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Westons to open restaurant in Limestone

LIMESTONE, Maine — This summer, the town of Limestone will have a restaurant offering pizza, subs, french fries, hamburgers, hot dogs, wings, and poutine located on the lower floor of the Manaus Books & Coffeeshop building on Main Street.

Limestone residents Brian and Julie Weston, who own the coffee shop, laundromat, and redemption center, as well as an online Brodart book cover business, announced their decision to open an eatery in the building on Tuesday.

“We started the coffee shop because we heard from a lot of people in town that they wanted a coffee shop,” said Julie Weston, “but it’s not necessarily something the town needs. The laundromat and redemption center are needs, so we thought about what else the town needs. They need a place to eat.”

Weston said she was “hoping someone else would take up the flag” but since it didn’t, the couple is taking the initiative and opening their own restaurant in August.

“The fact is, everyone needs a place to eat,” said Brian Weston, who added that while opening a restaurant requires a significant financial commitment, each of their businesses has generated the income to help fund the venture.

While the Westons will handle the financial aspects of the business, Limestone resident and former Eagles’ Redemption Manager Frank Beil will be “pretty much running the restaurant exclusively,” according to Julie.

Beil, who currently works as a cook at the Rising Hill nursing home, said he is honored that the Westons are entrusting him to manage the new restaurant.

“My role is managing the day to day operations: cleaning, taking orders, cashing out, and cooking – which is my forte,” Beil said.

Beil said he has a fairly extensive culinary background, and briefly owned a pizzeria. Julie also attested to his work as a chef and said she has a great deal of confidence in his abilities.

“He knows how to cook,” she said. “I’ve had some of his food, and it’s pretty darn good. Frank is a man of many, many, many talents. If he says he can do something, he can really do it. I have full confidence in him, and I know he’s going to put out a great product.”

To fully demonstrate that confidence, the Westons decided to use Beil’s nickname in the restaurant’s name: Franco’s Pizza and Subs.

“I was floored when they presented me with the name,” Beil said. “A handful of people call me Franco and I thought, ‘Wow, if that isn’t a sign of what’s to come.”

Beil said that the key to success in the restaurant business is to provide service that is “fast, good, and cheap,” and that he will keep the menu simple to appeal to local residents.

“I come from New York City,” he said, “where there’s a variety of things to eat. But here, if you can put together a decent pizza, cook a decent hamburger, and have a menu that’s not so huge that people will get starry-eyed, you’ll write your ticket.”

Beil and the Westons said they hope the arrival of their restaurant will inspire other residents to continue expanding the community.

“This is going to sound arrogant,” said Julie, “but we want people in Limestone to see that ‘you can do it.’ We can pick ourselves up by the bootstraps and get it done. I was excited to see [Limestone Town Manager Elizabeth Dickerson] make a statement about working from within. We have a pool of talent here that we can work from and it’s true: there are people here with the potential to do a lot of great things.”

Beil agreed, and said he hopes people in town will be inspired and say, “Let’s see what we can do now,” once the restaurant opens.

Julie said Franco’s Pizza and Subs will open in mid-August, in time for the new school year, and that they have already made progress by emptying out the back area of the redemption center where the kitchen will be located.

The restaurant will be located in the current location of the redemption center, which will be moved one bay over where materials for the Westons’ online business are currently stored. Those materials will then have to be moved back upstairs, and the books upstairs will then be moved to the atrium room of the building.

“We have to do a lot of shuffling around,” she said, “but that’s progress.”

They also plan to close off a portion of the parking lot next to the building to prevent cars from driving directly by the entrance, and also to make the restaurant handicap accessible. Eventually, Julie said she would like to add some tables and potted plants around this area, allowing customers to dine outside.

Once business is up and running, Julie said she would like to incorporate weekly specials, coupons, customer loyalty cards, and prepaid cards for students.

“Brian and I are worried that we’ll be gaining a lot of weight,” Julie joked.

“Show me a happy chef and I’ll show you a guy that ain’t skinny,” said Beil.

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