FARMINGTON — After months of doing reconstruction, the owners of 168 Front St. have revealed their plans for a part of the building.

“Wicked gelato meets wood-fired pizza,” John Moore said of the new business venture he and Jennifer Bjorn are starting in the former Northern Lights bike shop space.

The partners expect to open the Stone Hearth Cafe early in 2014, he said as workers from Maine Wood Heat of Skowhegan reassembled the wood-fired pizza oven Thursday. The oven was previously at Moore’s nearby Snack Shack. They took it apart and put it back together, he said.

“The oven cooks three to four hundred degrees higher than a conventional oven,” Scott Barden, co-owner of Maine Wood Heat, said.

Along with the wood-fired pizza oven, the couple purchased the former Wicked Gelato business and will offer that and paninis and sandwiches.

Karen Garland Kidder had a great business with a broad appeal, he said. The couple purchased her Main Street business and finally decided to move it to the Front Street location.


She has taught them the business of making gelato and been a big help, Bjorn said.

Moving the oven will give his seasonal Snack Shack employees more hours, Moore said. They expect to hire a couple more people and run the business with about 10 employees. Hours of operation are still under consideration, he said.

The cafe will offer seating for about 20 people, along with takeout service, he said.

A second wood-fired oven sits on a large cement patio in front of the cafe.

Patrons can eat inside or on the patio in warmer weather, Bjorn said. Some already found their way there during the recent Front Street Pumpkin Festival when an employee was selling slices of pizza and people enjoyed the fireworks over Prescott Field.

The building, originally the Chester Greenwood earmuff factory, has required a lot of structural work inside, Moore said. In the main section, brick retaining walls secure the north wall. The front door has been moved to the middle of the building to allow a handicap accessible entrance.


Marco and Michael Grimaldi of Grimaldi Concrete Floors smoothed cement on a new section of sidewalk Thursday with workers Jake Hiscock and Tim LaBrecque.

It will be spring before Charles Eagers and his masonry crew finish the brick work on the front, Moore said. The inside space potentially needs six months of work. 

What it will become, the partners are not sure yet. They said they are open to renting if someone pitches the right option for the space.

There are two apartments on the second floor of the building, he said.

In earlier years, the building has housed a dry cleaner, Northern Lights Hearth and Sports, Paper Scissor Crop and an antiques shop.

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