It’s hard to believe that 2018 is already over, but the ball has dropped, the champagne cork has popped, and suddenly 2019 was here! As we reflect on the memories we have made and the big things we have achieved in 2018, we can’t help but feel proud of everything we fit into just 365 days.

A Year of Connection
Our most important New Year’s resolution in 2018 was to build stronger connections with the businesses who drive our local economy. Promoting and empowering these small businesses benefits everyone, and this year we had the chance to develop a whole new set of connections as we opened our brand new location in Portland’s beautiful Deering Center neighborhood. We were prepared for the growing pains that come with expanding a business, but we never could have expected how welcoming our new community’s residents and business owners would be. (Shout-outs to Honey Exchange, Darby Jones, and Pat’s Meat Market for being such wonderful neighbors!) We couldn’t have picked a better place to open up a new Elsmere BBQ location, and we are so excited to be part of the neighborhood!

A Year of Culture
Music, arts, and food are big part of what makes Greater Portland such a fun and inspiring place to live, work, or visit. In August of 2018 we had the opportunity to take part in Porchfest, an annual block party-style gathering of eclectic musicians who come together to perform on the porches, driveways, and back yards of Deering Center. The event showcased the communal spirit of the neighborhood, and many attendees rode their bikes around town to check out the countless musical performances, parade, and opportunities to dance and have fun with friends and neighbors. Throughout the festival, Elsmere BBQ’s new Deering Center location was open, and we were thrilled to welcome guests from near and far, as well as many of the talented local musicians who turned the community into their stage.

A Year of Giving
2018 was our 4th year of hosting Nonprofit Nights, and it was our best year yet! With two locations available for hosting these powerful events, we were able to double the number of organizations who could benefit! Over 125 Nonprofit Nights took place at Elsmere BBQ locations in 2018, totaling more than $20,000 which will go toward funding the great work of these charitable organizations. Some of 2018’s Nonprofits included: Maine Cancer Foundation, Make a Wish Foundation, Animal Refuge League of Greater Portland, Center for Grieving Children, American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, and New Leaders Council. We are looking forward to another year of giving, connecting, and helping more nonprofits change lives in 2019.

A Year of Celebration
Such a beautiful year deserved a special ending, and nothing could have been more meaningful than taking part in Deering Center’s First Annual Tree Lighting, hosted by Love Deering Center. Beginning on December 4th, local children were invited to come by and add their own ornaments to the thick evergreen tree. The decorated tree stood proudly outside of Elsmere BBQ, and on December 9th we welcomed business owners and residents of the Deering Center community to watch as the tree’s lights were illuminated, then join us inside for a hot meal. With the holiday spirit in full effect, we felt so grateful for the opportunity to play an important role in a new tradition with our neighbors and local business community.

We can’t wait to see what 2019 has in store! Happy New Year from the Elsmere BBQ Family!