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6/11/2014 2:00:00 PM
Bistro With Eclectic, Changing Menu to Open in Damariscotta

By Tim Badgley

Seated at soon-to-be-open Van Lloyd's Bistro at 85 Parking Lot Lane in Damariscotta, partners Torie Van Horne, left, and August DeLisle, right, take 

a break from preparing for their opening, slated for mid-June. (Tim Badgley photo)
Seated at soon-to-be-open Van Lloyd's Bistro at 85 Parking Lot Lane in Damariscotta, partners Torie Van Horne, left, and August DeLisle, right, take a break from preparing for their opening, slated for mid-June. (Tim Badgley photo)
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Offering a changing daily menu Van Lloyd's Bistro is slated to open the week of June 15 in Damariscotta at 85 Parking Lot Lane fronting on the large municipal lot off Main Street just opposite Riverside Park.

August DeLisle and Torie Van Horne will operate the 30-seat restaurant and bakery seven days a week. Open at 8 a.m. daily, the restaurant will close at 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday and at 2 p.m. on Sunday. DeLisle's father Bernard, a restaurateur of 35 years, will advise the two and assist in the kitchen and in the preparation of specialty meats and sausages.

An ever-changing and evolving menu will be what guests can expect at the bistro, according to DeLisle.

Guiding the selection of their menu offerings are high-quality food and simplicity.

"We just wanted to create a place where we focused on the finest quality food and created a community atmosphere as well," Van Horne said. "We want to be that cool, quirky place where you can go."

DeLisle said that an early theme they played with was creating what he calls, "The third place - it's not work, it's not home, it's the third place."

The core offerings are coffee, loaves of bread and baked goods, home-made sausage and specialty meats, beer and wine and dishes that will change from day to day, including what Van Horne calls "some fantastic, reliable family recipes."

There will be no printed menus, instead chalkboard menus will be mounted on the top half of the walls behind the counter and over the pastry case. Daily offerings will be posted on the Van Lloyd's Bistro Facebook page and on their website

"We're going to be changing the food every day," DeLisle said. "It's going to be a small compact menu."

According to DeLisle, the underlying philosophy in creating the bistro is keeping it simple. There will not be a vast array of any one thing. The bistro will offer coffee at the table in a single serving 12-ounce French press. Espresso and espresso-based beverages such as lattes cappuccinos and mochas with real chocolate will also be offered.

The coffee will be supplied by Maine-based roaster 44 North Coffee in Deer Isle. Tandem Coffee Roasters of Portland is the source of the bistro's espresso. They provided Van Horne and DeLisle six hours training in the art of making the perfect espresso.

The bistro will have all manner of baked goods and sweets, DeLisle said. "Torie has a background in baking and the cake business," he said.

DeLisle himself has been working in restaurants since the age of 14. He's worked in the kitchen, waited tables, worked in a diner and tended bar for about a year.

The partners like change and enjoy the adventure of trying different things so that they "never have to say we're in a rut," DeLisle said.

This is the philosophical point of view they like to call "self-indulgent," DeLisle said.

"If we feel like having Asian today, that's what we're serving," Van Horne said.

The self-indulgence works both for the cooks as well as for the guests of the bistro, according to DeLisle. "It works both ways. What am I indulging in today? The idea is that it's self-indulgent for everybody," he said.

One of DeLisle's passions is searching for a good corned beef. He said he's been eating a lot of it lately. "A good corned beef is one of the best things in the world," he said.

As a result he brined his own corned beef for 10 days and then took it a step further by transforming it into pastrami with cold-smoking. "We're going to play with this kind of thing," he said.

Van Horne and DeLisle have talked about offering a meat and cheese board. "I think people really like it. It's a fantastic way to come in and have a light dinner and still be totally satisfied," DeLisle said.

The bistro will also offer four different beers on tap, with the possibility of adding bottled beer at some point, and a selection of red and white wines.

Seating at the bistro will accommodate approximately 30 guests, with stools at the counter and an alcove called, The Snug, which will serve as a private booth for six to eight guests.

In addition to offering Wi-Fi Internet connection, standard electrical outlets are located at nearly every table along with USB outlets for recharging hand-held devices and phones.

The atmosphere of the bistro, like their menu, is eclectic. With the accent color of orange throughout, and architectural elements salvaged from a church mounted on the walls, along with Victrola horns worked into the overhead lighting fixtures, there is a fun and relaxed quality to the space that Van Horne and DeLisle believe will draw guests in.

Expect the unexpected is in much of what Van Horne and DeLisle are planning to offer at their bistro.

"Everything will be constantly in flux, not by mistake and not because we're indecisive, but because we like change, by design," DeLisle said. "No same old, same old."

For more information and to inquire about the exact opening date, Van Lloyd's Bistro can be reached at 563-5005.

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