AUBURN – Greg Hird says he thinks he can make the eating spot at 2 Great Falls Plaza great again with upscale American cuisine.

Veal medallions. Baked stuff tomatoes. Sausage-stuffed chicken legs. Steak and potatoes.

He, wife Marcie and son Greg II will open The Falls on Monday in time for lunch.

“It used to be one of the best restaurants around for many years, (when it was TJ’s),” Hird said. “I think we can bring it back.”

They’ve spent a month getting the space ready with coats of paint, new bathrooms and some work at the bar.

Both father and son got their start in the restaurant business as dishwashers at the Chick-A-Dee in Turner. Hird said he was there 38 years, running it for his father for the last 20.

“It’s kind of been a learning curve,” Greg II said. “It’s just been really different here. We’ve always known how to maintain a restaurant but never had to start one from the ground up.”

The Falls, which can seat 99 people, will be open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday to Thursday and 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday. It’ll take reservations. Hird said with the local foot-traffic from downtown offices he expects a fair amount of takeout business at lunch.

Lunch prices range from $6 to $12 with fresh salads, soups, chowders and sandwiches. Dinner entrees will go up to $25.

Its name, The Falls, came from a chat with their banker, who knew the location was going to be close to the iconic falls on the Androscoggin River, Greg II said. They hadn’t landed on a name when he offered it up as a suggestion. The Falls stuck.

There won’t be any keeping behind the scenes for father or son. They anticipate doing a little of everything. They opened the restaurant for a small dinner with local businesspeople Thursday night as practice.

The senior Hird said he knew the statistics for new restaurant openings aren’t good. This economy won’t help.

“Truthfully, times are terrible,” the Auburn man said. “(However,) we’re very confident. I have no reservations about failing at all.”

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