Barber Bros Meat and Provisions courtesy photo/ Barber Bros.

Barber Bros. Meat & Provisions of Knightville recently made the transition from operating food trucks and a restaurant to establishing a neighborhood butcher shop and market in South Portland.

“We’re grateful for the experience and opportunities that the restaurants and food trucks provide — fast-paced, direct-service environments taught us to work nimbly in the face of unexpected challenges and, on more than one occasion, literally put out fires,” said Jack Barber.

Jack and Max Barber are brothers and co-owners of Mainely Burgers. Their new business is named Barber Bros. Meat & Provisions. The brothers grew up in Cape Elizabeth and started their first food truck business in 2012. It grew into a seasonal fleet of food trucks and a Mainely Burgers restaurant in Boston.

“Working in the hospitality industry through COVID forced us to think about how we can sustainably serve the community long-term, and we saw a market as the ideal venue to showcase and grow our meat selection and expand prepared food offerings,” said Jack Barber.

Max Barber, David Barber, Dorie Barber and Jack Barber courtesy photo/ Barber Bros.

The Barber brothers said their family legacy is deeply rooted in the food business. The brothers are the grandsons of Augustus “Gus” Barber who started a meat business from the back of a truck in 1955m which grew into Barber Foods at one time employing more than 600 people at a Portland facility, according to the Press Herald The company is currently owned by Tyson.

They said Barber Bros. faces the challenge of balancing tradition and innovation at their new establishment. Their father, David Barber, who worked for Barber Foods for more than 40 years, fine-tunes the classics and tests new products, providing invaluable guidance. Their mother, Dorie Barber, brings her experience from a family bakery business in Ohio and collaborates with local vendors to curate the market’s offerings.


When it comes to sourcing locally, the team leverages their relationships with vendors and meat producers. “The past 11 years with Mainely Burgers has helped us create strong relationships with vendors and meat producers as well — Walden Local Meats in particular and we’re grateful to have those established relationships as we enter this new space,” said Max Barber.

The brothers said creating an exceptional shopping experience and fostering a sense of community are top priorities for Barber Bros. “Community can only happen organically by connecting with people,” Max Barber said. “We’re grateful for our veteran team members John, Birch, and Mae who are familiar faces for the loyal Smaha’s/Legion Square shoppers. You can’t force a feeling of community, but you can make an effort to talk to regular customers, learn their names, listen to their shopping preferences, and honor their suggestions. While it’s obvious we can’t compete with Hannaford’s or Shaws in size, the flipside of this is that our size works as a superpower by naturally fostering those connections.”

“As for an exceptional shopping experience, we lucked out finding local professionals who transformed the space — the guys at FG Life Services did an incredible job renovating the store and making it look great. Cheryl Fish’s creative displays highlight local makers and seasonal products. As we mentioned previously, Mom has been a huge help in finding new, innovative and local products,” Jack Barber said.

With the legacy of Smaha’s and Legion Square Market in mind, the team at Barber Bros. said the aim is to uphold and enhance specific elements to honor the market’s 83-year history. The brothers said they are putting up a community board up to help promote local services and events. “We’re sponsoring the Savage Family Turkey Trot, going on its eighth year this week,” said the Barber brothers. “We both live within four minutes of the shop and have spent a lot of time in Knightville. There is an incredible neighborhood camaraderie here. Ultimately, the butcher counter is what keeps shoppers coming in, so that will be our guiding focus. Steak tips, ground round, deli meat, and most importantly, marrow bones for the dog (far end of freezer, bottom shelf)”

The hours at Barber Bros. Meat & Provision are 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. and the store is located at 101 Ocean St., South Portland.

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