The co-owner of Brian’s Bistro is just where she’s supposed to be … Negril and a visit from Will not withstanding.

Jessica Nichols started in restaurants as a busgirl at the Sudbury Inn in Bethel when she was 15.

Flash forward a bit — more restaurant work, a break to study textile design in college, then back to restaurants — and she and husband Brian opened Brian’s Bistro in Rumford in June 2008.

“It’s been awesome, far exceeded our expectations,” Nichols said.

She works the front of the house, he the back.

Nichols has served U.S. Sen. Susan Collins, would have a table ready in a jiff for Will Farrell and says that in their kitchen lurks a mac’n cheese creation that will “blow your mouth away.” In a good way.

Name: Jessica L. Nichols (aka Sassy)

Age: One year closer to my diamond tennis bracelet

Lives? In Rumford, proudly

Married, relationship, single? Married, to my wonderful husband, Brian (of Brian’s Bistro)

You must have gotten this before, but why Rumford for Brian’s Bistro? Rumford really needed a restaurant that offers great food and a great price. Also, Rumford is redefining itself, has great history and has the potential to grow. We worked in a seasonal environment for so long, where tourism directly affected income, and we knew that wasn’t for us. Rumford was and remains a great decision.

One highlight of an average day? A highlight of any day is hearing my daughter laugh. She has completely motivated us to do what we do. But a daily highlight at the bistro would be to just have snappy banter with customers and connecting with people. It reminds me of the bar Cheers, and I can’t believe some days that it’s my job.

Dish you tasted and thought after one bite “Hmm, maybe not” or “This is a winner”? My husband really is amazing in a kitchen. He has great ideas and talent, so there isn’t too much I put the smackdown on when it comes to menu items. There have been times when a creation came out and needed to be tweaked a bit or perhaps added to, and we have always collaborated well on what will taste good, what will sell and how will the execution of it fit with the rest of the menu. Then there are times when he makes something like his made-to-order baked buffalo chicken mac ‘n’ cheese, which sounds so uneventful, but will blow your mouth away. Yum.

I understand U.S. Sen. Susan Collins swung by for a meal last fall. Served other politicians or celebrities? Having Susan Collins for lunch was a real treat. She ate our steak salad with gorgonzola and loved it. There was talk of placing wagers on what she decided to order, but we didn’t. We do see our fair share of local officials, but no nationally recognized celebs … yet.

Last book read that you’d recommend to a friend? “The Secret” by Rhonda Byrne. Ask, believe, receive! I really try to be positive and attract more of it in our lives. I have so much to be thankful for.

Last movie? About three months ago we rented “Step Brothers.” I know it was a long time ago, but we just don’t have a lot of extra time, and what can I say? Will Farrell’s humor amuses me tremendously. I will consider this his formal invitation to the bistro as our first big celeb guest!

One chore you wish you could hire a butler for (and why): Seriously, I would LOVE a butler to come cook for us! Sunday and Monday night, when the bistro is closed, it is grueling trying to decide what to have for dinner. Our fridge is only home to a bunch of condiments … plus neither of us have any desire to prepare, cook or clean up after doing it all week! People are so intimidated to cook for us, and the truth is, if you showed up at the house on Sunday and cooked hot dogs on the grill, we’d be psyched!

“If I weren’t running a restaurant with my husband, I’d be:” sitting on the beach in Negril sipping a frozen beverage, thinking about how I had no other responsibilities! I know that I am exactly where I am supposed to be right now, so imagining life without the bistro is impossible. Both of our entire lives have led us to this restaurant. Plus the Jamaican getaway is already in the works — guess you can have your cake and eat it too! Hmmm … that would be a good heading for a dessert menu …


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