April 09, 2020

Restaurant closes anew; 58 jobs lost> Caribou development groups marketing former Yusef’s

CARIBOU — Yusef’s Restaurant in Caribou has closed, again.

That’s the news that radio and television stations in central Aroostook County broadcast this week.

The announcement was verified Wednesday afternoon by Bob Tardif, executive vice president of the Caribou Development Corp. Tardif said the CDC was pursuing several options to get the lost jobs back into the Caribou economy.

The CDC and the Northern Maine Development Commission, holders of $250,000 in loans on the restaurant, took over the building Wednesday morning.

Tardif said owner Joseph Hackett’s 58 employees were told of the closing Tuesday morning. The Bennett Drive restaurant, which served American and Italian food and had one main dining room seating 125 and three private dining rooms, closed Tuesday, and Hackett “turned the building over to us,” said Tardif.

A woman was still answering the telephone at Yusef’s on Wednesday, but she said Hackett was not available all day.

“We are marketing the building,” said the CDC executive. “We are trying to protect the 58 jobs that were there.”

He said the situation with the building and restaurant “is so dynamic it is changing every 15 minutes. We have several options.”

The announcement of the restaurant’s closing has become almost an annual ritual in Caribou since 1993 when Hackett first closed the business that he and his father had operated individually or together for more than 25 years.

Hackett became a restaurateur with his father, Frederic Hackett, in 1969 and went on his own in 1980.

In May 1997, Hackett secured $251,000 to finance the reopening of Yusef’s, to be known as Joe Hackett’s Yusef’s.

The financial package was backed by the Northern Maine Development Commission with $201,000 and the Caribou Development Corp., with $50,000. The loan was made to the Hackett family’s new corporation, Family Business Inc.

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