AUBURN — Most of us would agree that the world could use more bacon.

Add fondue and burlesque dancing and you’ve got a sizzling trifecta of enjoyment.

Business owners Marcus Verrill and Joe Richards plan to bring all three to Auburn as they prepare to open side-by-side businesses on Court Street.

“We are opening two completely different restaurants in the same building over 15 weeks,” Verrill said in an email this week. “We are excited to bring Maine’s first fondue restaurant and show lounge called ‘Lava.’ Eight weeks later, we plan to open the bigger side of the restaurant that will be called ‘The House of Bacon,’ a bacon-themed restaurant, open breakfast, lunch and dinner.”

Lava, scheduled to open in late December, is described as “a hip, sleek fondue restaurant that turns into a speakeasy cabaret lounge with dancing after our cabaret shows on Friday and Saturday nights,” according to Verrill.

Burlesque may be somewhat new to the area, but it’s not new to Verrill and Richards — the pair used to own Studio 55, a burlesque cabaret lounge and nightclub in Portland.


“We made headlines from the cabaret shows and there was never an empty seat in the house,” Verrill wrote. “Our landlord had sold the building and told us we could go anywhere and open up anything we wanted. So we are doing just that. We are sticking to what we do best which is cabaret shows and adding a fondue restaurant to all the madness.”

The new business will be at Court and Main streets, an area that has become Auburn’s hot corner for entertainment. It’s mostly standard stuff down there, presently — bars and dance clubs with nothing too out-of-the-ordinary.

Are the people of the Twin Cities prepared for cabaret nights and burlesque dancing?

“We think yes!” Verrill said. “We need to bring in such things like this to the Twin Cities to keep the people here with us in Lewiston and Auburn and not go out of town to spend their money. We are already taking reservations for the restaurant and for our first cabaret show and it is filling up very fast.”

The business already has a website complete with a cast of key players — dancers with stage names such as Becky Bottoms (described as a “slinky spitfire,”) Vivian Vice and Little Bo Peep. The latter, according to her Web biography, “spends her days tending her sheep as a farm hand, but by night is a dancing and singing vixen.”

“Our cast trains weekly for the two completely different cabaret shows,” according to Verrill’s email, “and promises you the very best cabaret show you have ever seen.”


The first show at the club is scheduled for Dec. 29. Also on the calendar: Ladies night on Thursdays and “Dining in the Dark” on Wednesdays, during which patrons will be invited to dine whilst blindfolded.

But what about the bacon?

Details about that side of the business are slower to come, although most will be satisfied with the promise of bacon for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Verrill promises more news on the bacon biz in a month or so.

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