Friday, November 18, 2016

Business Spotlight - The Boat Launch Cafe, Pub & Variety - By Michelle Libby

Maine, the way it should be at The Boat Launch Pub & Variety. Locals and tourists can pick up their  
favorite beverage, a burger and bait for fishing locally on one of the many lakes. This one-stop shop is part convenience store, part pub with great food and a wide selection of beer and wine, and, of course, bait for a fishing trip.
“I’ve waited for this spot for over 20 years,” said owner Dan Roberts, former owner of Maine Street Grill, which went out of business. Now that he has the location at the corner of Routes 35 and 114 in Standish, he plans to make the most out of the location and the great locals and tourists who travel that area on their way to the lake, the trails or the mountains. He brought his head cook and three other staff members from Maine Street Grill to run The Boat Launch. 

“We’re Happy Days all grown up,” he said. The pub offers pizza, awesome burgers, fish and comfort food. There are televisions all over the shop and a jute box has a place of honor in the back of the pub.  

“We simplified from what we were doing at the Maine Street Grill,” he said. They have worked on the menu for the past two months, perfecting what people wanted. 

“It’s not your normal sandwich shop.” They offer an outstanding LA Bomb, a loaded steak and cheese sub with mushrooms, onions, green peppers, pepperoni, hot cherry peppers and bacon. Their sirloin burgers are half a pound in two patties piled high. “They just want to jump in your mouth and fall off your face,” Roberts said. 

“We brought the restaurant quality here,” he said. “We’re a restaurant hidden as a convenience store.” From the $5.95 Italian to the bread on the BLT, The Boat Launch has received rave reviews. The pizza they make has won seven awards when put up against pizzas from all over the lakes region.
The Boat Launch offers seafood in the summer and he hopes to get a lobster tank and ice cream bar, but acknowledges that he can’t do everything at once. They use their own fresh breading on the thin cut onion rings and fried pickles. 

“They’re going to be surprised about our pizza and calzones. It’s good food, good times and good friends,” Roberts said. “It’s comfort food, not fancy.” 

He subscribes to the “cornerhood bar theory.” Everyone needs a local place to hang out, meet up with friends and get a bite to eat. It’s a great location to meet people and for networking. The bar serves 20 beers on tap and at least 10 different bottles of wine. Happy hour is between 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. daily.
The Boat Launch offers breakfast until 11 a.m. every morning, which is the only place the Standish side of the lake that offers breakfast, he said. The breakfast menu can be found on their Facebook page. They have a selection of grab and go breakfast sandwiches. For those who want stay and eat they offer a breakfast deal, $5.99 for a breakfast sandwich, home fries and coffee. They also have eggs, omelets, French toast and pancakes and $5 mimosas every day. 
“Even when it snows, I’ll be open,” he said. “Plow people need a place to get food and a hot drink,” he said. “We’ve also always been that good stop for the bikers.” 

Roberts is a Mainer at heart. He returned to Maine 15 years ago with his two children. He enjoys fishing by himself or with his customers. That is one of the reason he offers bait for fishermen. For ice fishing he will have shiners and smelts. There is plenty of parking and he is quick with a smile or a joke. 

Roberts has many plans to make life easier for boaters, fishermen and others who enjoy the outdoors and want to stop in for a quick meal. 

The Boat Lunch is open from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. for grab and go food or to stay and visit in the pub section. Place orders at 207-648-4378.

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