From the classics to cutting edge, the LaVerdiere brothers are pulling in diners with their locally sourced offerings.

Portland, Portland, Portland. It’s Maine’s holy city of food and restaurants. Bon Appetit magazine named it 2018’s “Restaurant City of the Year.” If you’re one of the huddled masses living outside the boundaries of this food mecca, you’re hungry.

You may also be familiar with the 16 miles of Route 196 running between Lewiston and Brunswick. It is a fine-dining desert. Sure, you can get pizza, excellent pizza. Good breakfasts. Great subs and fries. But can you get a local grass-fed burger, pan-roasted scallops, or mussels served in a buttery broth of Bissell Brothers Substance ale? Or is that just a mirage in the distance?

Rub your tired eyes, oh hungry friends, and silence your grumbling stomach, because the mirage is real. Celebrating six months in business, Flux Restaurant is, as its website proclaims, “a modern American restaurant located in the heart of Lisbon Falls” — and so much more.

It’s a restaurant with heart. And soul. And pridefully local. Both owners — brothers Jason and Tyson LaVerdiere — are from Winslow, not Portland, 50 miles north of Flux. And they both live in Lisbon Falls. Jason, head chef, says: “I’ve been here 9 years now. A lot of people in town think I’m just like an alien that just dropped in from out of space. I’ve lived here for a third of my life.”

He points eastward to his house, where he lives with his wife and three children, only two blocks from the restaurant.

“Dude, I live over there” he says. “We love this town. It’s a great little town.”



Jason, 33, has been cooking for more than two thirds of his life.

“I started cooking a lot when I was 10. Home-cooked ‘mom stuff.’ Spaghetti sauce, roasted chicken, ribs, all the standard American food, which isn’t American food at all.”

What started out as helping his mother cook dinner turned into something more.

“We had six kids in our family, so it was like I actually had a role in our household. I would literally rush home from school at three o’clock. This was before the Food Network, and all the food programs were on The Discovery Channel, like ‘Great Chefs of the World’ and ‘Great Chefs of America’ and I’d watch those . . . four o’clock rolled around, I was like ‘I’m ready to cook,’ because I’d just been inspired from watching all these chefs from around the world. I was probably 12 or 13, making dinner for a family of 8.”

During high school, he worked at a pizza joint and then got a job at the now-closed Apollo’s Bistro in Waterville. It was here he met early mentors Dan Giroux and Sean Doherty. After high school, he studied biology at the University of Maine and then switched to the culinary arts program at Eastern Maine Community College. From there, he moved south and started working in Portland, both at Vignola and Walter’s.


Tyson, who is Jason’s older brother, is Flux’s general manager. “Jason and I both wanted to start a business,” Tyson says. “He’s always wanted to have his own restaurant and I’ve worked in and out of restaurants since I was very young, so it was just natural.”

The brothers worked on their business plan while they both worked in the restaurant industry. Tyson did a mentorship with the Small Business Administration as well as one at Amici’s Cucina in Waterville. “It was three-and-a-half years until our doors opened here,” Tyson says, “from the first idea until opening.”

He acknowledges the restaurant industry is not easy, with long days and late nights in a stressful fast-paced environment.

“Everyone is looking for that quick dollar,” Tyson says, “and that’s not how it is in reality. The truth is it takes a lot of work, a lot of dedication. . . . This doesn’t just fall into your lap. The banks won’t even talk to you until you have a very thorough business plan.”

He thinks the hard work they put into their plan has paid off. Tyson says the last six months have been good. They’ve learned a lot. “We want to continue to grow and refine what we’re doing here,” he says. “Give . . . an amazing dining experience and not cut any corners. We want to offer the best product and go wild with it. We’re having fun.”

Tyson says he and his brother have a good relationship. “We can’t be worrying about our ego or pride. We have to be worrying about all our employees. We have 17 employees here. We make a bad decision and put this place out, not only are we out but they’re out too.”


He’s excited about the revitalization of Lisbon and enjoys the town’s pace of life. He says the customers, too, have been supportive and “they kind of pushed us. We were kind of conservative at first, but people came in and said ‘Go crazy’(with menu items).”

He continues, “People would come in and say ‘This is awesome,’” prompting them to try different things on the menu. “It’s rewarding to hear them say how much they like it and it’s encouraging us to keep pushing the limits.”


One area of the business both brothers speak passionately about is locally sourcing as much food as possible. And while locally sourced food has become a buzzword in the restaurant business, Jason says “it’s a balancing act.”

Do they use a food purveyor? “Of course,” he says. “I can’t get paper towels from (local farmer) Keena Tracy.”

But the brothers are building relationships with local suppliers across the menu and across central Maine. Some are old friends from their days in the Winslow area, like the Waterville Brewing Company and Hallowell Seafood, while others are new friends like the one mentioned above — Keena Tracy, who co-owns Little Ridge Farm in Lisbon.


Flux even serves beers brewed with Blue Ox Malthouse malt, a Lisbon business.

Tyson says they really focus on supporting local Maine businesses, “especially people that are entrepreneurs that we grew up with that we have connections with, that we’re proud of and we’re proud of their product and they’re doing it right.”

For Tracy at Little Ridge Farm, the new relationship is “a perfect complement to my current sales. It’s exciting that Flux is so close. It makes pick up/delivery simple.” This is the first restaurant she’s supplied, and “the fact that Flux is right down the street is the main reason why I approached them,” she says. “I don’t have the labor force to make deliveries, especially for small orders, so proximity is key. And supplying food to a restaurant in our town has been very fulfilling.”

Tracy says either Jason or his sous chef, Jeb Charette, stop by once or twice a week. Jason is “super curious about the raw form of food” and he likes to use things that her CSA clients might not consider, like “teeny tiny potatoes or onions, or mountains of radish leaves. . . . He buys food as an artist would stock up his palette of colors — having inspirational items on hand to create with.”

Plus, “Jason’s passion for fermentation also complements products I like to grow, which will allow my product to be on his menu throughout the winter months as well,” she says.

“And seeing my product on the plate is ultra rewarding,” Tracy adds, “especially when it tastes so fabulous!”



A couple of brothers, a reimagined space and lots of local food. What’s the menu look like?

For starters, there is poutine. Sort of.

It all starts with “pommes pave,” named after the paving stones used in the city streets of France. The potatoes are cut super thin, then hand-layered into a pan, with consecutive layers of potatoes and cream. This is baked in the oven, but cooled in the walk-in with weights on it to compress it. “Once it’s cold,” Jason says, “ you can pop it out of the pan and cut it into whatever shapes you want and then you can either sear it or deep fry it.”

“It’s different,” he says. “It’s not poutine. It is, but it’s not.” The gravy is made with a veal demi-glace, not gravy. “We get a 50-pound case of veal bones, we roast the bones, we make the stock, we reduce it . . . until it’s a thick syrup,” Jason says. “It’s a lot of labor, a lot of going on the stove. It takes about eight hours to reduce it.” Served in a small cast-iron skillet, it’s out of this world.

There are salads, some vegan items, a popular cast-iron half chicken served over rice and smoked bacon, wild mushrooms, leeks and poulet glace.


There’s a towering temple of fish and chips that will catch your eye as it is delivered to your table.

And there are daily specials and always desserts on the menu.

One of the most popular items on the menu is a crispy chicken sandwich, made with koji-buttermilk fried chicken.

Koji? Jason is animated when he talks about koji, which is a fungus that grows on rice or barley. It’s used to make miso and soy sauce. “We make our own koji,” he says, and then starts a biology lecture about fermentation, incubation, enzymes and chemical reactions.

“A lot of people haven’t heard of it. I’m getting better at explaining it,” Jason says. “We make shio koji, we ferment it in a jar, and then add the shio koji into sauces and marinades. The enzymes, the proteases, go into the meat and they break the proteins into amino acids. They’re taking these long protein chains and they’re breaking them up into simpler acids that our bodies can now taste.

“Things like glutamic acid and other acids — that give Parmesan cheese its savory-ness and make a ripe tomato taste so good and make meat taste so good — those acids. The koji is like the key that unlocks the proteins. It basically cuts the proteins down into smaller pieces, on a molecular level, that our bodies can interpret. . . . It tastes better, it gives umami (savory flavor) to whatever you add it to.”



In an April, 2018 Wall Street Journal article, this idea of partnering with local suppliers was billed as “Farm-to-table 2.0.”

For Jason and Tyson LaVerdiere, maybe this is just what local food looks and tastes like.

“You can get a . . . dinner for as little as $11,” says Jason. “Or, if you want to get the most bad-ass scallops or salmon or a beautiful steak with a homemade demi-glace, you can get that.”

Flux is open Tuesday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. The lunch menu features a mix of appetizers, salads and sandwiches. And Tuesdays are “Taco Tuesdays” for both lunch and dinner. A sample: roasted sweet squash with cauliflower, layered with roasted garlic and chipotle refried beans and coriander lime dressing on a corn tortilla.

Reservations are suggested for dinner; Fridays and Saturdays are always crowded. 


Good food. Just down the road in Lisbon. Not a mirage.

Flux’s version of poutine is made with potato pave, cheddar curd, demi-glace and scallions. (Daryn Slover/Sun Journal)

Sous chef Jeb Charette takes fresh herbs while preparing chicken in the kitchen at Flux. (Daryn Slover/Sun Journal)

Flux Restaurant

Where: 12 Maine St., Lisbon Falls

Contact: and 207-407-4109

Hours: Tuesday-Saturday 11 a.m.-9 p.m.


Head chef Jason LaVerdiere tops his version of poutine with demi-glace at Flux in Lisbon Falls. (Daryn Slover/Sun Journal)

Cast-iron half-chicken with wild rice and locally sourced wild mushrooms. (Daryn Slover/Sun Journal)

Sous chef Jeb Charette prepares a house-made demi-glace in the kitchen at Flux in Lisbon Falls. (Daryn Slover/Sun Journal)

Flux is on Main Street in Lisbon Falls. (Daryn Slover/Sun Journal)

Edible wild Maine mushrooms, known as Chicken of the Woods, are sauteed at Flux. (Daryn Slover/Sun Journal)

Head chef Jason LaVerdiere slices peppers at Flux. (Daryn Slover/Sun Journal)

Flux is on Main Street in downtown Lisbon Falls. (Daryn Slover/Sun Journal)

The owners of Flux grow their own koji on rice. (Submitted photo)

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