MILLINOCKET, Maine — The Discovery Channel’s “American Loggers” family is getting into the restaurant business.
The Pelletier family bought the former Downtown Restaurant and an adjoining former laundromat on Penobscot Avenue at an auction for an undisclosed price on May 21, family patriarch Eldon Pelletier said. The restaurant had closed in November.
Several Gerald Pelletier Inc. workers and a three-man crew from RDH Contractors Inc. began extensively remodeling both places Monday, as one large eatery, for an opening in September, Eldon Pelletier said.
“We hope to open it as a local bar and grill,” Pelletier said Tuesday. “We just hated to see it [the Downtown Restaurant] shut down. We’ve been eating there for 35 years or so.”
The place needs a lot of work, said Brian A. Nutting, who is known to fans of the TV show as “Bonecrusher.” He was atop a ladder Tuesday pulling ceiling tiles from the first-floor laundromat area while others were sweeping debris.
“This is a good time for us to do this,” Nutting said. “There sure isn’t a lot of logging going on at the moment.”
Most of the wall dividing both establishments had been stripped down to its studs and all of the restaurant seating was gone. The kitchen walls were a dark sickly yellow, covered with grease and grime.
“It’s going to be a long project,” said RDH worker Joe Koller. “The kitchen was a mess.”
The restaurant is among several businesses opening or reopening in Millinocket. Katahdin Pins ’N Cues, a 12-lane candlepin bowling alley and five-table pool hall a few doors down from the restaurant, reopened last weekend. The Lincoln News weekly newspaper also opened a satellite office recently on Penobscot Avenue.
Exactly how the restaurant will be styled, what it will be called and what sort of food it will serve are undetermined, Pelletier said. But workers at the eatery were betting that it would complement the television show, which has been picked up for a second season and has four first-season episodes yet to run.
Nutting speculated that the second-floor area eventually might house banquets and receptions. And he had a good name for the restaurant itself.
“I don’t know,” he said, “maybe we’ll call it ‘American Loggers.’”