WILTON — The planning board voted unanimously Thursday, Jan. 3 to approve a business use permit for a new restaurant, owned and operated by Don and Mary Beane of Wilton, pending approval of all applicable state and local permits.

The Beanes have purchased the former Athena’s Pizza Restaurant, 843 US Route 2 East. The building has been vacant since Athena’s closed on Dec. 31, 2012. They are in the process of remodeling the property and plan to open Salt and Pepper in May.

“There will be no major alterations to the exterior of the building or lot,” said Mary Beane. “The interior is being remodeled because nothing is up to code.”

Minor exterior work includes reframing the windows, removing weeds from the parking area and fitting a new sign in the existing pole. Major interior renovations include demolition and reconstruction.

Once all the necessary work is completed to bring the building up to code, the Beanes plan to apply for a license to serve beer and wine, she said.

“We will serve classic dishes with a twist,” she added. “We are really excited to offer a variety of fresh and vibrant meal choices.”


There will be some vegan options on the menu, as well as meat-based dishes. Take-out and catering will be available.

“It will have something for everyone in the family,” Don Beane said.

The restaurant will create 10 to 12 jobs, he added. At least two of the positions will be full-time.

The couple has an extensive background in the restaurant and foodservice industry. Don Beane said he has 37 years experience, including managing a restaurant in Texas. “I got my first job when I was 13 at the old Farmington Diner,” he added.

Mary Beane has 35 years experience working in restaurants locally and throughout Maine. She ran a small catering business, Creative Catering, for several years, she said.

Most recently, the couple managed Taconnet on Great Pond, a resort in Belgrade. They stepped down from that position in the fall, Mary Beane said.


The restaurant will serve as home-base for the couple’s charities of choice, said Mary Beane. She is a member of the board of directors for Western Maine Homeless Outreach. In December she organized a fundraiser for the shelter, Cookie-Palooza. The event raised $1,500 for the shelter, she said.

“It went really well for our first time doing it,” she added. “I want to be able to expand it into a month-long fundraiser with several events.”

She also volunteers with Cooking Matters, a multi-week hands-on cooking and nutrition class offered through Healthy Community Coalition. “I am working with HCC and hope to be able to offer the classes at Salt and Pepper,” she said.

The restaurant will serve breakfast, lunch and dinner Tuesday through Saturday. Breakfast and lunch will be served on Sundays, she said.

“It’ll be good to see something finally going in there,” said Chairperson Michael Sherrod.

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