Bon Vivant at the corner of Lisbon and Ash streets in Lewiston on Tuesday morning. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal

It’s a downtown Lewiston trifecta this week on the Buzz. Sonder & Dram has revealed the name of its new restaurant at 133 Lisbon St., and it’s Bon Vivant, French for a person who lives luxuriously and enjoys good food and drink. And for the Francophiles, Bon Vivant arrive!

Owner Peter Flanders said he and partner chef Michael Gosselin are still planning a 40-50 seat casual fine dining restaurant above their existing business, Sonder & Dram, which will stay just as it is, plus have access from an internal staircase. The main entrance for Bon Vivant will be on Lisbon Street at the corner of Ash Street.

Bon Vivant will be what Flanders describes as new American cuisine.

“Tasty food in a casual environment,” he said in an interview on Tuesday.

Chef Gosselin offered: “our approach to food is simply a focus on fresh, local ingredients, skillfully prepared with culinary techniques garnered from our collected experiences,” adding they plan to use local products and producers from around Maine whenever possible.

That means guests can expect menu offerings such as fresh seafood, cut steaks, farm fresh vegetables and desserts, Gosselin wrote.

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They’re also planning on developing a reasonably priced wine list for Bon Vivant, something that’s lacking in the Lewiston and Auburn hospitality scene.

Final details are being pulled together for the financing and Flanders said he hopes to get contractors working soon after the new year, with an eye on opening by summer. A new commercial kitchen will be added to allow chef Gosselin and Brandan Barr to expand their offerings and showcase their talents.

Rusty Bus Brewing finally open

The Rusty Bus Brewing Company on Tuesday morning on Lisbon Street in Lewiston. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal

Just across the street at 120 Lisbon St., Rusty Bus Brewing has finally opened its doors after months of delays. Owners Nikki and Peter Ouellette held a soft opening this past weekend and plan a grand opening Saturday, Dec. 10, from 12-8 p.m.

It’s a dream years in the making for the Ouellettes, who both hold down full time jobs in addition to readying the little brew pub for opening. Look for a combination of several India pale ales, pale ales, lagers or Kölsch, and of course a good, solid stout.

There’s no kitchen at Rusty Bus, so food choices will have to come from neighboring restaurants like Mother India, Orchid, Boba and Obscura Cafe.

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Hours are listed as Thursday and Friday 4-8 p.m., Saturday 12-8 p.m., and Sunday 12-4 p.m.

Afro Taste coming

The former Pedro O’Hara’s Tuesday afternoon at 134 Maine Street in Lewiston. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal

Finally, from the downtown food and entertainment scene, comes Afro Taste Restaurant and Lounge in the former Pedro O’Hara’s space at 134 Main St. The City Council unanimously approved their application for a liquor license during Tuesday night’s meeting.

But the real story is what’s going to happen inside the large space. Owner Gael Karomba said they’ve been renovating the space since they bought it last year and converted an area that was previously used for events into a music lounge that he said will bring something very exciting to the area.

“There is nothing like this in the Lewiston-Auburn area,” Karomba said. They’re planning to have live music, DJ’s from around the country representing African, Caribbean, Latin and American music. Likewise, Karomba said the food will be something that is not available here or anywhere in Maine. The cuisine will focus on East African foods, which he is sourcing directly from Africa, although he said many of the ingredients are already available in Lewiston.

The restaurant and bar area is approximately 3,200 square feet, while the music lounge area is approximately 1,200 square feet according to Karomba. They want to be open for New Year’s Eve, but that will depend on how long the final stages of state and local permitting takes. In the event they can’t open by the end of the year, they plan on a January opening.

Karomba has chosen Bernard Katende as the manager of Afro Taste, a man Councilor Rick LaChapelle said he has known for years in Lewiston and expressed confidence in Katende’s ability to run a good operation. Katende appeared before the City Council as they discussed the application for a liquor license.

The Buzz offers quick hits about trending area business happenings. Have a Buzzable tip? Contact business writer Christopher Wheelock at 689-2817 or [email protected]

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