Brickyard Hollow Brewing Co. may be only 7 months old, but it is already at a crossroads. I mean that in both a literal and figurative sense.

Geographically, the brewery and upscale pub sits on a divot of land that the village of Yarmouth built up from paper-mill ash more than a century ago. The town’s plan was to build schools and a library on the new flat stretch of ground, using the erstwhile indentation to unite the town’s disparate communities: wealthy shipbuilders and sea-captains on one side, laborers and farmers on the other.

“In the 1850s, the two groups didn’t get along that well, so the town leaders filled in Brickyard Hollow. We loved that idea and the name reflects our goal, too: that we want to bring the community together,” co-owner Brad Moll said. “You can even see it on the photo mural on our wall that shows a winter carnival from then. It was a chance to bring the whole community together, and our building is sitting right in the middle of that.”

To be fair, he doesn’t mean the existing structure itself, which isn’t anywhere near that old. Once a 7-Eleven, then a laundromat, the building started out boxy and nondescript, but Moll and co-owner Frank Grondin tore out everything from the foundation slab to the gabled roof, replacing them with modern updates like poured concrete flooring, exposed brick walls and twiggy, abstract light fixtures with exposed Edison bulbs. They built a 40-seat patio extension to bring the total capacity of the restaurant close to 100 in the warmer months. It’s a stylish makeover – you’d never guess Slurpees were for sale here, once upon a time.

In their place, you’ll find eight or nine house-brewed beers on draft, plus a few local favorites to round out the pub’s dozen taps. Both the Brickyard Hollow Blonde ($3.50 for 8 ounces), a medium-bodied, hoppy ale with some spice and citrus on the finish, and the malty, dry-hopped IPA “Three” ($5 for 8 ounces), are excellent, demonstrating the high caliber of what’s bubbling in the four enormous fermentation tanks at the rear of the building.

What’s perhaps less impressive is the feast-or-famine quality of the service. When my guests and I arrived, the host/server looked at us quickly, then turned away with an indifferent shrug, calling back to her colleague in staccato tones: “Hey. Customers. Seat ’em.”


Fortunately, the server who snapped to attention also stuck around for the rest of our meal. She, it turned out, was warm and knowledgeable about drinks – steering one of us to the fruity, tequila-based La Sal cocktail ($11) when she heard we were in the mood for something refreshing and tart – as well as the menu.

No easy feat, when you consider the sweeping scope of dishes on offer at Brickyard Hollow. According to chef and kitchen manager Don Rankin, the menu is “global-style fusion, with a little Asian flair, Mexican flair. It just reaches across a variety of tastes,” he said.

Frequently, menus characterized by more breadth than depth wind up being disappointments. It’s hard enough to master one country’s traditions, let alone half a dozen of them. But by and large, Brickyard Hollow acquits itself pretty well, despite getting a little impressionistic with its perspective on the cuisines themselves.

The tap selection at Brickyard Holllow.

The (sort of) Italian-inspired Modena salad ($9 large), a sharable plate of balsamic-vinaigrette-dressed mixed lettuce greens, bacon, red onions, and chiffonaded strips of fresh basil felt like a savory new twist on salad, thanks in part to the addition of decidedly non-Italian elements like smoked Gouda, and salted, smokehouse almonds.

Technicolor pink, char-grilled strips of “Chinese” pork loin steeped in a Saigon-cinnamon-forward, Asian-inspired marinade ($9) were just as approximate in their cultural fidelity. But boy, were they tender and gorgeously grill-marked. Ignore the ramekin of bottled Thai sweet chili sauce, though; it’s a complete non sequitur.

The cross-cultural experiment derails from time to time, as with the tough, underseasoned jerk chicken sandwich ($13). Here, strips of dark meat are dry-rubbed with Nutmeg Spice Company’s Jamaican jerk seasoning, then grilled in batches twice a week on the outdoor grill. Chicken cooked in advance rarely stays moist, and this dish is no exception. Also stale: the dry, dusty-tasting Mexican churros ($6), fried from dough bought from Izzy’s Cheesecake in Portland and served with a dense vanilla ice cream so unexceptional that not even Rankin could remember where it was from.


Our neighbors to the north get the most faithful global-plates treatment in the form of an above-average version of bacon poutine ($10), made with crispy, battered fries (the same distributor-sourced fries Brickyard Hollow uses as an accompaniment for all its sandwiches), beef gravy (from concentrate) and barely melted Pineland Farms cheese curds.

Which brings me to the other critical junction where Brickyard Hollow finds itself.

I asked Rankin about the pre-prepared components in so many of the restaurant’s dishes and got a response I’ve heard elsewhere, more than once, at kitchens where I was struck by the unfulfilled potential of the menu. “We’re not big enough to roast large bones and make our own demi-glaces,” he said. “It’s a small kitchen.”

And so far, the food is decent, even with mixed-provenance dishes like the satisfying and well-cooked BH burger ($13) that incorporates a few locally sourced ingredients like Pineland Farms ground beef sitting cheek-by-jowl with corporate ones, like bottled barbecue sauce and vacuum-packed fried onions.

But there are signs here and there that Brickyard Hollow could be better than it is – perhaps a lot better.

Take the Key lime scallops ($21): six plump, Harbor Fish Market scallops, seared caramel-brown top and bottom, yet still wobbly and pudding-like inside, with an effervescent tartness from creamy lime vinaigrette and penetrating bite from chopped scallions. They are as good as any scallops I’ve had in southern Maine.


Even the composed salad they’re served on is thoughtfully put together, with pea shoots, roasted red peppers, pepitas, and more of that Key lime dressing. You may also notice a theme here – nothing on this plate comes out of a can or a box, and it’s a stunner of a dish.

Perhaps now, before summer seduces back its swarms of visitors, is the time for the business to consider what kind of restaurant should service its standout brewery. Sticking with the status quo of boxed ingredients is an inglorious, but easy option. The other route will admittedly require some work, but just like the historic location of Brickyard Hollow itself, it is already halfway there.

Andrew Ross has written about food and dining in New York and the United Kingdom. He and his work have been featured on Martha Stewart Living Radio and in The New York Times. He is the recipient of two 2018 Critic’s Awards from the Maine Press Association. Contact him at:


Twitter: AndrewRossME

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.