Full-service restaurant adds to Cumberland dining options

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CUMBERLAND — Several ingredients went into the creation of Louie’s Grille.

There was the lifelong interest of Cumberland real estate developer Jim Guidi, who opened the 319 Main St. restaurant in January. There was a zoning change in recent years that allowed for such a use in the center of town.

And there was the death last year of Guidi’s beloved golden retriever, for whom the establishment is named.

“I’ve heard over and over and over that this is exactly what Cumberland has needed for a long time,” Guidi said April 3.

The restaurant offers lunch and dinner Tuesdays through Fridays, with coffee and a bakery available those mornings. Breakfast is added to the menu on Saturdays, and is served on Sundays, and will soon be expanded to Thursdays and Fridays.

Cumberland Baking, run by Brenda Pitcher, also occupies the building and supplies the restaurant’s desserts.

Although the restaurant includes a bar area, families can be comfortable in all corners of the establishment, Guidi said.

“We’ve tried to create an atmosphere where we’re a little bit laid back,” he said.

Guidi described the menu as “all-American,” with burgers, steak, pasta and fish.

And Louie’s has hosted everything from a youth basketball banquet, to a child’s birthday party, to an after-funeral party for a deceased community member.

In switching gears from developer to restaurateur, Guidi said, “I’ve always had a passion to feed people. … I worked in a restaurant as a kid, in the kitchen, and I loved it back then, and I never went back to it, so it’s been sort of always in the back of my mind to get into the business.”

With his three children grown and out of the house, he has had more time to devote to such a pursuit. And when the property became available, he purchased it, renovated and expanded the existing building.

And the commute isn’t bad – five streets down from Guidi’s home. His head chef and kitchen manager, Mike Tardiff, lives five houses away, he said.

After obtaining approvals to build the restaurant in 2012, Guidi waited almost a year to move forward. Doc’s Cafe, at the corner of Main Street and Tuttle Road, had just opened nearby, and the Cumberland Food Stop is across the street, so he sought a niche of his own.

While Guidi originally intended to focus on breakfast and lunch, he found there was substantial demand for a dinner destination.

“What this place needed was a full-service restaurant, and that’s what you get here at Louie’s,” he said.

Guidi also lacked a name for the business, until his 9-year-old dog, Louie, died last year just before ground was broken on the project.

“We decided, in his honor, we were going to name it after him,” Guidi said. “I love the name … it’s a fun name. And how bad can a place (be) that’s named ‘Louie’s’?”

Customers seem to agree. So far Louie’s namesake has served more than 6,000 dinners, Guidi said.

Alex Lear can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 113 or alear@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @learics.

Sidebar Elements

Hoping to satisfy demand for a full-service restaurant in Cumberland, Jim Guidi opened Louie’s Grille on Main Street three months ago.

A Maine native and Colby College graduate, Alex has been covering coastal communities since 2001, and currently handles Bath, Topsham, Cumberland, and North Yarmouth. He and his wife, Lauren, live in the Portland area, and Alex recently released his third album of original music.