Remember When This Legendary Maine Restaurant Was A Grocery Store?
You can always tell when someone has lived in an area for a long time by how they refer to old buildings and old businesses.
It's true. Even though most of us don't think about it on the regular, many of the buildings that are home to our favorite businesses have been around for many decades. For example, the Dunkin on Bangor Street in Augusta used to be home to another donut place (from north of the border). And, the building that currently houses MIKA in Augusta used to be home to a video store.
Some of these buildings have been around since way before you or I were born. Some have even been around since before our parents or GRANDPARENTS were born!
This is very true for Lisa's Restaurant & Lounge on Bangor Street in Augusta.
Today, Lisa's is known as a great family restaurant and a bar that has a cool every-man vibe to it. The establishment is also known for the fact that it is open every day of the year! Lisa's has been in the building for nearly two decades. More specifically, according to the owner, it has been Lisa's for 17 1/2 years (as of January 2023).
Before that, the building was home to Bravos Bar & Grill. And, before THAT, it was Mike's Lunch. Mike's Lunch was a staple of the community for DECADES.
Even though, for nearly as long as anyone can remember, it was a restaurant, the building once housed a much different type of food oriented business.
We need to go way back for this. Way, way, WAY back! How far back? Before the start of World War II.
According to posters on the Augusta, Maine - A Capital Happening Facebook page, the building was originally an A & P Grocery Store. Well, sort of... There's a lot more to the story.
The post contains a breakdown of the Mike's Lunch / A&P timeline from Mike's daughter, Barbara Demos Toupadakis. It appears that Mike's Lunch, which opened in the 1930s, was located next to the Atlantic & Pacific grocery store. At some point, the two combined.
That building is now home to Lisa's Restaurant.
The post quotes Barbara as saying:
Mike's Lunch was opened in 1935 by my father Emmanuel "Mike" Demos with his 2 sons, George and Michael, my half brothers. 15 Bangor St. was originally their residence. My father had been part of a different restaurant downtown, and one day his boys were playing poker and won a hotdog steamer. The boys decided to try selling hot dogs from the porch of the house. It eventually became such a success, that my father left the other restaurant and started his own, Mike's Lunch, at their house on 15 Bangor St.
Check out these pictures and Barbara's entire retelling of the story:
The whole thing kind of reminds us of the story of Augusta's Doc's Lunch.
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