Takeout restaurant planned for Northport Avenue building

By Ben Holbrook | Jun 19, 2017

Belfast — A new seasonal take-out joint is on the menu for the city as a local businessman looks to repurpose a portion of a Northport Avenue building for his new venture.

David Crabiel, of The Chocolate Drop fame, is looking to broaden his entrepreneurial horizons by opening a seasonal takeout restaurant at 225 Northport Ave. in the building next to Aubuchon Hardware.

Appearing before the Planning Board June 13, Crabiel said he envisions the restaurant will be open during the summer months and then close by October. The restaurant would be open Monday through Saturday from 11:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. and on Sunday from noon to 5 p.m. Because it’s unclear how much business the restaurant will generate, Crabiel requested and was given more flexibility in his hours of operation, allowing him to open from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. seven days a week.

Those expanded hours would give Crabiel the opportunity to serve breakfast, something he said he might consider adding in the future if there is enough demand.

The restaurant, which will employ two or three people, will only be for takeout, Crabiel said, and no indoor seating will be offered. Also, there will not be a drive-thru window and customers will instead need to park and walk up to a window to order their food. He said he envisions the menu will consist of such staples as burgers, hot dogs and other items.

Crabiel said he might place one or two picnic tables outside in the future, but he does not plan to do so immediately.

Not many changes are planned for the two-story building, Crabiel said, beyond some interior work and cosmetic changes. Crabiel said he does not plan to add any more lighting to the site at this time.

Because the restaurant won’t have a public restroom inside the building, Crabiel said a portable toilet will be placed on the site. The toilet will be cleaned twice daily by his staff, and also cleaned and pumped by a company on a weekly basis.

While discussing Crabiel’s application, Planning Board members and city staff had few concerns with the plan. However, parking was discussed at some length, mainly with regard to how many spaces are available on the property.

City standards require Crabiel provide at least 16 spaces and his plans showed more than that. However, Assistant City Planner Sadie Lloyd noted that some of the spaces depicted on Crabiel’s plans would need to be eliminated because of safety concerns.

Also, the restaurant property is connected to Aubuchon Hardware’s parking lot by an access drive. Crabiel said he wants to keep that access open, adding that he talked with a manager at the hardware store who expressed interest in keeping it open, as well.

Ultimately, Planning Board members voted to allow Crabiel to keep the access drive open as long as he reconfigures or expands the existing parking lot to accommodate at least 16 spaces. Until 16 spaces are available, the access drive will have to be closed.

The board voted to approve a change of use permit to allow the restaurant to open.

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