The front of the Scruton Block in Lewiston was covered for many years by the Marcotte Furniture World façade, but a major renovation inside and out has transformed the building at Pine and Lisbon streets to its original glory. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal

Let’s start off with some well-deserved recognition. Three years of painstaking historic restoration of the former Marcotte Furniture World on Lisbon Street in Lewiston has been recognized by Maine Preservation.

Owner Jules Patry stands Thursday at Davinci’s Eatery in Lewiston. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal

The nonprofit group’s mission is to promote and preserve historic places, buildings, downtowns and neighborhoods in the state. Maine Preservation named local developer and businessman Jules Patry as its 2022 recipient of the Honor Award for the transformation of the Scruton Block.

“I thought the building was beautiful and needed to be brought back,” Patry said. For residents who remember, there was a full-length, yellow aluminum screen attached to the front façade of the building at 197 Lisbon St., which hid the three vacant floors above the former furniture store. Today it is home to a commercial space on the ground floor and 12 apartments on the upper floors. The project was completed about a year ago.

It’s not the first time Patry has dabbled in restoring unused buildings from the 1800s in Lewiston. The owner of Davinci’s Eatery renovated the interior of the old Bates Mill complex nearly 30 years ago. He also took on 84 Lisbon St., which is a commercial space on the ground with five apartments in the upper floors.

“Building projects are kind of a hobby of mine,” Patry offered as we talked about the award. “It was the first historic tax credit project that we’d done, so understanding or navigating the complexity of that process is invaluable.”

The city provided tax increment financing to complete sidewalk improvements, to add additional access to the rear of the building and to beef up stormwater management.

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As for the future, Patry won’s say what his next project will be, other than he has “a few ideas.”

Nutty Netties serving up treats at Auburn Mall

A reader alerted us to this next item. Nutty Netties is serving up breakfast, lunch and homemade treats in the Auburn Mall. Since opening in February, the restaurant appears to be gathering a following. The owners describe it as a “small café specializing in a variety of chocolate (sweets) and providing a full breakfast and lunch menu.”

Order pickup and delivery is available, but unfortunately, the business doesn’t have a website or phone number listed. Breakfast items include biscuits and gravy, French toast and your choice of a three-egg omelet or three-egg platter. Lunch items are mainly sandwiches and paninis, but they also list salads and fresh-cut fries.

Sweet treats include chocolate-covered strawberries, peanut butter cups and nonpareils.

Obscura Café and Drinkery almost ready to roll in Lewiston

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You couldn’t tell from looking in the relatively empty storefront at 108 Lisbon St. in Lewiston, but they’ve been very busy tasting and testing menu items for their impending opening.

Chef Jules Muzyka, who is an artist as well, is putting the finishing touches on her version of chicken and waffles, but the waffle is made from cheesy garlic and herbed mashed potatoes. There will be flatbreads, like the Hot Dang! chicken, mozzarella and basil on an Alfredo sauce base with a drizzle of spicy chili-infused honey. There are paninis and homemade pickles, charcuterie offerings and desserts like the dark chocolate orange waffle.

There are plenty of menu items still under wraps, but there’s definitely a theme to Obscura. There are tarot cards, formal dining ware and a carved figurine hanging called Ophelia. Yes, the same Ophelia in Shakespeare’s Hamlet. She watches over Obscura and has an eerie tale connected to her, tinged with absinthe.

If that doesn’t make you curious. I’m not sure what will. As for the big question, when will Obscura open? Soon, say the owners. Like other restaurants that are trying to open their doors, they are waiting on final inspections, licensing and the like. But it appears the opening is truly imminent.

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

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