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 never look forward to closing. I love doing what I do here. I hate the season to end. But, at the same time, I know the summer is over. It would be a dismal stretch between weekends, the restaurant does not have winter heat, nor is the building insulated and the storms, etc., would make it a logistical nightmare in the ordering department. So I hate to close but I know we can't stay open.
Second, there is much to do after the season is over. So I work. I work on the Bunny Clark Deep Sea Fishing business, the boat named after my mother. I have a capital projects list that I work with in the winter for the upkeep & repairs part of the out-of-season Barnacle Billy's business (the retaining wall was the major one last season). I work with all the other managers (my brother, Court) on the employee base, the structure of, placement, rates, sections, etc. We go over orders as well. And then there is the day to day, letting workers into the buildings, working on improvements, painting, varnishing, polishing, cleaning and the all important desk work. Usually, everything is completely finished (except for my boat) by the end of February. At that time I take a break with my wife. My brother, Court, watches the restaurant - actually, he always watches the restaurants even when I'm in town. And he starts the process of opening "Original" while I'm still on vacation. My sisters, Meg and Cathy, also watch the restaurant, Meg helping where she can. Cathy does a lot of the office stuff (along with Sarah Yorke, our head bookkeeper).
There is one other question I am asked all during the season: "Where is Meg?". They are referring to my sister, Meg, who is just one of the nicest individuals you will ever meet - and she is my sister besides. How can I be so lucky? I don't know. I do know that Meg is one of the most well liked members of my family among our dining guests. Meg does not work on the weekends. And this disappoints most patrons who ask. But I tell them that if they want to see her, they have to be there on Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday before 4:00 PM. Many make the time to be there at the restaurant on those days just to see her. She is so helpful to me (and to my brother, Court) that I can't express my feelings strong enough for you to get the point. Suffice it to say that when she surprised me yesterday morning (a Sunday) at 6:30 AM telling me that she was going to be there for the closing day, I almost cried. Well that's one "other" day that I didn't have to answer the "Meg question"!
Well, it's another season's end. I want to thank everyone (patrons and employees) for making this one of the two best years that we have ever been open. To my recollection (and I can't bounce this one off my father), as well as being one of the two most successful seasons we have ever had, it was also the smoothest run season I can remember. The total season is not over yet. We still have two happy weeks with Barnacle Billy's, Etc and with that wonderful Chuck MacDonald at the helm. I will be spending most of my time there. And I will enjoy the last few days there. But time does go by fast. At least, it goes by fast for me. Thank you all for allowing me to do this with my family. And thank you, family, for your support and help. I couldn't do this on my own. Winter well as my father would say and as Robin & Laura Lee would remind me!
50-70 Perkins Cove Road, Ogunquit, ME 03907