 at 11:00 AM. From that time on, we will be open daily until Sunday, October 27, 2019. That last date is...Read More

Tim Tower, November 28, 2018

The day after the last day that we closed at Barnacle Billy’s, Etc., November 4, 2018, I wrote five paragraphs in this Journal on the highlights of the fall season. When I went to upload the text, something happened that I still can’t figure out. And I deleted the whole mess! Ouch! So I gave up until now.  After our summer season, the best summer we have ever had, the fall was, pretty much, the opposite.  The fall didn’t take all of our gains but it wasn’t what...Read More

Tim Tower, September 10, 2018

As you might have noticed, I have been working on building a new web site with the help of Dan Roche. Dan and his brother, Matt, used to have Chamberworks, the company that helped us design our first web site in 1995.  This new one has been slow in coming. I initiated proceedings in January of this year.  It wasn’t top priority. And there are other winter projects more vital than renewing a site we already have.  The reason I mention it here is, like anything new, it will t...Read More

Tim Tower, April 24, 2018

January in Ogunquit in 2018 was cold, one of the coldest Januarys I have seen.  The first week of February was much the same. Mild weather came upon us for the next two weeks in February. We started to active storm systems during the last week in February. March was a stormy month with three noreasters of good strength and one that grazed us, moving offshore far enough to not bother.  Still, the tide on the three were high enough to be close to the dining room floor, with one with such...Read More

Tim Tower, November 8, 2016

Now that we have closed both restaurants, the cleaning of both progresses.  My brother, Court, and Matt Pedersen are working on getting Barnacle Billy's (Original) cleaned up while Chuck MacDonald and Chad Schools are running clean-up at Barnacle Billy's, Etc.  I'm making sure that everything is going according to plan and that everything is where it should be for winter storage after all the clean-up is finished.  We have to ...Read More

Tim Tower, October 24, 2016

Our 55th year at Barnacle Billy's (original) ended last night.  We had no deck; it was a little too cool for most patrons. However, there were some brave souls who said it wasn't bad in the sun.  Summers end way too quickly. And good people leave too soon.  And the way time works for me, the 56th year will be here before you know it.  But last night was fun. And we were short staffed.  So I bussed many tables.  That's how I started working at Barnacle...Read More

Tim Tower, June 14, 2016

Welcome.  Sorry about not updating this site as much as I probably should.  But it has been busier than normal. And I have been busier than ever. Not that I can really use that as an excuse. What did my father say; "If you want to get a job done, find a busy man to do it."? Enough.Our business has been very good lately. Our first ten days after opening were spectacular. I thought to myself; "Here we go." But the cold set in after that. No one wanted to sit on the deck; it was too cold ...Read More

Tim Tower, April 24, 2016

The following opening weekends/week have been very good, some of our best days when comparing the same days of the year in previous seasons.  We are so weather driven here. The weather has been good, albeit, a little cooler than normal. But I really think the good weather has helped our business this April - so far.  Some of the highlights of the recent past included the reenactment of the Boston Tea Party at the Barnacle Billy's dock on my deep sea fishing the...Read More

Tim Tower, April 7, 2016

After closing last year, my main focus was to get our winter projects list in order and to start moving on them. After the previous winter, I was expecting the same; a cold very snowy off-season.  Our biggest project, a total repair of the support pieces (pilings, deck floor joists, 13 major "I" beams, etc) and foundation at Barnacle Billy's (original), didn't really get off the ground until the first of December. The "I" beams that had already been ordered were still being galvan...Read More

Tim Tower, November 11, 2015

The Barnacle Billy's season came and went. It goes by more quickly every year. Looking back, it was a very successful year, both in weather and business.  The fall weather was particularly good with very little rain, much less wind and sunnier days than we expect to get that time of year.  Being a lobster based restaurant, I always look at lobsters differently than most.  Looking back, lobster prices were higher than normal this season. This trend continued through the s...Read More

Tim Tower, July 9, 2015

It's been over a month since I last wrote.  At that time lobster prices were dropping. And, indeed, prices on pound and a quarter and pound and a half lobsters did fall to more reasonable levels.  But that was as far  as it went.  Lobster meat prices also dropped - but, then, went right back up!  So, historically, we are paying more for lobster meat now than we ever have paid this time of year during other seasons.  And the price of big lobsters is still very high. ...Read More

Tim Tower, June 3, 2015

We started to have complaints about the web cam on Sunday. I took at look at the camera (from the computer) which made me think it was a humidity problem.  On Monday, it started to rain. Late that morning I pulled up the Company's email account to find various notes from others around the country asking about the web cam being down.  Indeed, I could not pull the camera up in-house.  So I walked out on the roof to physically look at the camera.The camera is located in a waterproof ...Read More

Tim Tower, May 30, 2015

The 26th of May would have been our father's birthday.  He would have been 88 years old.  There has been so much going on that I would love to tell him about. These things make me think of "Billy" more often than not.  There are also those things that keep cropping up around the restaurant that are a constant reminder of my (our) father. And, when we caught our first spring of the year mackerel on the Bunny Clark (this boat named after my mother) last week, I thought of ...Read More

Tim Tower, May 8, 2015

The month of April will be most noted for the high price of lobster meat and lobster products.  At one point we were paying $58/pound for handpicked fresh local lobster meat.  The price never did go below the mid $50s for the month.  Normally, we labor through these prices that last about a week before prices fall.  Not this year. The sea water temperature was so cold that lobsters didn't crawl much.  Since the northeastern U. S. has established a huge Chinese export mar...Read More

Tim Tower, April 4, 2015

Yesterday was the best opening day we have ever had at Barnacle Billy's. Not only was it a financial success on every level, there were no complaints (that I heard of) and everything ran as smoothly as if there were half the patrons.  I was happy, our staff was happy and the customers, to a person, were all very happy to be there.  My sister Meg started the day at 7:00 AM (or maybe earlier).  She worked the floor until 4:00 PM.  Many customers were grateful she...Read More

Tim Tower, April 2, 2015

The valet parking lot is devoid of snow, it has been swept and the fence around it, where it was hit by the town plows this winter, has been repaired and painted. We have most of our product in house including the crab that was picked yesterday. The lobster stew will be made today for tomorrows opening. The lobster meat for the stew was picked yesterday. Lobsters will be in later this morning.  Steamers will also arrive this morning.  We are on track to be completely ready by this afte...Read More

Tim Tower, March 30, 2015

The winter was one of the coldest winters we have seen in many years.  Overall it probably wasn't as cold as the ambient temperature of the winter of  2013/2014 because December was so much warmer than normal and the first week of January was much the same.  But the rest of January & February had to be the coldest and snowiest period we have seen or, I should say, that I can remember.  And because March followed suit in the cold department, the snow we did have stayed. &n...Read More

Tim Tower, October 20, 2014

We closed Barnacle Billy's (original) last night, the first Barnacle Billy's restaurant my father started over fifty-three years ago. My mother, Bunny, was there as well as many many familiar and loved faces and friends.  The last week of the season I am frequently asked two questions: "Are you looking forward to closing on Sunday?" and "What are you going to do when you close?". They are fair questions. But I always get a chuckle out of both.  First, no, I nev...Read More

Tim Tower, May 26, 2014

Today would have been our father's (Billy's) birthday. He would have been 87 years old today.  And it was a day in weather that he would have said matched his feelings about the day; a warm day with mostly cloudy conditions, a bit of light rain here and there but a good day to be alive.  He used to remind me that when asked  what he wanted for his birthday, Frank Sinatra replied; "Another one!" Well, unfortunately, both highly respected individuals don't get that chance ...Read More

Tim Tower, April 8, 2014

Opening weekend followed opening day with better than expected business but coming in at third overall.  It was a cool weekend but a sunny Sunday with moderate winds overall and mild temperatures into the 50°s. The thing that always makes me love the opening weekend is the customers. I don't always know everyone's name. But it seems I recognize everyone, at least.  And that makes it feel like family.  Our father, Billy, was always tuned in on that aspect as well.  In fa...Read More

Tim Tower, April 5, 2014

Opening day was better than anticipated. Except for being a bit cold, the weather was perfect.  Sunny cloudless skies started the day with light wind and  temperatures in the low 40°s. Business was steady during the day and right out straight after 6:00 PM.  No records were broken in either food or drink.  But we got close in both categories.  The whole family (except Mom) was there including some of the nicest regular customers we see.  I was delighted to see ...Read More

Tim Tower, April 3, 2014

So ends the coldest winter we have seen in Ogunquit for over twenty years.  I'm sure we have had colder and snowier winters in the past. But we have had such warm winters during the previous years, this one seemed like an anomaly.  It was a great year for skiers, albeit a bit too cold at times.  For my part, I haven't put on the boards for the last three years. I used to love skiing but a lot has been going on.Despite the weather, our capital projects were completed as planned. &n...Read More

Tim Tower, January 29, 2014

After a small warming trend last weekend, we went back into the deep freeze.  Just before the freeze up, Central Maine Power was down, with the help of Bridges Electric, and changed the weather head where the wires lead into Barnacle Billy's (original).  In July of 2012 CMP had broken the weather head when their bucket truck caught the wires and pulled them off the building.  I realized at the time (we lost our power on that July day) that the wi...Read More

Tim Tower, January 17, 2014

The winter routine is upon us.  We passed our liquor/fire inspection for both restaurants yesterday.  Court and I went through the restaurants with the fire department representatives and Ogunquit's new Code Enforcement Officer, Scott, a real nice guy.  There have been relatively few snow storms this winter, three major ones and one smaller one, all of which where, after, we had to shovel snow.  One struck on the highest tide of the winter.  But the wind direct...Read More

Tim Tower, December 24, 2013

It has been a roller coaster ride for my family and I at Barnacle Billy's since the end of July.  On August 22, 2013, a local fisherman and close family friend, Billy McIntire, was lost at sea after he took his boat out of Perkins Cove that night.  Billy's body was never recovered even though the incident happened within a mile from shore.  Needless to say, closure for family and friends was not attained in the manner with which all would have liked.  Know...Read More

Tim Tower, July 20, 2013

Billy Tower, father of the four of us (Meg, Court, Cathy and me - Tim) passed away in our mother's arms, Bunny Clark Tower, at 3:00 PM EDT on Tuesday, July 16, 2013, after just getting out of the hospital with pneumonia complications. This after taking a drive through Perkins Cove only moments before leaving us. He died of pulmonary/cardio complications. Of course, Billy Tower will be most known for starting Barnacle Billy's and as one of the most suc...Read More