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March 17, 2021

Biz Bites: Front & Main, Sweet Dirt open; Frosty's space gets temporary tenant

a long bar with high upholstered chairs is on one side of a room that has a large stone fireplace at the rear and couches and comfy chairs on rugs on a wood floor Courtesy / Marshall Communications Front & Main, the restaurant at the Lockwood Hotel in Waterville, opens Thursday.

Front & Main, the restaurant at Colby College’s new Lockwood Hotel, 9 Main St., Waterville, opens Thursday, the first commercial part of the hotel to begin doing business. The restaurant features contemporary American cuisine by chef Jesse Souza, and has a formal dining room, communal lounge and bar, and outdoor patio with fire pits and event space. Work by painter and sculptor Bernard Langlais and Passamaquoddy basket weaver Jeremy Frey, curated by the Colby College Museum of Art, is featured, as is a long list of local food and drink producers. Restaurant partners include Crooked Face Creamery, Maine Grains and Rowbottom Farm, all of Skowhegan; South China’s 3 Level Farm; Winter Point Oysters, of Bath; Universal Bread, of Waterville;  Cushnoc Brewing, of Augusta; Bissell Brothers, of Portland; Maine Beer Co., of Freeport; Freedom’s Edge Cider, of Belgrade; with spirits from Liquid Riot, Wiggly Bridge and Tree Spirits, of Oakland. A ribbon-cutting is scheduled for April 15. The hotel, which has housed Colby students this spring, is set to open in August. It was built by Landry/French, the general contractor of much of Colby's downtown Waterville construction.

Speaking of ribbon-cuttings, Eliot-based cannabis producer and retailer Sweet Dirt cut the ribbon Wednesday on its new Portland store, the former Wok Inn, at 1207 Forest Ave. in Portland. The 4,926-square-foot building at the high-traffic intersection of Forest and Allen avenues has been vacant for eight years. Sweet Dirt likely needed to sharpen its ribbon-cutting scissors for the event — in January it completed a 32,800-square-foot greenhouse in Eliot, and in December opened a store in Waterville.

a small building with a big American flag mural on the side has a sign that says Red Barn Chicken takeout call ahead
Photo / Maureen Milliken
Red Barn Chicken is temorarily occupying the Frosty's at 256 State St. in Augusta. Frosty's closed its doughnut shops temporarily in December.

In Augusta, The Red Barn, a regional go-to hamburger restaurant on Riverside Drive, well-known for extensive outdoor seating, live music and charity events, has opened a chicken and fries takeout at 256 State St. Red Barn Chicken is leasing the space from Frosty’s Donuts, which opened there in August 2019. The location is key during more normal times — it's a block south of the Maine State House. All of Frosty's locations closed temporarily in December, spurred by the pandemic slowdown, and they have yet to announce a reopening date. The Red Barn, normally open year-round, also closed temporarily in December and the chicken takeout, which opened March 1, is a way for Red Barn to bridge the pay gap for employees until the restaurant re-opens April 15, owner Laura Benedict said on Facebook. The takeout only serves chicken, fries, whoopie pies and soda, and customers call in their order, pay over the phone and pick up from a window. It's open 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday through Friday. 

The 2021 Maine Home Show will be held at the Norway Savings Bank Arena in Auburn on April 10 and 11. Organizers are asking attendees to buy tickets online in advance to help hold the 50% capacity limit, and other COVID-19 safety measures will be in place. MaineHousing has sent out a save-the-date notice for its 2021 Maine Affordable Housing Conference, which will be held virtually Oct. 20 and 21.

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