LEWISTON — If Michael Hibbard were playing Monopoly with his properties in the Village of Lewiston, he'd be running the board about now.
Hibbard, who currently owns two restaurants on Center Street in the village, will soon have four — and a banquet hall. His combined projects are leading what appears to be a healthy number of construction projects and renovations in the village.
Construction crews are hard at work on the site Hibbard owns at 402 Center St. in the village. His plans call for moving his 800 Center St. restaurant, Gallo Coal Fire Kitchen, to the new property, where the restaurant will include a banquet hall on the top floor overlooking the courtyard below. The first floor will house the new Gallo and also have a coffee shop and full-service cafe called Gallo Pronto.
"The new Gallo Coal Fire Kitchen includes double capacity inside on the first floor and four times the capacity outside," Hibbard said. "The second floor offers banquet space, which we always lacked in both Gallo and Gather."
Standing on the second-story patio, Hibbard noted the location offers a great view of all the activities on Center Street. "The main stage for the Jazz Festival is literally right there," he said, pointing to the street.
Hibbard's Gather by Gallo Restaurant, at 453 Center St., serving traditional contemporary American foods, will stay right where it is, where it continues to do very well despite being opened during COVID-19, he said.
The former Gallo Coal Fired Kitchen will soon be a Mexican restaurant called Gallo Loco, Hibbard added.
The construction manager for the new Gallo is Jimmy Carminati of Waterbourne Construction, who said the project has been fun but challenging through Covid.
"We slowed down a lot. For a long period of time, we had one contractor on the site at a time, but we never stopped working," Carminati said. He noted that working with Hibbard has been extra special for him because the two have known each other since they were young, and their parents are good friends.
Hibbard said the project has been going so well because of the combined skills of his contractors, including Waterbourne, Black Lab Metal Fab and Boltz Contracting. A soft opening is set for late May or June.
The former Gallo Coal Fired Kitchen will then become a Mexican restaurant called Gallo Loco, Hibbard added.
Village Mayor Anne Welch said that while COVID-19 has been tough on all her residents and businesses, she was happy to see the completion of the new Gallo Coal Fire Kitchen and Gallo Pronto, as well as Gallo Loco. She is thankful for the trend those new locations are leading in the village.
"I am glad to report that more new businesses have opened in the village in spite of Covid," she said.
She noted that construction has resumed on Ellicott Development’s plaza at 8th and Center streets and Tim Horton’s and Quest are now open in that plaza.
Welch noted she is also looking forward to the opening of the newly reconstructed Brickyard’s BBC at 432 Center St. and the new building at 444 Center St., which will be home to Alfonso Bax, Esq., Brewed & Bottled, Sgt. Pepper’s, and the Mad Hatter’s Tea House. In addition, there have been recent renovations of the retail shops/apartments at 555 Center St., Coppins Service Station at 550 Center St., and Colonial Valley Plaza at 791 Center St., she said.
"I am glad to report that more new businesses have opened in the village in spite of COVID. Everyone went the extra step and this says a lot about our village," the mayor said. "I am saddened by the loss of loved ones and the families affected by this pandemic, but I am looking forward to a brighter future this year."