January 9, 2011

Steakhouse to open in Waterville at former Jade Island

By Amy Calder acalder@centralmaine.com
Staff Writer

WATERVILLE -- Anyone who has tasted steaks from Joseph's Market on Front Street probably will want to check out Joseph's Fireside Steakhouse when it opens in April.

The restaurant at 99 West River Road is a joint venture between market owner Kevin P. Joseph and E.J. Fabian, owner of Fabian Oil, Inc.

The focus will be on affordable meals and good customer service, they said.

"We're very excited," Joseph said Thursday. "I'm sure this will be successful, because neither one of us likes to spend a lot of money at a restaurant, and we like to be treated well. We'll expect no less to be done for our customers."

The service will be friendly and professional; the fare will include steak, pasta, seafood, chicken and ribs, according to Fabian and Joseph. The eatery will be open for lunch and dinner.

Longtime friends from being involved in youth sports with their children, Fabian and Joseph bought the former Jade Island restaurant building in November from Kim and Carino Au.

They are gutting the 4,000-square-foot facility and doing a complete renovation, which includes rearranging seating, building a new bar, replacing windows, doors and floors and installing a large fireplace. The kitchen is being rebuilt with new equipment and shiplap pine siding erected on the restaurant's walls and ceilings.

"We've hired local carpenters; in fact, it's been 100 percent local up to this point," Joseph said during a tour of the site. "We can envision probably most of it, if not all, will be local."

Joseph's brother-in-law, Ed Douin, a cabinet maker from Oakland, is crafting the bar and tables with hickory, to include an accent stripe of a different type of wood.

Both Oakland residents, Fabian and Joseph had talked often about going into business together, and both dreamed of opening a restaurant.

"It's something where you have the ability to do something unique and have your own signature on it," Fabian said.

They expect to hire more than 20 people to work at the steakhouse, which they said is not a sports-type restaurant, but rather a place where people may eat in a comfortable atmosphere that is casual and classy.

"If someone wants to come in with a shirt and tie or jeans and a golf shirt, it's fine," Fabian said. "We want them all to feel comfortable and welcome."

Joseph said their goal is to hire a full-time manager and cook, and then the manager would hire personnel.

Fabian and Joseph will continue to run their own businesses but plan to be visible and available at the restaurant. If things get busy, they'll roll up their sleeves and pitch in, they said.

The restaurant, which seats about 115 people indoors, is next to Pine Ridge Golf Course. Diners will be able to see the course from large windows facing south or from the deck, which seats more than 40 additional people. Foxes and deer frequent the area and are visible from the windows and deck, Joseph said.

Patrons may choose their own steak from a special location in the dining room where fine meat will be on display.

"There'll be many varieties, and our goal is to put in a whole piece of prime rib or rib-eye, and if a patron wants a piece -- say 2 inches thick -- we can take it out and cut it for them," Joseph said.

Fabian and Joseph have a friendly rapport, often giving each other a ribbing about what each of them brings to the new venture.

After pointing out new 10-inch insulation in the ceiling, Fabian poked fun at Joseph:

"I'm supplying the oil and he's supplying the steaks -- and he goes overboard on insulation."

Amy Calder -- 861-9247


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