For 25 years, co-owner of the Fire House Grille Victor Mathieu has fought fires throughout the Lewiston-Auburn area. Today he answers a new call as he reaches for the telephone to answer another curious customer’s question. “Yes, the dart league will be back” he says with a smile. “Andy’s baked beans too.”
In the works for over a year, former Auburn Battalion Chief Victor Mathieu and John Roy, a current lieutenant with the Auburn fire department, celebrated their November 3 ribbon cutting with fanfare and smiles as they officially opened the doors to Lewiston-Auburn’s newest restaurant and pub at 47 Broad Street in Auburn, the former home of Andy’s Baked Beans.
Roy said the new restaurant, which will serve lunch and dinner, will have a few differences from the previous eatery, but feature many of the dishes familiar to longtime customers of the famed establishment.
“Andy’s was here for over 30 years,” said Roy. “At lunch or dinner, people knew they could come to this location to get good food at the right price. I think once the public sees the lights on again, that dedicated client base will be back.”
Leading up to the grand opening, Roy and Mathieu began a sweeping renovation project on the building, from the roof to the floor of the structure. Built in 1927, the 84-year-old landmark needed extensive work. “I think when people come in they’ll see we stayed true to the character of the classic structure and its storied history. At the same time, we added modern appliances and made the building more customer friendly,” said Mathieu.
“This type of investment into the community has been encouraging,” said Lucien Gosselin, president of the Lewiston-Auburn Economic Growth Council. “It’s a real testament to the involvement of the owners. From fighting fires, to renovating a building and cooking meals for the community, they are the epitome of what it means to be part of Lewiston and Auburn.”
Ranging from $7 to $9 during lunch, the menu at the Fire House Grille features a variety of signature comfort food items at an affordable price, ranging from certified premium Angus beef burgers to chili, wings, hot dogs, salmon, haddock and more. A long-time menu favorite, Andy’s famous baked beans and cole slaw will be available Saturday mornings.
Open Monday through Wednesday 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., Thursday and Friday 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. and Saturday’s from 11 a.m. until 1 a.m. with bean pickup beginning at 8 a.m., the restaurant can accommodate up to 50 people with additional seating at the bar. After 7 p.m. the grille will transition over from restaurant to its pub-style theme. “We’re not going to turn away families,” said Roy. “But at the same time, we need our bar to be popular and we don’t want any confusion.”
Scattered along the freshly painted red walls, classic photographs of Lewiston-Auburn’s fire departments in action can be found as well as some of the more famous fires within the Twin Cities. Alongside the wall of hero’s, strategically placed dart boards are located in the sectioned-off area.
Using social media like Facebook, Roy learned the local dart leagues were short on space and looking for new, hip venues. “Andy’s had two competitive and very good teams,” said Roy. “When we made the decision to move forward with the Fire House Grille, we decided this would be a fantastic opportunity to not only showcase who we are but also spread our brand.” Now looking to expand beyond sponsoring the two teams, Roy will host local competitions and continue the tradition of dart playing at the restaurant and pub.
Additionally, owners Roy and Mathieu have been tinkering with special promotions, including a mug club, once the bar gets going. “Besides the standard gift certificates, we also have custom made Fire House Grille T-shirts for sale in all sizes,” said Roy.
With televisions tuned to the latest sporting events or news, the Fire House Grille expects to draw a diverse mix. “Returning customers are extremely important to our business, and we want to keep it that way,” said Roy. “In a few months, once we have our feet on solid ground, we hope to have specials rolled out for our service members. Our active duty military soldiers, police officers, firefighters, EMS and first responders in the community work hard and deserve an atmosphere to relax, get a drink after work and grab a bite to eat. They deserve it.”