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Limestone pizza shop closes doors

LIMESTONE, Maine — After eight years of serving homemade pizza, owners of Al-Bear’s Restaurant closed up shop on Nov. 30. 

Jamie and Michelle Albert named the shop after the phonetic pronunciation of their last name after buying it from Carl and Mary Morin in 2009.

In a Facebook message posted at 7:44 p.m. Thursday night, the Alberts told customers and supporters that while closing is a “very difficult decision,” it is one that they must make.

“Over the years we have come to think of all of you as family, and we hate to say goodbye,” the post reads. “We will always cherish the time we spent serving you. Our children grew up here, and we have had the pleasure of watching yours grow up here as well.”

In an interview last year, both Jamie and Michelle Albert said they work full time jobs at Defense Finance and Accounting Services, starting early in the morning so they can attend to the restaurant in the early afternoon. The Alberts said they don’t arrive home until 8:30 p.m. on most nights.

Additionally, Michelle Albert currently serves on the RSU 39 School Board and as president of the Limestone Chamber of Commerce.

For nearly a year, the owners of Al-Bear’s have been trying to sell the business, and Jamie Albert said he wanted to stay open so the people of Limestone had a place to eat. He said that, realistically, they probably should have closed the restaurant when Sitel, a call center, moved from Limestone to Caribou.

“There’s no place for a family who can’t travel to Caribou for a meal,” Jamie said last December. “It would really break my heart if there was nothing here in Limestone.”

Limestone Economic Development Coordinator Dennis McCartney said Friday morning that he is hopeful Limestone residents will have another restaurant soon. He said in an email that morning that while “all of us in town are sorry to see them close,” he is nearly finished developing a business plan for another local couple who hope to reopen a diner on Main Street.

“Hopefully we can get the diner reopened soon so there is somewhere to go for meals in Limestone,” McCartney wrote.

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