The founders of Ri Rá’s Irish Pub plan to open a barbecue restaurant at 82 Hanover St. in Portland’s West Bayside neighborhood.

Ciaran Sheehan and David Kelly, who founded Ri Rá in 1996 (the Portland location opened in 1999), and Spencer Brantley, the company’s managing partner in Portland, first applied for a restaurant license more than a year ago for the restaurant they’re calling Wilson County Barbecue at 480 Congress St. According to their new application, however, they now plan to open it in the refurbished Portland Public Works building on Hanover Street.

Wilson County Barbecue is named after a part of North Carolina between Raleigh and Greenville that is a barbecue hot spot. The 90-seat restaurant will serve the same Eastern North Carolina-style barbecue that is popular there. Sheehan lives in Raleigh, North Carolina, and Brantley was born and raised in North Carolina and now lives in Buxton. The target opening date is Nov. 18.

The sample menu provided to the city is almost entirely southern. In addition to barbecue and chicken-and-dumplings entrees, it includes snacks and sides of hush puppies, pimento cheese, deviled eggs, cheese grits, collard greens, butterbeans, fried okra, corn on the cob, black-eyed peas and Brunswick stew. There is one big nod to Maine, however: split, whole pit-smoked lobster served with whiskey butter, barbecue dust and a choice of two sides.





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