Last spring, when the news circulated through St. George that Farmers Restaurant in Tenants Harbor was closing, there was a collective sigh of disappointment over the loss of the year-round, casual-style eatery. So people were very curious when they got wind of the fact that chef Jessica Beal was going to lease the property and open a new restaurant called The Point.
“I started getting lots of questions right away,” Beal says with a laugh. “But the most frequent were, ‘Will you be open year round?’ and ‘Are you keeping the bar?’” The answer to both questions is “yes.” And the answer to why “The Point” is that Beal believes this southern part of St. George is basically at the point of this peninsula.
Beal says she doesn’t want to make too much change in the restaurant, but her culinary education at Scottsdale Community College and her many years of experience in the restaurant industry—doing everything from managing a serving staff of 200 at Margaritaville in Glendale, Arizona, to opening a Bar Louie in Tempe and getting certified as a food production manager—sharpens her focus on what she feels matters most: wholesome food, excellent customer service, and a clean kitchen.
“I’m a jack of all trades,” she says. “That gives me an edge. I can look at the restaurant from the point of view of what should be happening in the dining room, what should be happening in the bar, what should be happening in the kitchen.”
While The Point’s menu will center on seafood, steak and burgers, Beal’s approach to preparing dishes is very much farm-to-table. “I butcher my own meat and make my own sauces, mayonnaise and dressings. I also prefer herbs and spices to salt, cut my own French fries, batter my own fish and chicken, make my own bacon, make my own pastries. It’s all about good made-from-scratch food that is affordable. I think food should be made from the heart.”
As for dining room service? “I want to build a team,” Beal stresses. “I’d like to prepare a family meal for the crew. The staff needs to know the food, needs to taste it so they can answer customers’ questions.”
Although the move from Arizona to Maine is a big shift for Beal and her family (husband Joe Andriacco, daughter Addy Andriacco, who will be a freshman at Oceanside High School, and nephew Tyler Adkins, 12, who will attend school in St. George), in some ways Beal feels they have come home. “My father Preston Beal was born in Jonesport and owns Beal’s Construction in Rockland. My brother is Buddy Beal, so our kids have cousins nearby. And Bill Stewart, who still owns our building, has a daughter who is married to my nephew. So it is nice to be part of this community.”
And the community seems excited to have her join it—virtually every day since Beal began renovating the restaurant’s kitchen and the family’s upstairs living space, she says, two or three people have stopped by to welcome her and ask about her progress.
Beal notes that the factor that really made the move possible was that her husband, who worked for Procter and Gamble in Arizona, got transferred to one of the company’s facilities in Auburn. When he is not working his shift there he will be behind the bar at The Point.
“I think this move was pretty much meant to be,” reflects Beal. “I’m a born entrepreneur. When I worked at the Phoenix Lobster Company I started buying lobster from Maine and began thinking about returning to my roots.” She shrugs and then adds, “You walk in faith and things happen.” —JW
PHOTOS: Betsy Welch