The name’s new and the menu’s expanded, but it’s still entirely meat- and dairy-free.

The Olive Branch Cafe, formerly The Ark, officially reopened Thursday in the former Pizza Hut on Lisbon Street in Lewiston.

Director Tony Cuffori said it closed several months last summer for a major renovation. Everything was painted, walls were added and torn down and the inside was reorganized from restaurant-style to cafe-style to speed up service.

“We renamed it because the problem that we had before was the sign just said, ‘The Ark.’ Everybody was like, ‘What’s that?’ No one really knew,” Cuffori said. “It’s a little bit more of a quicker pace, which is more convenient for people who are on their lunch break. We did a huge transition.”

The all-vegan menu includes pizza, sandwiches and some mock-meat dishes. Think a vegetable-heavy vegan “steak” bomb.

The cafe is open for lunch Sunday to Friday. Prices range from $4 and up.

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Cuffori said the cafe is a nonprofit that supports the Ark Lifestyle Education Center, which offers healthy living advice and evening cooking and nutrition classes, support groups and Bible study. (It’s affiliated with the Seventh-day Adventist Church.)

Get your resumes ready

This year’s 13th annual Community Job Fair is shaping up to be the biggest yet.

A team-up of the Lewiston Auburn Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce, Lewiston CareerCenter and Central Maine Community College, it’s scheduled for April 1 from 9 a.m. to noon at CMCC in Auburn.

Jennifer Ziebart at the chamber said she’s expecting 75 employers. New this year: an extra service to help job-seekers spruce themselves up on paper.

If attendees register on the chamber website by March 25, Ziebart said, someone will contact them ahead of time to go over their resume, helping polish anything. Those resumes will be sent to job fair employers ahead of time so they can scan through them and see if there are any job-seekers they want to reach out to and make sure they meet that day.

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Ziebart said it’s an idea borrowed from other job fairs and being offered for free. 

“We have a really diverse listing of employers, so there’s something for everybody, I think. A lot of different fields,” she said.

Then, get your motors ready

Yes, mud season’s cruddy driveways are nearly upon us, followed swiftly by pothole season on Maine roads, but there is still happy driving news to be had: At least you’re not paying a lot for car insurance.

For the second year in a row, Insure.com ranked Maine the least expensive state in the U.S. to buy car insurance with an annual average policy premium of $807.

Michigan was highest at more than three times that: $2,738.

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According to Insure.com: “Maine is a convergence of favorable factors; they have very few large urban areas so traffic is usually not a problem, which in turn keeps down accident rates. In addition, though Maine gets a lot of snow, the state doesn’t usually suffer from major weather incidents like tornadoes and hailstorms, which can do serious and expensive damage to a car.

“Maine drivers take their insurance responsibility seriously with a mere 4.7 percent of uninsured drivers, according to the Insurance Information Institute. This makes them No. 2 in the country for uninsured drivers with only Massachusetts beating them out. When everyone is insured, prices go down.”

No hail! Little traffic! 95.3 percent responsible drivers! That’s worth having a “steak” bomb to celebrate.

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


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