HALLOWELL — Two city businessmen never really went away, but they’re re-entering Hallowell’s restaurant and antique scene in larger ways in 2015.

Chris Vallee, a Water Street real estate agent, will open The Quarry Tap Room, a 74-seat downtown restaurant and bar on May 19 with his brother-in-law, Steven Lachance. And 87-year-old collector Charles Howe is opening Wilson Hall Antiques from his home seven days a week.

They’re familiar faces. Vallee is president of the Hallowell Board of Trade and used to own The Wharf, the riverside bar known for live music. About 50 years ago, Howe ran his store in the building that now houses the Liberal Cup before selling prints, furniture and other items occasionally from his home on Water Street near the Farmingdale line.

The Quarry, whose name is a nod to Hallowell’s granite-cutting past, is in the space formerly occupied by Hoxter’s Music & Sports Bar, but all signs of that bar are gone. A northern wall has been knocked out to expose bricks, the bar has been moved and 30 taps installed with wooden chairs and furniture brought in for a rustic look. Patrons will hang their coats on hammer heads and the urinal in the men’s bathroom is fashioned from a beer keg.

It’ll serve hearty fare, too. Vallee said the restaurant will largely serve craft beer and lunch and dinner with live music Thursday through Sunday. He described the menu as “high-end pub fare” with crinkle-cut fries and chicken wings cooked in duck fat, fried meatballs and flatbread pizzas.

“Even my Bloody Marys aren’t going to have celery; they’re going to have beef jerky,” Vallee said. “Everything’s going to be rugged. It’s The Quarry. It needs to be rugged.”

Howe has long been selling antiques, but not regularly of late, since he has been recovering from a period of poor health. In the past, he’s flown an “open” flag on the street occasionally or sold to passers-by, but this year, he decided to open his store regularly after renovating a three-car garage, and he has no plans to quit soon. On Friday, a contractor was working on a new shed to store more collectibles.

“It’s just something I’ve always loved doing,” Howe said.

The Quarry is one of a handful of recent changes to Hallowell’s popular dining scene, which generated nearly $8.5 million in sales in 2014, according to state tax data. In the past decade, sales grew by 50 percent in the city, which outpaced the rest of Maine and Kennebec County, whose dining scenes grew by 38 percent and 33 percent, respectively. Brews N Views, another restaurant and bar, took over the space on Water Street that last housed Bravo’s Southwest Bistro, and the Hallowell House of Pizza opened in the fall.

Also, two Hallowell mainstays are for sale. Hattie’s Chowder House is listed for $225,000 — including the seafood restaurant’s recipes — and The Wharf can be had for $120,000. The current owner, Tim Connelly, bought it in 2009 as part of a group with Vallee, who has since left that group. Vallee said he’s missed running the business and booking musical acts ever since, and the owners say it’ll serve a niche in the downtown.

“Since we’ve taken the paper off (of the windows), we’ve had a lot of people peeking in and had some people in for a quick tour,” Lachance said, “and people are excited.”

Michael Shepherd — 370-7652

[email protected]

Twitter: @mikeshepherdme

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