Restaurant makeover in Turner aimed at keeping locals in town

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TURNER — Turner isn’t just for family dining anymore.

Tim Robitaille, a local, said he grew tired of driving south to find a place to drink a beer on a Friday night.

So he and his wife, Lisa, struck a deal with the owners of Youly’s Restaurant on Route 4 to give the well-known family restaurant a makeover. The new look and menu are aimed at expanding the restaurant’s clientele to include a younger set intent on late meals washed down with draft beer.

“We’re trying to keep people from heading out town to Auburn,” he said.

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A new name — Pomodoro,s Italian Bistro — featured on a sign that was erected out front a week ago, also graces the new and expanded menu.

The restaurant’s bar has grown longer to accommodate more casual dining patrons and eight beers on tap.

The dining area will undergo a redesign shortly, Robitaille said. Italian-themed murals will replace more conventional wall art.

The Robitailles recently sold the latest of their three successive restaurants to showcase their talents locally. Daniel Briggs, a co-owner with Donna Smith, of Youly’s for the past 20 years, said they decided to turn over management to the Robitailles, who are expected eventually to take ownership of the business and property.

“Sales have been great,” Briggs said. “People are very happy with the changeover.”

Meanwhile, the family fare that catered to a more staid local crowd will remain while new offerings are expected to attract younger diners seeking a nighttime scene.

As always, fine food is expected to draw a variety of tastes and appetites, said Tim Robitaille, head chef. Baked from scratch are hamburger and ciabatta rolls as well as pizza dough, he said. Homemade salad dressings can be enjoyed on site or taken home. Youly’s famous chowders and other seafood items will continue to be a mainstay.

Breakfast, lunch and dinner are served seven days a week. Snowmobile riders can ride local trails to the restaurant’s back door.

The restaurant hosts birthdays, weddings and other events.

In the summer, an expanded patio will offer barbecue and special outdoor functions. A full takeout menu is expected to be offered as well as catering and delivery services.

“It’s gonna be good for this town,” Tim Robitaille said.

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