Italian eatery to open in Orono

Posted Sept. 22, 2010, at 10:55 p.m.

ORONO, Maine — If all goes according to plan, a new Italian-American restaurant and lounge will open next month in the Park Street building most recently occupied by 103 Ultra Lounge and, before that, Ushuaia.

Orono Town Manager Cathy Conlow said this week that town councilors recently voted to issue a victualer’s license and a special amusement permit to Garth Grandchamp of Casco, president of First Peoples Initiative Inc.

The councilors also issued a recommendation that the state approve Grandchamp’s application for a liquor license, Conlow said.

Though Grandchamp could not be reached this week for more details about the restaurant — called The Elysian — a draft menu submitted as part of his liquor license application includes a range of choices, including salads, exotic cheeses, seafood, meat, pasta and poultry entrees, and several desserts.

A separate bar menu includes hot and cold sandwiches, burgers, seafood and grilled pizza.

The two nightclubs that occupied the building across the street from the University of Maine campus in recent years proved problematic for town officials as well as local police and state liquor inspectors, who in the past have dealt with numerous violations of the state’s liquor laws as well as assaults, disorderly conduct and criminal mischief cases.

In addition, Ushuaia was the scene of an alleged rape and Ultra Lounge had criminal violations for having a blocked fire exit and overcrowding, according to published reports.

Both clubs closed after their respective liquor licenses were revoked, according to articles from the Bangor Daily News archives.

Conlow, however, said that local officials have no reason to believe that those problems will continue under Grandchamp’s management.

She added that Grandchamp has operated two other restaurants, including at least one offering Italian-American fare, and that his business plan was different in that, while there will be dancing, a larger emphasis will be placed on the food side of the business.

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