Cowbell Grill & Tap at 49 Lisbon St., Lewiston, will close after regular business March 12. Owner Alex Markakis said the new location at Rock Row in Westbrook is expected to open in April. Christopher Wheelock/Sun Journal

LEWISTON — Four years after opening in downtown Lewiston, with two-hour wait times to get in, Cowbell Grill & Tap at 49 Lisbon St. will close its doors for good. March 12 will be its last day of operation.

Owner Alex Markakis told the Buzz employees were informed Sunday morning during a staff meeting and offered the opportunity to work at the new location at Rock Row in Westbrook, which is expected to open in April. He said half a dozen employees had expressed an interest in making the 36-mile drive.

Markakis said the number one reason he and his partner decided to close the Lewiston location is the lack of support for downtown businesses from the city. He said the downtown business association lost it steam when former President Michael Dostie stepped down last April. Markakis said parking on Lisbon Street was another big consideration.

Markakis said he and his partner Jimmy Albert own six successful restaurants and the new Westbrook location will become the flagship of their Cowbell restaurants.

“I went to Lewiston in 2018 and it was just like Biddeford, it was young, vibrant, people walking on the streets,” Markakis said. But he said things changed during the COVID-19 pandemic and downtown Lewiston never recovered.

Markakis said he owns the building at 49 Lisbon St., so he will look to lease or sell.

Asked if he looked for other locations in Lewiston-Auburn, the restaurateur said he did and considered the empty space at the former Pedro O’Hara’s on Main Street, which has since been purchased and which will soon open as Afro Taste Restaurant and Lounge.

The brewpub offered 25 different burgers and 25 beers on tap and generally had favorable online reviews. A response to the closing post by Cowbells, summed it up this way: “Loved the food, but hated the parking.”

The Buzz offers quick hits about trending area business happenings. Have a Buzzable tip? Contact business writer Christopher Wheelock at 689-2817 or cwheelock@sunjournal.com


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