Linda

We were planning our trip to Moosehead Lake when George mentioned we’d be going right through Monson, which meant one thing to both of us — the terrific little BBQ place we’d discovered there a couple of years ago. My mind couldn’t stop thinking about that hidden gem and the delicious smoky meats produced at Spring Creek Bar-B-Q. So to say it was a bit of a disappointment when we drove up to the old place and saw that it was vacant is an understatement. But I quickly recovered when I spotted their sign in their new location, two buildings up the street.

Apparently, business demand for their BBQ was strong enough to upgrade to a huge new building. Take one taste and you’ll see why. I’d only stepped inside and gazed around for a minute when I suggested that we needed to write a column about this restaurant. George quickly agreed and went back to the car to get our notebooks and camera.

I was first struck by the beauty of the wood — wooden walls, ceiling and floors. But it was the amazing furniture that really caught my eye. There is a tree length table made from one solid plank that must be 12 feet long. It is stunning, and that is where I chose to sit, as did others. By the end of our meal that table was full.

We were told the rest of the story about the table by other guests outside the restaurant as we were leaving. The gentleman who made the table did it right inside the restaurant. It was the only way they’d have been able to get it in. And the rest of the wood from the same tree was used to create two of the chairs.

I was pretty sure I was going to order a BBQ pork sandwich, until I overheard a customer say she loved the smoked chicken salad and was ordering it again. I had never heard of chicken salad done this way, but let me just say its pronounced smoky flavor was so good.

The restaurant is very popular judging by the crowd streaming in for lunch on a Thursday. But there is a lot more seating than there used to be, including outdoor picnic tables near the giant smoker that was going strong — a happy scenario for customers who want to be sure they haven’t run out of BBQ as they often did in the old smaller location. But just in case, I’d always plan on getting there a little early!

George

It warms my heart that Linda loves BBQ because I could eat it every day. And trust me, I’d be eating it every day here at Spring Creek Bar-B-Q if we lived closer. Mike and Kim Witham have created a wonderful restaurant and it was good to see them so busy. We actually didn’t get a chance to visit with them because they were right out straight. If you do get a chance to talk with them, Mike is a great storyteller.

Regular readers of this column won’t be surprised to learn that I had the BBQ pork sandwich. The generous portion of pork was pouring out of the bun, surrounding it on the plate. The sweet and spicy tastes had me oohing and aahing, when Lin wasn’t telling me to clean my chin which dripped in sauce. Yes, this sandwich brought new meaning to finger-lickin’ good! You can also get the pork in a cup with a side of cornbread.

This is a very informal place. At the entrance, a sign tells you “This is how it works. The menu is on the wall. Order and pay with the barkeep. Pick up your food at the counter. Clean up your mess. Leave it in the hall next to kitchen. The menu changes daily — sometimes by the hour.” And my favorite instruction was this one: “If you would like a waitress, bring one.”

Later, when we arrived at our destination, Rockwood Cottages, owned and managed by my cousin Ron Searles and his wife Bonnie for 31 years, an eagle welcomed us by flying by, and as we glanced across Moosehead Lake toward the stunning Mount Kineo, we were reminded of how very blessed we are to be living — and writing about — Maine.

Visit George’s website — georgesmithmaine.com — for book reviews, outdoor news and all Travelin’ Maine(rs) columns, found listed in the “Best of Maine” section.

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