LEWISTON — The city is getting more Cowbell.

One of the owners of the popular Cowbell Burger Bar in Biddeford is opening Cowbell Grill & Tap in the former Fuel restaurant. It will feature 25 burgers, 25 mostly Maine craft brew taps and, Alex Markakis said, a few menu items he hopes reminds people of the Fuel days.

The restaurant’s name is a nod to Christopher Walken’s “More Cowbell” sketch on Saturday Night Live.

“He’s like, ‘more cowbell, more cowbell,’ so we kind of ran with it in comparison with the meat variety,” Markakis said.

He’d been looking for a second location for about a year, even touring Three Dollar Deweys in downtown Portland, when golf buddy and broker Tim Millett at CBRE/The Boulos Company recommended the newly empty 49 Lisbon St.

“Just the ambiance in there really suits what we’re looking for,” Markakis said.

Eric Agren closed the French eatery Fuel in September after an 11-year run. He said he immediately started fielding calls with “intense interest” from Portland area restaurants and had a deal in the works with Markakis within the month.

“I think they have a very good concept for our market,” Agren said. “The Portland market, they have Black Cow, they have Elevation Burger, they have all these craft burger places that have popped up. We don’t have that here in Lewiston-Auburn.

“I think they have some uniqueness and I think their product and what they’re trying to do, and their price points, which they’re obviously lower than Fuel’s were, will fit the market really, really well,” he added.

On Cowbell Burger Bar’s menu in Biddeford, which ranges from $10 to $15: specialty burgers with ghost pepper cheese, a jalapeno and cream cheese-stuffed burger, a double burger topped with mac and cheese, and build-your-own burgers that start with a half-pound patty of steak, grass-fed or wagyu beef, bison, hormone-free chicken, turkey, salmon or veggie.

“Wagyu beef is the premier beef, basically, in the world,” Agren said. “It comes from Japan and they massage the cows and feed them spent beer grain.”

The menu in Lewiston will also feature five additional entrees, including steak and fish.

“(Agren’s) had a tremendous following over the last 10 years; we definitely want to keep that,” Markakis said.

Construction started Tuesday to remodel the space, adding televisions and making it Cowbell’s style. Markakis is shooting for a January opening.

The restaurant will be open 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. weekdays and 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. weekends. 

He anticipates hiring 20-25 employees.

Markakis and business partner Jim Albert, owner of Jimmy the Greek’s in Old Orchard Beach, have opened four ventures in Biddeford since June 2016: Cowbell Burger Bar, Martini’s on Main, Uncorked Wine Bar and the new Sublime Taco.

Markakis grew up in Massachusetts and came to Maine to attend Saint Joseph’s College.

“I played baseball there, and I scouted for the Baltimore Orioles after that,” he said.

While general manager for the Old Orchard Beach Surge professional baseball team, Markakis met Albert.

“He had the liquor license for the ballpark,” Markakis said. “He’s Greek and I’m Greek and we kind of kicked it off.”

Markakis believes the simplicity of Cowbell’s menu has been behind its success — “just to be good at one thing in particular, you can go a long way.”

Along with the Maine craft brews, he also uses local bakeries and butchers whenever possible.

“We’re very excited, of course, going into a similar market,” he said. “I believe we’re going to have the same success, which is good. The town so far has been very, very supportive, which I can’t thank them enough. As a whole, it seems like Lewiston-Auburn, especially where I’m going into, is really moving in the right direction.”

Markakis said he was playing golf with Millett, who ended up brokering the lease, when the Fuel space came up.

“He said, ‘I think the concept can really work well in the heart of the new Lewiston, I’ve got a great spot that I think could work,'” Markakis said. “We were presented one spot before, down the street. I walked into this place and got a much better feel and I knew it was going to be a great fit. A lot of things happen on the golf course.”

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Former Fuel Restaurant owner Eric Agren, left, is helping Alex Markakis, right, transition the location into a new restaurant, Cowbell Grill & Tap on Lisbon Street in Lewiston. (Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal)

Former Fuel Restaurant owner Eric Agren, left, is helping Alex Markakis, right, transition the location into a new restaurant, Cowbell Grill & Tap, on Lisbon Street in Lewiston. (Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal)

Former Fuel Restaurant owner Eric Agren, left, is helping Alex Markakis, right, transition the location into a new restaurant, Cowbell Grill & Tap, on Lisbon Street in Lewiston. (Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal)