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Former Portland restaurateurs bring Enio's to South Portland

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Former Portland restaurateurs bring Enio's to South Portland

SOUTH PORTLAND — At some point, Laura Butler would like to get down to business instead of making multiple trips to the hardware store.

Her opportunity should come soon, when she and her husband, Robert Butler, open Enio's at 347 Cottage Road.

Located in the former Buttered Biscuit, Enio's is named after Laura Butler's father. The restaurant, with a Tuscan flair, will be a return to the greater Portland dining scene for the Butlers.

“I'm sure it will be like riding a bike for us,” Laura Butler said. "We were familiar with the building and neighborhood, and I think Portland is saturated."

The couple owned Rachel's Grill (named for Robert's grandmother), first on Exchange Street and then in Woodford's Corner in Portland for almost 15 years. The latter location is what they will try to recapture in the new restaurant on Meetinghouse Hill.

"We want to pick up where we left off,” Robert Butler said.

The Buttered Biscuit was owned by Audrey and Byron Castro for almost a decade, until the couple decided it was time to do something else. They closed the meals-to-go business at the end of January.

The Butlers empathized, even as they were pleased to find a spot to get back into business.

"We felt same way when we got out three years ago," Robert Butler said.

The couple moved to Florida and continued to work in the restaurant business, and the urge to have their own place never left them.

They answered an ad on Craigslist for a restaurant for sale, and Laura Butler said they did not realize it was the Buttered Biscuit until Byron Castro called them.

The Butlers, who now live in Cape Elizabeth, have set about creating a neighborhood place with with seating for 36 – hence, the trips to the hardware store – and want to achieve the same neighborhood connection the Castros enjoyed.

The long, refrigerated display cases have been replaced by rustic wooden shelves. Handmade wooden tables are getting set in place, as are counters by the windows facing Cottage Street. The Butlers hope to have inspections done by early next week, and plan a quiet opening.

Diners can expect "pastas, risottos, simple meats, fish and salads. And lots of garlic," Laura Butler promised.

Robert Butler said food will be as locally sourced as possible, including from Cape Elizabeth's Alewive's Brook Farm. The seafood menu will change depending on what is available.

The couple are already hearing from old friends who will be new customers and said the time is right to return. Sweating the final details, though, can still be daunting.

"I don't call it apprehension," Laura Butler said. "We just want to get it right."

David Harry can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 110 or dharry@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @DavidHarry8.