BRUNSWICK — Frontier Cafe and Cinema, the popular Fort Andross restaurant and theater, is expanding to increase its event space and food offerings.
The renovation – to last until around August – will remodel the entrance to the restaurant to act as a duel lobby for the dining room and a new coffee shop and events venue.
The restaurant will remain open during construction, which commenced last month.
The addition of the coffee shop – including a “grab and go” food counter – revives an old version of the restaurant before it expanded to table service in 2012.
“It’s kind of harkens back to the old Frontier,” owner Michael “Gil” Gilroy said in an interview Tuesday.
“It’s a separate space altogether that, during the day, will kind of be an active coffee shop,” as well as a concession area for the theater, he said.
He added that the coffee bar will feature Speckled Ax coffee, the owner of which will create special roasts for the business.
“And in addition to that, we’re adding a whole other events venue,” Gilroy said. The space will occupy a large vacant room adjacent to the restaurant.
As it’s grown in popularity over the years, the restaurant has been hard-pressed to accommodate the amount of interest it gets to host private events, according to Gilroy.
When Gilroy started Frontier in 2006, serving food was peripheral in supporting the venue’s theater, which hosts films, music, and spoken word events year-round.
But after six years of a running the coffee shop, he made the “total gamble” to build out a full-service restaurant and bar, which has since risen to popularity among locals and out-of-towners.
So much so, he said, that the business is ready for another upgrade.
“A big part of the renovation is about mitigating a lot of the issues now,” he explained, especially a bottleneck that forms when customers make their way through the restaurant to get to the theater.
The box office is located at the bar, which causes a jam when people line up to buy tickets and buy drinks at the same time.
Gilroy added that space is also tight when events are booked for the back of the restaurant, where there is a small, semi-secluded alcove and the entrance to the walled-off theater. What’s more, he added, it is no longer feasible to close the entire restaurant for private functions.
The new entrance – to act like a lobby with separate doors to the restaurant and the new coffee shop, theater, and event space – should eliminate the bottleneck, Morin said.
Customers headed for the events venue or theater will now hang a left, where they will pass through the coffee bar and food counter to the box office and new events venue.
The restaurant will also have its own bathrooms.
“We’ve never had our own bathrooms,” Gilroy said, noting that customers need to exit the restaurant to use the Mill complex’s public facilities.
Frontier Cafe & Cinema in Brunswick is undergoing renovations through the summer to expand its event space and food offerings.