In 1989 Jonathan St. Laurent and family members opened Uncle Billy's Barbeque next to The Griffin Club in South Portland. It was the first time I tried BBQ spaghetti. The first time I saw hand drawn "pig art" on napkins taped or tacked to the walls.

Uncle Billy's Downeast Barbeque Book
Uncle Billy's Downeast Barbeque Book

And the first time I met owner and BBQ master Jonathan St. Laurent. He came out of the kitchen to mingle with the guests and make sure the food was being enjoyed by everyone. I remember thinking "who is this guy with the stained apron, crazy hair, and a smile as big as a 14 pound brisket?"

 

Since then I ate more Uncle Billy's BBQ food than I probably should. My friends and I became regular patrons over the years. As Jonathan relocated time and time again after closing the South Portland location in 1995, we followed. India street, Congress Street, Main Street in Yarmouth. It didn't matter where he went, we would be there.

Then came the day he told us he was closing again, and had no plans to re-open. That was in 2007 and since then I have missed the food from Uncle Billy's. I bought his cookbook and reproduced his signature sauce (which is the best BBQ sauce you'll ever taste) but the food and the ambience of his BBQ joint have been missed. But only for a couple more months!

Pressherald.com recently reported that a letter accompanying a liquor license for 166 Cumberland Ave read in part: The new restaurant “will be a reincarnation” of the South Portland Uncle Billy’s, with a small outdoor dining area included.'

google maps

According to the liquor license Uncle Billy's will re-open in late November or early December and I can not wait!

Uncle Billy's Downeast Barbeque Book