WINDHAM — When Buck’s Naked BBQ off Roosevelt Trail permanently closed in May after 10 years, Westbrook restaurateur Dan Drouin saw an opportunity – even during a pandemic – to open a new neighborhood spot.

“I’ve looked around for a fair amount of time for another location, and this location popped up as available,” said Drouin, who owns Stockhouse Restaurant and Sports Pub on Main Street in Westbrook.

Buck’s Naked’s owner told the Bangor Daily News in June that the deep loss in profits due to the pandemic and a growing stack of bills made it impossible for her to keep her business running.

Unfazed by those circumstances, Drouin said, “I think instead of (shying) away from COVID times, I’ve tried to embrace this as much as I can.”

He hopes to have all of the licenses and renovation for his second location completed for an Oct. 1 opening, he said.

“I am thrilled that it’s opening,” said Robin Mullins, the Sebago Lakes Region Chamber of Commerce Executive Director. “We’ve had a handful of businesses that have closed because of the pandemic and we certainly don’t want to see that … But we’re optimistic that there is another business that is willing to come in during a very difficult time.”

The Windham location will be called the Stockhouse Restaurant and Sandbar Pub for “more of a lake vibe,” Drouin said, given its Lakes Region location.

Drouin said the menu is still being worked on, but it will be similar to that of his Westbrook location with a variety of pub food such as burgers, sandwiches and chicken wings.

The Westbrook restaurant, which celebrated its 15th anniversary in July, stayed open for takeout in the early days of the pandemic and then opened for outdoor dining. Even though the restaurant still cannot be at full capacity, Drouin said he has been encouraged by its success through such a difficult time.

“We weren’t overly confident, but we were open … (It’s) important to be open and available,” he said.

He is leasing the Windham location, but plans to buy it after the pandemic has passed, he said.

The restaurant has three floors and two decks – enough to comfortably and safely seat patrons using Maine’s Center for Disease Control and Prevention dining guidelines, Drouin said.

He doesn’t plan to extend seating to the parking lot, but said,if there are long wait lines like at his Westbrook location, he’ll use that space to ensure proper physical distancing for people while they wait to be seated.

The Town Council passed a resolution in May that makes it easier for business owners to apply for a change of use permit to move some seating and merchandise outside during the pandemic.

There has been some buzz from residents about the new restaurant since Drouin launched its Facebook page in mid-August, which already has nearly 2,000 “likes.”

“Excited to have another restaurant in Windham, can’t wait for you to open,” wrote Mary Ann Morrison Cumming.

More than a few people inquired if the new spot will also host the Westbrook location’s popular “wing night.”

Drouin added that if the pandemic continues into next year, he will be “aggressive (with) outdoor seating.”

He said that they will start off with 30 to 40 part- and full-time employees and see how it goes for the first few months.

“(We’re) being optimistic. I think we’ll be pleasantly busy when we first open, just like down in Westbrook,” Drouin said.

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