Friday, June 17, 2016

Business spotlight - Merced's on Brandy Pond - By Michelle Libby

Located just before the bridge in Naples, Merced’s on Brandy Pond has one of the best views in the lakes region with vistas of both Brandy Pond and Long Lake. The panorama is only outdone by the food served at this unique restaurant, which serves an eclectic selection of Maine favorites with fresh twists that make them stand out as Merced’s.

Owner Frank Merced insists that the food in either of his restaurants, Merced’s or Franco’s Bistro, be made and prepared fresh from scratch. With recipes that he creates himself, Frank conjures up dishes that will make one’s mouth water. 

Dinners like herb and bleu cheese encrusted tournedos, chicken macadamia and wild mushroom ravioli make Merced’s exceptional with its special homemade sauces and pastas. He serves high end steaks and filets. One of the most popular dishes is the Maine shellfish estiva, which is sautéed lobster meat, shrimp and scallops tossed with mushrooms, red peppers and snap peas, in a lobster sauce over fresh pasta and sprinkled with pecorino Romano. 

“That’s my concept. Offer fresh. I’m basically doubling down. I don’t compromise that,” he said referring to Franco’s Bistro in Windham and Merced’s in Naples.
Dinner guests must leave room for the homemade desserts. They can choose from crème Brule, chocolate amaretto cake, lemon cheesecake with blueberry sauce or an ice cream puff with homemade chocolate sauce. 

This weekend, Frank is ready for the Maine Blues Festival and Father’s Day, preparing 200 Ciabatta rolls and special dishes to share with the music lovers. There will be lighter fare on Saturday. “It’s not the day to relax and have a nice dinner, he said. “The music is nice and loud.” There will be six bands playing the Merceds’ parking lot with a solo artist in the evening playing soft blues. 

The festival is a “collective effort, with good exposure. The town offers something unique and it’s only Maine bands,” Frank said. 

Merced’s opened five years ago after Frank got a call from a friend who said it was for sale. It was a tiki bar, Frank said. At the time he was the executive chef at the Holiday Inn by the Bay, so he looked into it. “As soon as I saw it, I said, ‘There’s some potential there’.”

With 20 to 30 employees in the summer, Merced’s is hopping with its two floors of seating and two outside decks. After 5 p.m. boaters can tie up the main dock and walk the few hundred feet to Merced’s. And if they don’t want to eat in, Merced’s offers its entire menu to go. The fun, casual restaurant can seat 135 inside and out and can host private parties for up to 60 people. 

There is a full bar with Maine and New England brews on tap. They also have an extensive wine list.
“They get to leave here happy,” Frank said of his customers. He knows the customers who frequent the area because he has been a chef in the lakes region for 30 years. There are plenty of restaurants, but Frank knows his concept keeps the guest coming back. “We all offer our different things, but not like this,” he said.
For those guests who prefer vegetarian options, Merced’s has a vegetarian salad featuring a
homemade lemon and thyme vinaigrette. The summer menu is not yet planned, and although Frank will keep the fan favorite items like the ravioli and the baked stuffed shrimp, he is marinating on new recipes to delight and keep his guests and their taste buds on their toes.

As the chef and owner, Frank makes sure to speak to most of his customers while they’re eating. By checking in, he is able to create the rapport with them that makes them feel special. “One of our successes is that I’m able to do that,” he said. 

When Frank can’t be at one of the restaurants his wife Elaine, who runs Merced’s, takes care of the customers. 

Merced’s sous chef is Alan Mitch, who has been working in a kitchen for 15 years.  

Merced’s on Brandy Pond is open for dinner from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. every night. They close at 8 p.m. on Sundays. In July they will begin opening for lunches on weekends. For more, find them on facebook, visit www.Merced’ or call ahead for reservations at 207-693-5332.    

No comments:

Post a Comment