New restaurant with pub food, nightly entertainment for Auburn

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Jun. 10—Mixing it up in the kitchen, jamming out — it's a two

-week Buzz with bite.

First up: New life for 34 Court St.

There's a new restaurant and entertainment space on one of Auburn's busiest corners.

The 1800 Club opened softly this week and already has three nights of music on tap that started Thursday.

Owner Lisa Cooper of Buckfield said it's her third restaurant venture, each one bigger and better than the last.

Coop's Place in West Paris was open three years and closed in March.

"We made it through COVID, it was really tough, but then I drove by this building," Cooper said. "When I was a child, I came to No Tomatoes and I loved, loved, loved this place. I used to always joke that this was going to be my building someday."

She drove by last winter, saw the for lease sign and thought about it for a few months.

"I finally called him, he offered me a heck of a deal and I jumped on it," she said.

The 1800 Club, which she named after 1800 Tequila, will offer lunch and dinner seven days a week. Starting next week, it will also open for breakfast Friday through Sunday at 7 a.m.

The menu includes pub food, fresh seafood, hand cut French fries and chicken tenders, and steak tips that she said Coop's was known for.

"My goal is to make it family-friendly at all times," Cooper said.

Entertainment is planned for seven nights a week. Live music will run on the classic country and classic rock side Thursday to Saturday. Other nights have karaoke, trivia, open mic and Music by Mike on Mondays with Mike Krapovicky.

Cooper at this point doesn't anticipate having a cover charge for the entertainment room, which has a stage and high-top tables.

Over the last few decades, the space has been home to No Tomatoes, Midnight Blues Club, Lavish Nightclub, House of Bacon, Naral's and 207 American Grille.

Cooper said they opened some spaces up and did a lot of cleaning to get ready.

"My daughter calls it we have made it comfortable classy," she said. "It's been a long haul. I'm excited to be part of the community. My motto at Coop's was 'You're family.' Our motto here, is 'Come in as friends, leave as family.'"

The opening won't impact Craft Brew Underground downstairs.

"Nothing changes for us, other than being glad we have some new neighbors," said owner Mike Williams Jr.

Curaleaf is getting a new kitchen.

The medical marijuana dispensary in the Auburn Plaza is adding a kitchen and packaging space in a $1.25 million remodeling project, according to a city permit.

The space last had a $225,741 renovation in April 2020.

Curaleaf, part of a chain in 23 states, also has a dispensary in Ellsworth.

A company spokeswoman didn't respond to a request for comment on Thursday.

Everyone this summer is talking labor shortages — so what to do about it?

John Ferland of Hahnel Bros. Co. and Bill Grant of Auburn and Lewiston Adult Education spoke to the Lewiston Auburn Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce breakfast crowd Thursday morning about getting involved in Strengthen LA, a growing regional effort to find, train or up-skill the local workforce.

Grant said the area has two populations of untapped potential in both youth and immigrants.

Chamber President Shanna Cox said the effort has 30-plus partners and growing with the chamber serving as the scaffolding to connect people and programs.

"Most of you in this room are probably happily employed," Cox said. "Who do you know? ... If you have a neighbor, if you're talking to someone who isn't sure what their high school graduate is going to do, 18, 46, 58, does not matter. If there are folks who are unemployed, underemployed or have a job but not a career, wages that don't support their family or their future family, we want them. You want them, and you want us to train them for you. So send them along, strengthenla.com, we've got a really great website. It's in 89 languages."