This week’s Buzz is ready to dish on three things food and three things construction.

First up: Dave’s American Buffet.

Dave Paine of Lewiston is opening his new 275-seat restaurant in the Lewiston Mall next month after 40 years in the food industry, the last 10 running food and beverage at the Ramada Inn.

“It’s time to do a restaurant of my own,” Paine said Monday.

His buffet will be an ever-changing mix of American comfort food. Think mac and cheese, baked haddock, grilled chicken, country mashed potatoes.

“I’ve got a 6-foot grill on the buffet line — there will be something coming off that station every meal,” he said.

Lunch will have at least 15 hot items, dinner 20-plus. Paine anticipates opening seven days a week and growing the day to expand into breakfast. He also plans theme nights like seafood on Friday and prime rib on Saturday.

Work is underway to renovate the 9,000-square-foot space that was formerly the Hibachi Super Buffet. The kitchen needs updating and the buffet units needed to be rearranged, but the bones were there for a good space, he said.

He’s still hiring staff, a mix of 20 to 30 full- and part-time positions.

What he’ll enjoy the most when it opens?

“Making it work, bringing high-quality comfort food to the local area,” Paine said. “I won’t fill (all 275 seats) all the time, but weekend nights and Sunday nights I’ll fill all those spaces.

“The market is there so that I should have very busy lunches Monday through Friday, my Friday and Saturday night business will be very busy. Sunday morning will be very busy, and the rest of the time, we’ll have plenty of people in there.”

Still coming soon

Last month, the Lewiston City Council again extended a purchase and sale agreement with Kara Wilbur and Paul Peck, the developers bringing the old Lincoln Street firehouse back to life. The last extension went until Nov. 23. The new extension goes to Jan. 31.

A note to the council from Economic and Community Development Director Lincoln Jeffers said that the developers are finalizing a historic tax credit application and they and the future tenant need a little extra time to finalize financing.

Back in May, pizza shop Portland Pie Co. announced it would move into the space.

Jeffers said during the meeting that Wilbur and Peck recently came to terms with Portland Pie for an initial 5-year lease. They’re shooting for a mid- to late-summer opening. He also said developers would be back to the city soon, looking for $150,000 in loans and grants from city programs.

“(I’m) pretty excited about this,” Jeffers said. “It took awhile for it to come together, but it’s moving.” 

Coming even sooner

As in, already open: The Heritage Restaurant has opened at 265 Lisbon St. serving a mix of American, Somali and other African dishes that include smoothies, teas, goat and camel meats, according to a press release from the Lewiston Auburn Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce, which plans a ribbon cutting there at noon on Friday.

The restaurant is owned by Firdowsa Ali. More details weren’t available Monday and it doesn’t look like Heritage’s website is up yet.

Talking 2019

Amy Cullen, development officer at The Szanton Co., said Monday that work is moving right along on the Hartley Block apartments in downtown Lewiston. A March opening is still planned.

The Szanton Co. slightly delayed a project on the other side of the river, a 53-unit apartment complex set for 48 Hampshire St. in Auburn. It had been expected to break ground in late 2018. The Auburn Planning Board last month gave the project a one-year extension. 

“We are out to bid now, but based on talks with our contractor, Benchmark, we’d receive better pricing if we broke ground in March instead of December,” Cullen said. “So that’s what we decided to do. We’re looking at a 13-month construction schedule, so that project should open in April 2020.”

And let’s keep talking 2019

Work is underway in Auburn on two new, large storage unit buildings at 220 Rodman Road. According to city building permits, one unit will be 150-by-30 feet and the other 195-by-30 feet for a combined $250,000 project.

An official at RDB Construction, the contractor, said the company is shooting for a spring finish.

Staff writer Andrew Rice contributed to this Buzz. 

Quick hits about business comings, goings and happenings. Have a Buzzable tip? Contact staff writer Kathryn Skelton at 207-689-2844 or [email protected]

Dave Paine stands inside the former Hibachi Super Buffet in the Lewiston Mall, where he will open Dave’s American Buffet in early January. (Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal)