Many bars claim to be a place “where everybody knows your name.” Sitting at the bar at Union House Pub and Pizza and listening to the owners greet practically every person who entered by name, I’m kind of convinced that’s actually true here.

Jack and Vassie Fowler bought the Union House Cafe almost three years ago in the newly renovated North Dam Mill project on the Saco River in Biddeford. With businesses and stores opening up all along the updated Main Street and mill projects on Saco Island, the location was perfect to serve the up-and-coming Biddeford community.

Finding Union House is a slight challenge, but it’s worth it. It’s a gem, hidden in the back corner of the mill behind a column on the same floor as the parking lot.

Within the first year of business, the new owners realized that the space was not being used as a coffee shop. It was where people gathered during lunch to chat or where they stopped after work to unwind. With the opening of some bars and pubs in the area, they saw their clientele diminishing further.

Recognizing the niche where they could find success, the Fowlers went online and bought a used pizza oven. They had a bar built into the small cafe space. And they started offering deals on the most popular beer at many of the local bars, Pabst Blue Ribbon ($2 pounder cans).

They haven’t looked back once.

Over the bar hang three televisions, tuned generally to sports and news. Like clockwork, however, as soon as the popular show “Cash Cab” comes on, the TV channel is flipped and everyone at the bar is watching intently and chiming in with answers. It’s like a huge digital version of Trivial Pursuit, except instead of pie pieces you celebrate a correct answer with another pint.

With such a small space there is no room to keep kegs cool, so beer is by the bottle and can. My Sam Adams Winter ($3.50) proved the perfect warm-up for a cold December night. My new friends at the bar drank either PBR or Miller High Life ($1.50).

The bar is fully stocked with an array of liquors for any number of drinks, mixed with a smile and a loving dose of sarcasm from the owners. “We treat you like family here,” quips Vassie. “We put on a show almost with our joking and sense of humor. We like things loud and a little rambunctious here at Union House.”

The Fowlers have fiercely dedicated themselves and the space to being a place for the people of Biddeford to gather, support each other and local businesses, and give back to the community. The night I was there, for example, a call came in from the local Public Works Department about work being done outside on Main Street.

“Do you need anything? Pizza, coffee, drinks?” Vassie asked. “Make sure to tell folks they can come in and grab a drink afterwards.”

On Sunday, the Fowlers closed to the general public and had a special holiday party for their regular customers. Price of admission was a toy for the Toys for Tots program. Hundreds of toys were collected, a reflection of the community the Fowlers have built at Union House Pub and Pizza.

Elisa Doucette is a freelance writer who lives in Portland.