2017-12-06 / Business

FRANK’S

Lisbon restaurant takes home ‘Project of the Year’ award
BY DARCIE MOORE
Times Record Staff


FRANK’S, a Lisbon landmark transformed into a family restaurant, was honored recently as the Maine Downtown Center “Project of the Year.” 
DARCIE MOORE / THE TIMES RECORD FRANK’S, a Lisbon landmark transformed into a family restaurant, was honored recently as the Maine Downtown Center “Project of the Year.” DARCIE MOORE / THE TIMES RECORD LISBON

A Lisbon landmark transformed into a family restaurant was honored recently as the Maine Downtown Center “Project of the Year.”

It wasn’t so long ago that the future of the Kennebec Fruit Co.— also known as the Moxie Store — was in question. Opened by his grandfather in 1913, “Moxie Man” Frank Anicetti owned it for many years before making the difficult decision in early 2016 to close the store and sell the building. It sat on the market for months falling into further disrepair.

Last spring, however, Traci and Tony Austin purchased the Main Street building. Putting in thousands of hours of work, in addition to a substantial amount of money, they completed renovated the building. Anicetti died in May before he was able to see the completion of the project.


THE KENNEBEC FRUIT CO. BUILDING at the corner of Route 196 and Main Street was sold to Traci and Tony Austin of Lisbon, who saved as many of the landmark “Moxie” store’s historic features as they could. 
DARCIE MOORE / TIMES RECORD FILE PHOTO THE KENNEBEC FRUIT CO. BUILDING at the corner of Route 196 and Main Street was sold to Traci and Tony Austin of Lisbon, who saved as many of the landmark “Moxie” store’s historic features as they could. DARCIE MOORE / TIMES RECORD FILE PHOTO “The Austins have turned this local landmark into a family style restaurant dedicated to the celebration of Lisbon and Lisbon Falls,” said Anne Ball, program director at the Maine Downtown Center for the Maine Development Foundation, at the recent award ceremony. “The history of the community is displayed on the walls and throughout the bar-top, which is covered by hundreds of community photos spanning decades.”

“This new restaurant not only commemorates that history (it is named Frank’s) but creates a new energy and community spirit, as well as providing a positive family gathering place,” said Ross Cunningham of Positive Change Lisbon, which nominated Frank’s for the award.


AN INTERIOR PUB PHOTO of Frank’s in Lisbon. A reviewer vetting Project of the Year applications said, “talk about impact,” in response to Frank’s redo. 
DARCIE MOORE / THE TIMES RECORD AN INTERIOR PUB PHOTO of Frank’s in Lisbon. A reviewer vetting Project of the Year applications said, “talk about impact,” in response to Frank’s redo. DARCIE MOORE / THE TIMES RECORD Frank’s was chosen in part because it engaged the community. The Austins held community volunteer days so community members could help with the renovations. Nearly 40 people showed up at times.

The couple applied for and were awarded a Community Development Block grant through the town’s business facade program with help from Tracey Steuber, Lisbon’s economic and community development director.

Constructed in 1901, the building faced major structural challenges. Clapboards needed replacing, as well as trim and the roof. The interior needed a remodel, with new plumbing and electrical, new floors and paint. New windows, an awning and paint went on the facade.


A PLAQUE HANGS in memory of “Mr. Moxie” Frank Anicetti Jr., who ran the Moxie store at the corner of Main Street and Route 196 for many years before selling the building in February to Traci and Tony Austin, who have turned it into a restaurant and pub. 
DARCIE MOORE / THE TIMES RECORD A PLAQUE HANGS in memory of “Mr. Moxie” Frank Anicetti Jr., who ran the Moxie store at the corner of Main Street and Route 196 for many years before selling the building in February to Traci and Tony Austin, who have turned it into a restaurant and pub. DARCIE MOORE / THE TIMES RECORD A reviewer vetting Project of the Year applications said, “talk about impact,” in response to Frank’s. The Maine Downtown Center hopes the project will spur more investment and serve as a catalyst for other downtown revitalization efforts in Lisbon.

Austin said she and her husband had only found out they were getting the award just prior to attending the presentation. It was a pleasant surprise, she said, since they didn’t know they’d been nominated by Positive Change Lisbon.

“There’s a life down here on Main Street, which is good to see,” Austin said.

She is excited to see events planned by Main Street Live, a subcommittee of Positive Change Lisbon working to continue the momentum underway on Main Street. She encourages people to support their local businesses, and businesses on Main Street in Lisbon are working to support and promote one another. More business broadens the tax base, she said, so less comes out of residents’ pockets.

“Supporting local businesses helps support you,” Austin said.

Ball said the Maine Downtown Center oversees the national Main Street Program in Maine and works statewide doing downtown revitalization. She said Frank’s is an example of a great project for the community, and noted that use of the facade and loan programs showed local “buy-in.”

Approximately 200 people turned out for “A Toast to Main Street,” at which Frank’s was honored. Having an event to recognize a project like Frank’s is very important, Ball said, not only for the individual property owners and the people who undertook the project, “it’s for the entire community.”

“It is community pride; it is community engagement,” she said. “Main Street work takes a lot of time and it takes a lot of patience and it takes a lot of volunteers. To be recognized along the way is what spurs that work ahead. It is critical to celebrate these people and their work in every community.”

dmoore@timesrecord.com

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