The Buzz: Mac's closes the kitchen for reno; Agora says there's room at the crypt


This week, The Buzz is chilling in a coffin, driving a Zamboni and getting ready to shovel out.

The threat of a foot-plus of snow triggered a rare cancellation of Thursday’s regular Lewiston Auburn Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce breakfast. President Beckie Conrad said the topic will be rescheduled — Barbara Schneider was due to talk about Maine Adaptive Sports & Recreation — but she isn’t sure when because most of this year’s breakfasts are booked.

In other chamber news, 40 Under 40 nominations opened Wednesday for Uplift LA’s annual awards. The 10 categories again include emerging leaders, creative geniuses and entrepreneurs. 

Know someone who stands out? Will said fabulous person still be under 40 by Oct. 1? Nominate away.


This year the awards banquet has been pushed from May/June to October; it felt like it was competing with too many other springtime events, Uplift LA head Jodi Redmun said.

The nomination window is tentatively set to stay open through the end of March.

Mac’s 2.0

The Mac’s Grill kitchen is closed for a behind-the-scenes overhaul. The Auburn restaurant received a city permit last week for a $106,560 renovation.

Mike Peters, one of the owners, said the bar is staying open while the kitchen is completely gutted, getting a new floor, walls and new equipment.

“The floor had been so old, you’d clean it every night, but you’d look at it and it was hard to be proud of it,” Peters said. “Now, with new floor drains, we can sweep and spray and brush it out. It’s just a much better environment.”

The kitchen and full restaurant is set to reopen March 12.

“To the casual observer, there’s not going to be a whole lot that seems different, but the kitchen is going to be brand new,” he said. As for the menu, Peters added that it will be the “same great steaks we’ve been cutting and serving for all these years and looking forward to getting back to it, for sure.”

You can probably stay in the crypt as much as you want

Andrew Knight announced on Facebook this week that he’s not just looking for a traditional buyer for the Agora Grand and Inn at the Agora in Lewiston: He opened up the possibility of a lease-to-own arrangement for the right “highly qualified and experienced person/couple/team.”

“While cash is king, sometimes the best assets one can have are experience, requisite skill set, passion and a willingness to overcome any obstacle to succeed,” Knight said via email Wednesday.

“Since placing the properties on the market in July, I’ve gotten dozens of serious inquiries, including three offers,” he wrote. “Since all of the offers depended on me to partially finance, I had to assess their likelihood of succeeding in the business. So I’ve decided to focus first on finding the right people, and then to figure out financing later. I’ve already had a couple of bites from the Facebook post, including one with great potential.”

Knight, a developer who moved to Lewiston from the Washington, D.C., area, turned the former St. Patrick’s Church into the Agora Grand Event Center and the former rectory into an inn that includes five guest rooms and an innkeeper’s suite. He also created the Hotel Crypt under the church, in an actual crypt that had held the church’s first priest for more than 100 years.

Knight put both on the market for $1.2 million last summer. He’s lowered the price to $910,000.


In a video posted on Facebook, Steve Roop looks like he’s channeling comedian Bob Marley, dressed like a Maine-ah, driving a Zamboni. And something about it works — it’s gotten more than 8,000 views in five days.

Roop, the owner of Rooper’s Beverage and Redemption, said he recently switched marketing firms to The Brand Collective in Auburn and credited them with the new “Roop Recommends” videos that have him hamming it up while recommending his top spirits for the month.

The February video last month, the first, got more than 15,000 views. The second video went up March 2.

“They came up with the idea and I played along with it, it’s been kind of fun,” Roop said. “A lot of what I do is by feel — I don’t know if it’s right or wrong or indifferent. I’ve built my business from the ground up, myself. I realized I need help in this area, for sure.”

He started with one Rooper’s on Sabattus Street in Lewiston and now has six stores and 70 employees. He loves to make people laugh, he said.

And who knows what the future holds?

“Maybe I’ll go viral and I won’t have to work anymore; that’d be kind of cool,” Roop said, laughing.

Quick hits about business comings, goings and happenings. Have a Buzzable tip? Contact staff writer Kathryn Skelton at 689-2844 or

Steve Roop, the owner of Rooper’s Beverage and Redemption, in a screen shot from the March video for “Roop Recommends,” a new monthly ad campaign that has him hamming it up. The video has had more than 8,000 views on Facebook in five days. (Youtube video)