Once upon a time, almost half a century ago, there was a red dairy barn on Riverside Drive (U.S. Route 201) that was a popular local ice cream stand. Robert Benedict bought the business, expanded the menu and started a family restaurant here in 1977. He had help from his own family members, including his little sister, 11- year-old Laura.

“I worked hard, waiting on people, pouring drinks, whatever needed doing,” she recalls. “I stood on a milk crate so I could reach the counter.”

The place was small back then, about a third of the current building — with indoor seating for only two or three customers, and Adirondack chairs outside. Laura Benedict never stopped working — and relishing every moment. She took over the business in 1986, a seasoned pro at the tender age of 19. Over the three decades since the Red Barn opened, many area family restaurants — Christie’s, Roseland and others — have gone by the wayside. But business at The Red Barn is bigger and better than ever. An astute businesswoman, Benedict attributes the success of The Red Barn to consistently great food that is prepared well, in a friendly atmosphere, all at affordable prices. Her own energy; tenacity and positive, straightforward approach are contagious, reflected in the staff of as many as 18 who now work here.

She admits to having high expectations — and frequently meeting or even surpassing them. “I constantly raise the bar — even if the customer’s in no rush, I want that fish fillet sandwich order ready in 30 seconds, or else!” she says with a grin. “Of course, we try not to make mistakes in the first place, but when we do, we are quick to recover. We listen, assess, and then — immediately — we’ll do whatever it takes to make it right.”

Benedict clearly pays attention, and not only to individual customers (many of whom she greets by name as they walk in the door). Her winning business philosophy also ex tends to analyzing the capital area restaurant market, identifying needs and creating strategies to build her business by addressing them.

Growing up as the ninth of 10 siblings, Benedict and her family had their share of hard times. Looking back now, she is grateful for this experience, believing that adversity makes you try harder, work for what you want and value what you do have. Laura’s older brother, Peter, and younger brother, Ronnie, are essential today to the success of the family business.

“We’re a team, and so much on the same wave length, we can practically finish each other’s sentences”

20 responses to “About

  1. Great food, great service, and a great community minded family. It’s unbelievable what they have donated back when you compare them to the rest of the business community they are deffinately in the top row. God bless them all for who they are and what they have done.

    Gary Kennedy, (Charter President, Paul Harris Fellow and International Volunteer)
    Hallowell Rotary P.O Box 252 Hallowell, Maine o4347

  2. I was born in Augusta and now live in the south. My sister and I have great memories of the red barn and how awesome the food is. I wish there was one in alabama.

    • So Tonya, roll up your sleeves and get one going. The Red Barn is more than a restaurant that sells mostly seafood. It is a family member of the community and acts as such. Anyone can make great food with a great plan but you have to have a great spirit of fellowship and community as well. Put them together and you have the recipe for a Red Barn. Gary

  3. Pingback: Maine Restaurant Increases Business and Raises Funds for Charities through Social Media | Maine PR Maven

  4. Whenever we leave Roxbury Pond and head to the Augusta area for vehicle service or shopping, we always have “The Red Barn” on our agenda for the day. You have the best seafood ever…..every single time!!! Awesome job guys!

  5. Thank you for thinking of your elderly customers as you do! I often take 90-year-old Mom to the Red Barn, and everyone is so kind and patient. Yesterday the parking lot was cleared completely of snow and ice, so I could walk her to and from the door without worrying that she might slip and fall. The food is wonderful, but the kindess is what keeps us coming back.

  6. I worked at the Red Barn one summer, so I KNOW firsthand the standards that they employ for their food. I have always been impressed with the cleanliness of the restaurant, especially in the work areas, with the attention to detail that those working to make the food have, and the friendliness (not faked) that all the staff have towards the customers. It makes all the difference. I go back time and time again because I KNOW how Laura and the Crew operate. I can count on great food, perfectly cooked and served, fast and friendly service, and I NEVER leave hungry (great portions)! Love The Red Barn!

  7. My name is Joyce, I born and grew up in Maine for 38 years. Maine will ALWAYS be my home. I am coming back this year, cant wait!!!!!!!!. Even though the red Barn is number one place I love love to visit, I love Lori, and there friendly ways when you visit. It makes you want to go to the Red Barn. But I also remember Florance and Bill. ( The Parents) such such lovely people. If you never met them already you are at lost. Florance and Bill ran the Augusta Seafood, the little orange building….. lol I remember my husband and I delevering wood to them, and I couldnt wait to go inside to say hello, and of course buy fish. Inside the little orange Augusta seafood building was like being in a diffrent world. When you steped inside, it was a place you didnt want to leave. The bear, and those lobsters in the tank. omg I loved to pick out the lobster I wanted. I even loved to pick out the lobster my husband wanted. lol……I know when I do come back I am going to visit the Augusta Seafood, and Red Barn…..And trust me Gary Kennedy your wrong, its the food yes……
    , thats why people come back, but and I mean but its also the people, you have to have that special nack……and it all started with Florance and Bill Benedict, they raised 10 beautiful children that wanted to do more than just cook well. I will have to say they accomplished just that. Even though Flo and Bill wont be there, in my mind they will be forever. Gery its much much more than just rolling up your sleeves. First you have to be able to cook….Secound you have to have heart, third you have to have heart and forth you have to have heart. And of course you have to have parents like Flo and Bill. Everyone of those kids, have there parents ozzing out of them one way or the other. So Tonya maybe just visit the red barn when your in Augusta,

  8. A friend and i came down from Dexter to have a meal at The Red Barn, as we had heard about the wonderful food and caring staff. Let me say, we were not disappointed. In fact, a lovely lady, with a beautiful smile and a dish cloth in her hand offered to find us a seat. As we were finishing our scrumptious lobster roll, this same lady appeared with a “gift” for each of us in a bag. It was a container of the BEST seafood chowder i have ever had!! I had over-heard her say to another patron, “I’m the greeter here.” SO, I said sincerely, “You are very sweet greeter.” to which she reply with a sweet smile, ” Why, thank you!” Now i find this website and realize that this dear lady is the owner! What a beautiful, humble, genuine person, I met. Thank you from the bottom of my heart!

  9. My name is Janice Harris. I began going to the Red Barn, when a woman at our cleaners
    suggested it and offered to go with me, if I drove.
    Her name was Teresa. Do I picked her up in Waterville and we drove to Augusta, the long way round. When we arrived, she introduced me to the
    owner, says she always tells her hello, and we took our seat. We had a wonderful lunch and
    then I drove her back home. Everytime I called her,or she called me,
    it was the same response from Teresa. Oh no
    , she said, we must go to the Red Barn. And so we did, many times.
    Teresa was an interesting person. She was smart, witty, and even got my Texas jokes now and then. Even after Teresa retired from the dry cleaners, I would pick her up
    and head to the Red Barn, where we laughed, talked about life and just enjoyed each other’s company.
    There was a few months that I didn’t call Teresa, due to an illness. It was an ongoing thing. But one day as I drove to the cleaners, I asked the young woman there, if she ever heard from her.
    I hadn’t been able to reach her. Sadly she told me how and when she died. Teresa was in her 80’s. It really upset me for a while. Then, one day, I got to thinking about Teresa, and the joy she shared with me. Like she told me once, “It’s okay if you’re not Catholic, I like you anyway”

  10. Thank you, Laura Benedict, for caring about people as you do. You raised funds for Honor Flight Maine, and that means so much to our WWII veterans and veterans of other wars who are able to go on the weekend trip of a lifetime.
    Blessings always.

  11. We read in the Sarasota Herald Tribune that our (your) Red Barn was recognized as the incredible restaurant we know it to be!

    We’ll be back in May and will stop in.

    I often stopped in when I was the City’s Schools Business Manager.

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