Let’s begin with a prediction: This time next summer, southern Mainers will be stalking the location of a food truck called Thoroughfare, using Instagram and Twitter updates to track down their next lunch.

For those of us still powering our way through the Twilight Zone episode we like to call “2020,” there is no Thoroughfare truck yet — just a fun, sandwich-oriented takeout business that operates out of Yarmouth’s riverfront Sparhawk Mill.

If that location sounds familiar, that is because until March, the space housed Dandelion Catering and The Garrison. I’ve made no efforts to hide my affection for Christian Hayes’ modern-American restaurant. How could I, when its eclectic, masterfully executed menu made it my pick for Best New Restaurant of 2019?

A few months ago, when Hayes (co-owner and executive chef) placed his restaurant on hiatus, the move’s swiftness drew quite a bit of attention on social media. But as Hayes told me he had no other choice: “When everything started to get scary in March, people didn’t understand the implications of the pandemic, and it was terrifying, so we made the call sooner than most,” he said. “It was heartbreaking, but it didn’t feel right to be open. I remember brunch service was just getting its landing gear up, and I saw people with babies in the dining room. I looked at my wife (co-owner Christine Hayes) and said, ‘We shouldn’t be doing this.’ ”

False-starts followed, including one early attempt where Hayes took on all the labor himself. “That was awful,” he said. “Having to do it all on my own made me work a 19-hour day, sleep for six hours, then cook for 29 hours straight. All our weddings were canceled, so it came out of desperation. But I just couldn’t do it all by myself.”

In June, when members of his former staff were ready to return to work, Hayes debuted two new contact-free businesses: Dandelion Market, a grocery store offering ready-to-cook proteins, herbs and produce from The Garrison’s own garden and imported specialty goods like Marques de Valdueza honeys and olive oil; and Thoroughfare, a restaurant focusing (mostly) on summery comfort foods, or as the website dubs it, “trashy, sexy take-out.”

French fries from Thoroughfare Photo by Andrew Ross

This time around, longevity and sustainability were part of the businesses’ design, so that when The Garrison eventually returns, Thoroughfare can be spun off as a mobile kitchen.

“My dream is to stick Thoroughfare into a trailer,” Hayes said. “That’s the idea behind the branding. It’s grab-and-go, food you’d get on a highway, like messy, delicious burgers. I also wanted to segregate the brand from The Garrison, because it’s so different, and it’s important not to misrepresent that.”

While the two restaurants are indeed radically different, the quality of execution at Thoroughfare is superb, in line with what you’d expect from The Garrison.

Sandwiches like beef short rib, braised for nearly four hours in ginger and soy, then shredded, blanketed with melted American cheese, and mounded onto an egg-washed potato roll ($15), or crisp, Panko-coated deep-fried chicken breast dipped into a sticky gochujang-honey glaze ($15) showcase attention to texture and balance.

Whut Whut in the Chut, a grilled red hot dog ($5) with golden-raisin-studded lime-cilantro chutney. Photo by Andrew Ross

Even snappy, grilled red hots ($5) get a luxury upgrade – spoonfuls of golden-raisin-studded lime-cilantro chutney – and a hilariously bawdy name, “Whut Whut in the Chut.” Don’t let the pun distract you: This is a stellar dog.

Elsewhere on Thoroughfare’s menu, you’ll find unabashed references to what Hayes was doing at The Garrison. Some, like the nigella-flecked, buttermilk-dressed cucumber salad with baby cauliflower, arugula and Flying Goat Farm feta ($12) have been borrowed wholesale from the old menu and offer a tonic to heavier sandwiches and pepper-dusted french fries ($6). Others seem like pitch-shifted callbacks to former dishes, like rich, ductile brown butter chocolate-chip cookies ($9/half-dozen) that echo sweet-savory themes of the former menu’s gluten-free pastry. Except at Thoroughfare, gluten is not only accepted, it is embraced.

Those fantastic cookies are also available through Dandelion Market, along with the makings for a seasonal backyard dinner that feels every bit as celebratory as dining out does.

To start, grab your briquets or propane and heat up your grill. (If you don’t have a grill, a grill pan also works.) You’ll need it hot for Dandelion’s North Star Sheep Farm ground lamb patties ($13 for two). Serve those burgers with roasted fennel, French beans, parsnips and carrots ($14/two large servings) and, in place of burger buns, a bright, citrusy pasta topped with a garden’s worth of herbs. I’ve adapted a favorite recipe so that its flavors parallel those in the lamb burgers and – just as importantly – harmonize with the gingery, tangy elements of Dandelion Market’s rye-based Gold Rush cocktail ($16 for two).

Here’s to summer at home.

Dandelion Market’s rye-based Gold Rush cocktail ($16 for two). Photo by Andrew Ross

Grilled lemon pasta with feta and herbs
(adapted from Judy Kim)

1 pound dried pasta of your choice (linguine, spaghetti or penne work well)
2 halved lemons, zested and deseeded
Olive oil ($18/500 milliliters) for brushing lemons and grill (no more than ¼ cup)
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoon butter ($5.25/pound)
Pinch red pepper flakes
Freshly ground black pepper
1 cup chicken stock
1 teaspoon honey ($16/9 ounces)
2/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese ($24/block), plus more for topping pasta
1/3 cup crumbled feta cheese ($10/8 ounces), plus more for topping pasta
About ½-1 cup fresh mint leaves ($2/bunch), torn, plus a few leaves for garnish
About 1 tablespoon fresh oregano ($2/bunch), leaves only

Bring salted water to a boil and cook the pasta according to the directions, until it is al dente. Drain and reserve at least one cup of the salty, starchy pasta water.

Brush a hot grill with olive oil (or use a grill pan heated to medium-high). Brush the pulpy side of the lemon halves with olive oil and sear them for a few minutes, until they develop grill marks and are lightly browned, about 2-3 minutes. Remove and set them aside.

In a saucepan or skillet large enough to hold the cooked pasta, melt butter over medium-low heat. Add the garlic, red pepper flakes and black pepper and cook them until the garlic has softened, about 1-2 minutes. Increase the heat to medium and add the chicken stock and honey to the pan. Squeeze the juice from both of the grilled lemons into the liquid. Season with salt and continue to heat.

Add the cooked, drained pasta to the pot and stir to combine. Add the Parmesan and feta cheeses and stir. If the pasta is too dry, loosen it with a few spoonfuls of the pasta water you have reserved. Cook until cheeses have melted a bit and the pasta is cooked to your taste.

Stir in the lemon zest and herbs and transfer the pasta to a large bowl or plate. Top the pasta with Parmesan and feta and a few of the remaining torn mint leaves.

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