FARMINGTON – After years of working in the restaurant business, Peter Benoit plans to “do it his way” when he and wife, Barbara, open their new restaurant, Peter’s Seafood and Steak, next week on Fairbanks Road.

“It’s the middle of winter, the economy is bad and I’m middle-aged but I don’t want to sit in a rocking chair some day and say I wished I’d tried … So why not take the bull by the horns?” Benoit said.

After more than 35 years of cooking in restaurants himself and with a father who was a chef/butcher, Benoit said he grew up cooking. He cooked at LaFleur’s in Jay for 13 years. Some may remember him for his popovers there. His mother was British and it was natural, he said.

The Jay couple met while working in a restaurant and have been married nearly 20 years, Barbara said.

“But, we work well together,” she said.

He credits her with giving him the support and inspiration to take the step and open his own place at the site of the former Cabin Restaurant.

While diners may not be able to find breakfast, sandwiches or pizzas at the new place, Benoit said he plans weekend prime rib dinners, fresh seafoods and steak dishes as well as daily specials.

“Our lasagna comes from freshly canned tomatoes instead of a store-bought jar of sauce. I want to keep our dishes as homemade as possible,” he said. He especially likes to make sautés and special steak sauces.

The menu won’t be really long but diners can choose between lunch- and dinner-size portions at either meal.

“We want a family atmosphere and a place that’s clean, picked up and offers good food,” he said. The faces of the staff hired by the couple may be remembered by many from other area restaurants where they have worked, he said. Most are closer to the couple’s middle-age status, experienced and friendly, he said.

The couple also want to turn the business around and stay in business long-term despite the economy, the season and the history of others who have tried at that location.

“We don’t want to open and be gone in a year,” he said.

If everything can be completed in time, the restaurant will open Monday and be open seven days a week from 11 to 8 weekdays and till 9 p.m. on weekends, he said.

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