NORTH SMITHFIELD – State officials joined local crowds enjoying lunch at 200 Industrial Drive this week, during a visit to a popular restaurant that recently expanded and reopened at a new location by Gov. Dan McKee.
Town Administrator Paul Zwolenski met with the governor’s team at Beef Barn restaurant for a casual conversation about everything from the state’s vaccine rollout, to the town’s recent Pumpkin Festival, all over roast beef sandwiches.
“It’s been years,” McKee told business owner Marc Branchaud of his lunchtime visit. The governor said he would often visit the business at its prior location on Greenville Road after playing tennis at Fore Court Racquet & Fitness Club in Cumberland.
Zwolenski told the visitors about recent efforts to help the restaurant take advantage of the town’s tax stabilization program, and the governor told the group of the state’s effort to make resources available to small businesses.
Branchaud, who took over the 52-year-old business from his father Normand Branchaud, utilized a vacant barn on the property once known as Homestead Gardens to serve as a new home for the restaurant. Marc co-owns the business with his sister, Michelle, and the family held a grand opening on Industrial Drive on Monday, Sept. 6, announcing the launch of a second endeavor on the property: Pound Hill Creamery and Café.
The new location has maintained all that made the Beef Barn a unique and popular stop among locals for decades, from affordable prices, to a farm theme, featuring dining in a chicken coop, even moving the original silo from Greenville Road. The silo was taken from Branchaud’s grandfather’s farm on Pound Hill Road.
Expanding on that theme, the new barn structure features more space, including patio seating, and an ice cream and coffee shop – situated in a former storage building on the property. The family landscaped the long-neglected property building a restaurant that overlooks a scenic pond, and recently obtained a liquor license to serve beer and wine.
Branchaud told McKee of obstacles that held up the transition, from staffing issues, to holes in the supply chain that drove up the price of lumber. Branchaud bought the 5.9 acre property for $450,000 in November of 2019, just before the COVID-19 pandemic hit the region.
The governor presented a citation to the restaurant, congratulating the family on the achievement.
“One thing we’ve learned over the past 18, 19 months is that small businesses are important to our communities,” McKee said.