Brian and Jen Breneman, who own Shays Grill Pub in Portland’s Monument Square, opened Dunstan Tap & Table in Scarborough this summer. My drinking companion and I visited about five or six weeks later, grabbing seats in front of the bartending station.
The barstools were comfortable, with backs and footrests, and there were purse hooks and electrical and USB charging outlets underneath the bar – amenities that I particularly appreciate.
The cocktails are named after people and places related to Scarborough, such as Black Point and the Alger brothers, who settled the town. My drinking companion ordered the sour but tasty Blue Point (rum, blueberry and lavender shrub, simple syrup, and lemon juice; $11), named after another part of town; I went with their version of an Old Fashioned, the Black Point (bourbon, orange simple syrup, and cherry bitters; $8). Even my non-bourbon-liking friend enjoyed my drink.
We wanted to order a second cocktail, but never got the chance. Our glasses sat painfully empty for 45 minutes without any staff member asking us if we’d like to order anything else. We had to flag someone down when we wanted to order food, when we wanted water, when we wanted to know if they had a dessert menu, and when we wanted to pay. They did come check on us after they had served us our food, but it was so soon after they had put the plates down that I hadn’t even taken a first bite of any of my side dishes.
As the name implies, there is a rotating selection of draft beers, as well as 12 bottled beers, eight canned beers, two ciders and a mead. There’s also a decent selection of wines by the glass, ranging from $5.50 to $9.50. The bar and restaurant are noisy, but the owners said they would be ordering and installing acoustic clouds to combat the issue.
The food is all made from scratch, with several items very reasonably priced, such as the $16 roasted half chicken with green beans and mashed potatoes. The green beans were overcooked and the dish needed a lot more seasoning, but it’s hard to argue with that price. My friend loved her $12 fried chicken sandwich; the accompanying fries were delicious. We also split the $10 fried Brussels sprouts and the $7 chocolate lasagna, a moist dark chocolate layer cake from Snowflour Baking Co. in Scarborough. The Brussels sprouts had an Asian flair, thanks to the rice wine and soy sauce; I was not a fan, but my friend really liked them. We both loved our dessert – one of those rare ones that was actually worth every calorie.
The Brenemans want fellow parents to feel comfortable bringing young children,and are aiming for an establishment full of regular patrons whom they know. They also want everyone (regular or not) to feel welcome immediately upon entry. They hired their staff carefully, paying close attention to personality, and it’s clear that the employees enjoy being part of their team. If the service had been more attentive, I could see myself becoming a regular customer.
WHERE: 6 Stewart Drive, Dunstan Crossing, Scarborough
PHONE: (207) 219-8024
HOURS: 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday, 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 11:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday
AMENITIES: Outdoor patio seating with fire pit and cornhole, special room for private events, parking lot
BOTTOM LINE: Friendly neighborhood/family vibe
WHEELCHAIR ACCESS: Yes