New restaurant/ pub coming to Farmington
FARMINGTON - After purchasing a historic building block at the center of downtown a couple of weeks ago, two developers have already lined up a new restaurant to move into town this winter.
The Roost Pub & Wingery, with restaurants in Waterville and Orono, will be moving into a 2,800 square foot area of the daylight basement area at 186-189 Main Street. Roost owner Jim Coleman said he expects to hire between 20 and 30 employees and hopes to open in late January.
Buzz Davis and Bill Marceau recently purchased the three-story building from Stone Coast Properties of Portland. The building is currently home to Dunkin Donuts and a temporary location for the Summit Faith Community Church, as well as a vacant, 1,400 square foot office or retail space facing Main Street and four large apartments.
Davis, who has been managing the building for two years for Stone Coast, had mentioned his interest in the building. Partnering with Marceau and under the development name Fairview Housing LLC, they acquired the building a few weeks ago. Built in 1907, the three-story building has served many purposes over the years.
The first floor began as a carriage repair shop and then automobile show room, Davis said. Unique to the building are the first floor's steel girders that provided strength enough to carry the weight of a vehicle showroom. On the second floor, the space once provided entertainment including an arcade, bowling alley and had also been used as a basketball court for college players. The second and third floors now house four very large apartments.
From the 1950s until nearly a decade ago, it was home to Don's AG, a grocery store until it closed and the building was sold to Stone Coast in 2002 or '03.
Under the new ownership of the two Farmington residents, the building block will be called Main Street Station, a reference to the Sandy River railroad depot once located on Front Street. They have been working with Franklin Savings Bank on a stairway project to connect Front Street to Main Street. Plans presented earlier by FSB show the staircase built from a Front Street parking area the bank is constructing, up to the parking lot behind Main Street Station building, turn and continue up to the bank's Main Street parking area.
Marceau said a well lit, double-wide staircase inside the building on the north side will allow pedestrians to access The Roost and two more areas on the lower level to be renovated into office spaces from Main Street to the lower level of the building and not have to use the driveway on the south side of the building. The interior stairs will also access the parking areas on Front Street, once the stairs are built.
"The stairs will provide key access to Front Street," Davis said, adding it will be a short walk for movie-goers at the Narrow Gauge Cinemas to the restaurtant. A sign for The Roost will be displayed on the Main Street side over the stairwell leading down to the restaurant and on the west side of building to be seen from Front Street.
Coleman was in town to check on his latest project's construction progress Tuesday morning. Looking around at the big open space, he said it had been completely gutted and a new sewer drain line had been recently installed. New walls, ceiling, floors, heating and plumbing, electrical will all be installed soon.
"You'd be surprised at how fast this all comes together," Coleman said. The front entrance will be through double doors that will open to a dining section. Sports bar areas featuring a total of 10 or 11 wide screen TVs surrounded by comfortable couches and chairs will be on the other side of the space. Wireless Internet will be available.
He's been interested in opening a Roost in Farmington for sometime. Typically, he looks for a high traffic community with a college. He opened the first Roost in Orono three years ago and the Waterville location last March. Contact with Marc Relford, assistant to the director at the Franklin County Chamber of Commerce, led Coleman to Greater Franklin Development Corporation's director Alison Hagerstrom, who then connected Coleman's restaurant idea with Davis and Marceau and their new building plans.
Coleman, who has been in the restaurant business for 30 years, describes his restaurants as "clean, neat and family friendly" with inexpensive pub fare that features burgers, sandwiches, salads, desserts. He stressed everything is homemade and fresh, not frozen or prepared somewhere else, as some restaurants rely. "A family of four will be able to eat here for $25," he said, adding he also offers children's meal specials. The Roost's specialty is its chicken wings. His two restaurants sell 3,000 pounds of chicken wings a week. Here, he'll have daily "Wing Night" specials, something he tried at the Orono location but found too popular and had to stop it after long lines would form outside the restaurant.
As with his other restaurants, his Farmington Roost will be open for lunch and dinner which appeals to families with plans to stay open until at least midnight, which appeals to the college crowd.
Coleman's restaurant & pub will be seeking a site review permit at the planning board's next meeting on Dec. 12 since the space was previously vacant and not used, said Steve Kaiser, the town's code enforcement officer.
"This is very exciting; it's a nice project for the community," Marceau said.