By Ally Lanasa, Staff Writer
(Dec. 17, 2020) The newest restaurant on Berlin’s menu, Boxcar on Main, officially opens Friday at the former DiFebo’s restaurant location at 104 N. Main St. downtown.
Paul Suplee, the chef and owner, took occupancy of the space on Nov. 1 and renovated the venue in six weeks.
“The Berlin location is, of course, the home of ‘The Runaway Bride’ since it was the Berlin Hardware Store,” he said. Suplee added that the atmosphere of Boxcar on Main differs from his Boxcar40 restaurant on Gumboro Road in Pittsville with high ceilings and big windows, which brighten the venue.
“With the walk-in traffic, it’s a different vibe altogether,” he said.
Boxcar40 has more of a rustic, historic feel.
“It is built in the original Pittsville firehouse, with exposed brick walls and rich walnut wood,” Suplee said. “Some of the original flooring was even used to build the bar upstairs.”
Suplee said he will begin remodeling the upstairs of the Berlin restaurant in January with plans for an intimate bar, where local artists can perform acoustic music.
Suplee held open houses Thursday through Sunday last week at Boxcar on Main.
“We offered food off the menu, but we just kind of did a chef’s table, where we just brought [them] food and filled them up,” Suplee said.
The restaurant offered salmon on a Sicilian lemon arugula, caprese salad, shrimp and grits and brie with homemade preserves.
Suplee said the open houses were successful, adding that Boxcar on Main served about 20 guests on Thursday, 90 guests on Saturday and another 60 on Sunday.
“I’ve been trying to get into Berlin for years. It’s just awesome to be here,” he added. “I knew it was going to be a warm welcome, but I seriously can’t believe how amazing it has been.”
Suplee said he has received many positive responses from the community, such as “You’re going to kill it,” “This is the best thing to happen to Berlin in years,” and “I love how everything in here has a story.”
The restaurant was closed for staff training Monday through Wednesday.
Boxcar on Main opens full-time on Friday. The restaurant will be open six days a week for lunch and dinner as well as for brunch, lunch and dinner on Sundays.
The operating hours will be Monday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. or later if it’s busy and Sunday with brunch served from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. then lunch and dinner served until 9 p.m.
Suplee said that the menu of Boxcar on Main is different from Boxcar40’s menu to encourage people to visit both locations.
Although most people probably would not open a restaurant during a pandemic, Suplee said he could not be happier with his decision, even if it was a gamble.
“I am not an ordinary person, in general. I tend to do things my own way, and it shows,” he said. “Luckily, I have found a team of players who are as enthralled by the unorthodox as I am. I believe that this synergy will be fun and positive for Berlin.”
The Berlin restaurant’s menu features American cuisine with a Southern style, such as steaks, seafood and brick-roasted specialties, such as baked brie with homemade preserves and roasted root vegetable raclette.
“Boxcar40, our flagship, specializes in smoked treats such as pork ribs, pulled pork and brisket,” Suplee said. “We also offer hand cut steaks and pride ourselves as the only restaurant in Wicomico County who offers ‘you catch, we cook’ for anglers.”
In addition, Suplee’s recipes can be found weekly in Bayside Gazette.
For more information about the restaurants, visit https://www.boxcar40.com/?fbclid=IwAR0H-nKEYrIR4oU1STrclSJDyTa2YcV5fMqSl7tghH2Ca8CSYtV3HPPLWjI.